2011 PLANTING SEASON A SHOWCASE FOR THE BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE TENACITY OF FAMILY FARMERS

Illinois Corn is a founding member of the Corn Farmers Coalition which continues today as an even larger coalition of corn growing states and the National Corn Growers Association.  Please enjoy this update on CFC, positioned within the framework of a partner corn growing state that has faced considerable adversity this crop year, Ohio.

This year’s planting estimate numbers released by the USDA on June 30 show the dynamic capabilities of the nation’s farmers.  And the rain delays in Ohio set the stage for a Herculean effort that makes the 2011 planting season one for the record books.

America’s family farmers are the best and this year puts an exclamation point on that statement, as Natalie Lehner, Communications Director for Ohio Corn Growers Association pointed out in a news release in the wake of the crop report. Growers are remarkably adept. This year’s effort demonstrates how good these family owned and operated business ventures have become at using modern farming practices to get crops planted and harvested in record time even while facing tremendous challenges.

Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association reports farmers were delayed in planting due to an extremely wet spring –  one of the wettest springs in history ­- and had the numbers of days they could plant compressed to a week in some cases.

Yet the USDA estimates family farmers across the nation planted MORE corn this year than last year, with figures showing farmers put 3.5 million acres of corn in the ground in 2011, up from last year’s 3.45 million planted corn acres.

The Corn Farmers Coalition project is about showcasing key facts from entities like the US Department of Agriculture and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The goal is to let these facts reflect the importance of having a crop production system that is constantly improving, focused on safety, growing more with less and doing so in an environmentally sustainable way. Facts aside, this spring provided a case study in how human grit and determination along with innovation have made us the most productive agricultural nation in history.

“Thirty years ago this would not have been an option,” said Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers (OCWGA) President and Henry County farmer Mark Wachtman. Technology such as using GPS to guide in planting, allows us to plant quickly and do it right the first time. Also, biotech seeds make it possible to have a shorter growing season under adverse weather conditions.”

But, OCWGA CEO Dwayne Siekman says keep in mind the figures are still estimates.

“These are rough estimates from the US Department of Agriculture,” said OCWGA CEO Dwayne Siekman. “But this year has shown the tenacity of Ohio farmers to work round the clock to get the job done to provide corn for food, feed and fuel.”

While more acres are estimated planted, Ohio farmers are counting on good Growing weather this summer to bring quality yields; Ohio yields are generally higher than the nation¹s overall average with 165 bushels per acre. Ideal growing weather this summer would be warm temperatures with an adequate amount of rain.

Mark Lambert
Coalition Director