Monday, October 30, 2017
ello, my name is Kendall Browning and I am completing my second year on the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader committee for District 17. My wife Kelsey, and three children Lillian, Klayton and Marshall all reside on the family farm east of West Frankfort in Franklin county. There have been many challenges this year here in the district and it has made for quite the emotional roller coaster ride.
To begin with, all farmers and ranchers know we are at the mercy of mother-nature. This year throughout my district the spring weather allowed most farmers to get a good amount of crops planted at an optimal time giving most an optimistic outlook. Unfortunately, those crops were put to the test when our area received nearly twelve inches of rain around the first of May. Many had to replant a great deal of corn and beans after the waters receded. For those growing cover crops, replanting was necessary due to slugs deciding that our rows of seed made for an excellent buffet line. Once everyone got the crop in the field, we were up against which herbicide applications were going to “get up and move” even though all label instructions were followed. These same crops then faced an extended period with very little precipitation. This brings me to where we are now, seeing a very wide variation of yield data collected from across the district. I have heard repeatedly from several farmers that there have been dramatic changes in yield, not only across their farms, but within the same field.
On the positive side, I think there is a lot of profitable information and lessons to be learned from this year. We have to first and foremost remember that there are many things in agriculture that are out of our control. Take note of lessons learned from “trial and error” experiences because what works for one farm, may not work for another. We need to take these variable yields and study where we can improve on them for next year while still trying to save money in this tight margin era. I believe Illinois Farm Bureau has made it their duty to bridge the farmer’s voice to EPA regulations to global trade agreements that may or may not have the farmer’s best interests at heart. We all face varying challenges every day, but if we learn to take those challenges and apply them as learning tools, we are less likely to walk the same trying roads again. May we all have a safe and prosperous conclusion to harvest.
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