Montana's BigSkyFarmHer Among Those On Grower Perspective Panel At Bayer AgVocacy ForumWed, 27 Feb 2019 20:37:22 CST
The View from the Farm: Grower Perspectives was the title of the session held today by Bayer AgVocacy Forum in Orlando. Afterward, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn had the opportunity to speak to one of the youngest members of the panel. On top of writing BigSkyFarmHer blog, Michelle Erickson-Jones is a grower, Erickson Farm, in addition to Gooseneck Land and Cattle Ranch. Michelle discusses what she’s tried on their operation, struggles, policy issues, and more in her talk with Carson. Hear the full audio when you click the LISTEN bar below.
Despite the economic downturn at the moment, Erickson Farm has been surviving. Although, like many, Michelle says not many days go by where she doesn’t stress about finances, ways to save money, make more profit on crops, or ways to try and protect their operation.
“Every part of this industry including the commodity groups and the trade promotion groups is going to have to look at every option for expanding our export markets and the options available to producers,” explains Michelle.
Hardships facing local producers are different than the ones we face as a country. She agrees with Sec. Perdue who suggests soybean producers diversify in order to stay afloat with the challenging environment.
“A lot of the pinch points for adding another crop are: can you actually market it. Maybe you can grow it but do you have a market to go and sell it to reliably. That’s one of the things that hinders a lot of diversification,” said Michelle.
Now is definitely a time of transformation for agriculture. A 4th generation grower, Michelle has seen quite a technological change in agronomics and robotics since her beginnings. To support these expansions can be three times the cost of what was paid for the previous method. Every operation should closely consider each year what is financially feasible.
“It doesn’t make any sense if it can’t cash flow in a reasonable amount of time,” expressed Michelle. “There’s even things as simple as variable rate fertilizer and seed that we have not gone to because we have paid for tractors and paid for air drills.”
Side by sides and on farm testing done by organizations, like Bayer, showcase innovations for producers to review. Feedback is essential to players in the industry for creating new products; on cost as well as how it performed in an area. These relationships ensure the best products get on the market for consumers.
"Whether you’re a 1st generation or 10th generation farmer it’s not easy to be in this business,” Michelle stated. “My best advice to young farmers is to make sure you get involved. Whether it be on social media or in a commodity group. Be involved and engaged with people throughout the supply chain, throughout agriculture they’re an important network.”
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