(Posted Wed. May 23rd, 2012)
May 23: The National Corn Growers Association continues the second season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.
Today, Field Notes meets with Billy Thiel, a farmer from Marshall, Mo., who was featured in last year’s Corn Farmers Coalition campaign. Through his work with this program, the National Corn Growers Association and the Missouri Corn Growers Association, Thiel gives back to the industry he loves through his efforts to educate legislators.
During the interview, Thiel’s tractor hummed along through the fields planting soybeans. The technology incorporated into his operation, including GPS auto-track and precision planting, allow him to minimize farm inputs.
“The GPS technology we have now saves us from having to use more seed and more chemicals,” Thiel explained. “It is really good for the environment because it allows us to apply only exactly what we need to the exact spot where it needs to be.”
“Marshall is in excellent shape this year,” he assessed. “The corn here has already been planted and emerged. It has really taken off in the warm weather. I think that the crop in this area looks excellent and, in terms of maturity, is a bit ahead of normal.”
Working with his brother and cousin allows Thiel to take time away from the farm to give back his fellow farmers. Working through a variety of organizations at the state and national level, he helps educate lawmakers and regulators about farming and how their work impacts the men and women who provide the nation with food, feed and fuel.
“I think that it is very important, no matter what you do, to give back to the community,” Thiel explained. “You need to have a passion for anything that you do in life. I feel that it is important for me to get out and give back to the industry which has been so good to me.”
To listen to the audio interview, click here.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.