(Posted Thu. Dec 13th, 2012)

The National Corn Growers Association concludes 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.  

Field Notes caught up with Donna Jeschke, an Illinois farmer who lives and works an hour south of Chicago. Through the year, she updated listeners on her operation, providing insight into issues including the severity of the drought in Illinois, the role biotechnology played in preserving yields and on her activities educating international commodity buyers about U.S. agriculture.

Looking back on 2012, Jeschke keeps the damage done by the drought in perspective by comparing the results of a similar disaster in 1988. She notes that, despite the negative impacts of the hot, dry season, it could have been far worse without the advanced seed varieties available today.

“This year, like in 1988, we had an early warm planting season followed by an extremely hot, dry summer,” she said. “But things turned out much better than they did in 1988 this year because we had better yields. This yield preservation can be credited to the genetics of the corn we plant now. Technology helped us to get better results this time around even though we faced similar growing conditions.”

“Everyone knows that in 2012 we had a short crop and that supplies are tight, but, if you look at the global picture, we are meeting needs throughout the world,” she explained. “Yes, many of our customers have felt the ripple effects of the negative impacts that corn farmers felt directly, but the markets are working as some areas of production cut back and the global supply helps in meet demand.”                                                                                                 

To listen to the audio interview, click here.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes checks in one final time with the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.