MAY 2014


(Posted Fri. May 16th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth season of Field Notes, a series that takes listeners 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.


On Wednesday, Field Notes caught up with Brian Scott, an Indiana farmer who began sharing his story with NCGA in 2012. In addition to farming, Scott helps cultivate public understanding of agriculture through social media on his blog,, and through Twitter using the handle @thefarmerslife.


“Things are going pretty well out here,” said Scott. “We have been done with corn and popcorn for almost ten days now, which is pretty normal in our neighborhood. I am seeing corn up in just about every field. Now, we just need it to dry out so that we can move on to planting beans.”


To listen to the full interview with Scott, click here.


Field Notes checked in with April Hemmes, from just outside of Hampton, Iowa, later that day. On her farm, Hemmes farms corn and soybean in rotation in addition to a small amount of pasture, on which she used to have 40 to 60 head of cattle.


“I finished corn planting last week, but I finished late at night,” said Hemmes. “Like I told everyone else, I am done, but it was ugly. A lot of farmers in my area were planting late into the night last week to cover as many acres as possible while we had a good window.”


To listen to the full interview with Hemmes, click here.


Adam Bell, a member of the inaugural class of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program, also updated Field Notes on how corn planting is going on his farm in western Kentucky. In the Mississippi River Basin, Bell farms about 2,000 acres primarily using no-till methods because he desires to do his part in implementing conservation practices in his work.


“Like the USDA report showed, corn planting came a long way last week in Kentucky,” said Bell. “In our area, about 80 percent of the corn has been planted and about half of that has emerged. It’s looking pretty good around here.”


To listen to the full interview with Bell, click here.


Finally, Jay Beckhusen took a moment to discuss how the corn crop is progressing in central Texas. Less than an hour outside of Austin, Beckhusen finished planting in late February. While farmers in other areas wait for their crop to emerge from the ground, corn should reach the tassel stage on his farm soon.


“Looking at the crop right now, we are only about seven to ten days out from tasseling,” Beckhusen said. “We had a very dry spring aside from a few spotty showers. When the corn was coming up, it looked as if it was starting to struggle somewhat from the heat and dry weather. Monday and Tuesday, we were blessed with three or so inches of rain. It looks like it has already grown a foot just from that.”


To listen to the full interview with Beckhusen, 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.