The 2010 ProFarmer Midwest Crop Tour is officially underway!
I’m covering my seventh or eighth Tour this year, and I’m thrilled. This is my “working” vacation every summer, where I get away from the office and the ABN County Fair and Festival Tour Powered by Propane (and this year away from school, too!), and get to play crop scout for a week. The gist of the Tour is that 38 Crop Scouts on the Eastern leg spend the week crisscrossing Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota scouting corn and soybean fields. Meanwhile, our counterparts on the Western leg are covering South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota doing the same thing.
What are we looking for? Along with the general condition of the fields and the crop, we’re specifically counting the number of soybean pods in a square yard, and performing a “rough and dirty” yield calculation on the corn fields. I’ll be “live Tweeting” the Tour again this year, and uploading pictures and video on the ABN Facebook page. Additionally, we’ll have exclusive audio on demand at ABNRadio.com featuring farmers, commodity brokers/traders, and other folks serving as Crop Scouts this week.
Finally, I’ll offer some commentary each night right here on my blog. Between all those sources, you’ll be as close to the Crop Tour as you can possibly get without actually getting in the truck and taking the trip. Which, by the way, I heartily recommend. As one of the “veterans” on Tour, I can tell you that this is one of the most enjoyable things I get to do all year long.
My first Crop Tour was during my tenure as Farm Director at WRFD-AM in Columbus. The National Association of Farm Broadcasting asked me to be the official NAFB representative on the Tour that year, and I’ve been touring ever since. For a kid who spent more time in the pasture than in between rows of field crops, it was a great opportunity to learn a lot more about corn and soybean production from great farmers all across the Cornbelt. Perhaps that social interaction, as much as anything, is one of the hallmarks of the Tour, and a key reason why I come back.
We have a large number of “rookies” on the Tour this year, but at least 18 of the Scouts on the Eastern leg this year are vets like me, and guys I keep in touch with through the social media universe. I’ll share some of their stories throughout the week, and you’ll get to hear their commentary in our exclusive audio coverage.
My thanks once again this year to Pioneer Hi-Bred International for sponsoring ABN Radio’s coverage of the ProFarmer Midwest Crop Tour. Feel free to send me your questions, and stay tuned to all the above listed sources for the latest in how the crop looks across the Eastern Corn Belt!