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Faces in the Commodity Classic crowd
Julie and Randy Woodruff traveled to Tampa for this year's Commodity Classic from their farm near Chippewa Fall, Wisconsin. They dairy as well as grow corn, soybean, green beans, and alfalfa. Their main interests at CC are interacting with other farmers and looking at new products, especially precision ag technology. They’re adding new equipment to the farm this spring, including a GPS add-on to a self-propelled sprayer.
Bob Worth, Lake Benton, Minnesota, farmer and ASA leader, was pleased to talk about the attendance at this year's Commodity Classic. There were 1,579 growers registered for this year's Classic, he said, a "record number of people to talk about agriculture."
Champion soybean grower Kip Cullers talks with Successful Farming crops editor Gil Gullickson about techniques for boosting yields. With high crop prices, it's a good time to experiment with new production practices, Cullers said.
Taking a break
Minnesota farmer Dave Revier decided at the last minute to travel to Commodity Classic. "We had to get our work done first," he said. Revier is hoping to sharpen his marketing skills this year to take advantage of volatile prices.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke with the media about the need for agriculture to "speak with a unified voice" in support of biofuels, food exports, risk management funding and other key agricultural issues. "There are powerful forces aligned against this industry," he said.
All the way from China
Fang Liping and Lin Xiaoli, reporters for the Guangshou Daily, were interviewing U.S. soybean farmers and industry representatives. They are spending several weeks in the U.S. reporting on American agriculture. One in every four rows of U.S. soybeans is exported to their country.
Something to smile about
Janet Kemper and Susan Wellman, spouses of the current ASA president and first vice president, respectively, say that their husbands are taking advantage of the good times to "buy more agricultural 'toys,'" in Janet's words. Both commented on the good attitudes of growers at this year's Classic.
The other grain
Sorghum is getting a big promotion from David Thomas, New Deal, Texas, a member of the National Sorghum Producers Board. Use of sorghum in ethanol production is helping the crop make a resurgence, Thomas said. Forage sorghum eventually will be the primary source of cellulosic ethanol, Thomas said.
Bode, Iowa, farmer Chris Weydert (right) visits the Successful Farming booth to take a shot at out-guessing commodity trader Scott Shellady on closing prices on day of March USDA crop report.
Tools and technologies
Andrea Mitchell shows journalists through Act III of Monsanto's new Mobile Experience, a 53-foot trailer with three rooms, or Acts, where visitors learn of the need to boost food production to meet global demand as well as view highlights of the tools and technologies that farmers use in modern production agriculture.
Leading the way
From left: Bart Schott, North Dakota farmer and NCGA president, Rick Tolman NCGA CEO, and Garry Niemeyer, Illinois farmer and NCGA vice president, address media on range of issues. "We're ready this year to step up and produce a big crop," Schott said, in response to need to meet growing demand for corn.
Stroll around the meeting rooms and trade show at this year's Commodity Classic.