What is The Farmer’s Life?

Welcome to the Farmer’s Life!  My name is Brian and I’m glad you’re here as I hope to have some great discussion with you about agriculture.

What will we talk about?

Brian AKA The Farmer's LifeWe can talk about anything really, but let me tell you about my areas of interest that steer most of the topics here.  I raise corn, soybeans, popcorn and wheat on an Indiana farm with my dad and grandpa.  I’m also a proud Purdue Ag Alumni with a Bachelor’s degree in Soil and Crop Management.  On this blog you’ll to see a lot of pictures from the daily activities on our farm.  But this site goes deeper than just pictures of what we are doing on any given day.  I’ll explain just why it is we do certain things and talk about subjects that get me excited about farming.

I really love precision agriculture.  It’s taking farming to new  heights.  From GPS based yield and application maps to tractors that drive themselves, I’m all about the latest and greatest in ag tech.  Mobile technology is wonderful and a growing force in farming.  I think the real power of mobile actually lies in using social media to connect ag to people who aren’t familiar with farming.  There are types of farming I know nothing about and have connected with other farmers from all over the world to help me learn.

Biotech.  We employ biotechnology, often referred to as GMO, on our farm.  Not all of our crops fall in this category, but most do.  This is most certainly a hot topic, and if you have questions about biotech crops I’m more than happy to have a conversation about them.  I like to say biotechnology is a tool in my tool box.

Our combines. A 1950s model 45 just for fun, and our 2010 9670 STS. Learn more about these machines in “55 Years of Agricultural Evolution in John Deere Combines.”

Our newest venture is cover cropping and I know I’ll be posting a lot about cover crops as we learn more about them.  Fall 2012 was our first try at cover crops.  For those that don’t know what a cover crop is, they are plants with varying capabilities such as nutrient scavenging, weed suppression, soil building, and erosion control.  Cover crops are grown in between cash crops but are generally not harvested.

We’ll also talk about many other subjects like ethanol, food issues, international agriculture, and farm policy.

Hot Topics

These are posts that have done well for me bringing in visitors and generating comments.  If you really want to know what this blog is all about take a look at them.

I Occupy Our Food Supply Everyday
Peanut Butter and Truth in Labeling
Where Does My Harvest Go?

Get  Involved!

I love interact with my followers.  See a post you like?  Feel free to leave comment.  You can also keep up with me on Facebook, twitter, YouTube, and Google+!

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  1. Thanks so much for reaching out on Twitter and your comment about the additional use of grains in ethanol processing. It would be great to speak with you further about this so that the information is portrayed accurately as your insight is unprecedented and your hard-earned wisdom through generations of farming is so valuable.

    1. Thanks so much. I just get irritated when all the facts aren’t out there for people to see. I wasn’t too big on ethanol myself until I started tweeting and blogging. I’ve learned more than I’ve taught since I started. Thanks again for noticing. Most people don’t realize that corn used for ethanol production is not lost to the food industry.

        1. It’s still relatively young technology in the mainstream. Like any type of tech things get better and cheaper over time. Not much has been done on the engine side yet, but there are great possibilities there. I’m not a huge fan of electric cars, but I try to remember they’ll get better too.

  2. Hello,

    My name is Katie Wachlin and I am leading a group of 10 kids, ages 10-14, on a FIRST Lego League Team. You can find out more here: http://www.firstlegoleague.org/
    Basically this is an international robotics competition using Legos, which includes both a robot building and a research project dimension.
    This year’s challenge is called Food Factor, and our team has chosen to study microwave popcorn in the pre-packaged bags. We are just beginning our research and were hoping to learn all we can about popcorn. This is where you come in. Would you consider allowing our team, with adult supervision, to visit your farm? Your expertise would be deeply appreciated and of course we would be willing to pay you for this visit/class. We live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and are all home schoolers, so we would have flexibility in scheduling around your schedule. Thanks for your time and please let me know if this is something you would consider.

    Katie Wachlin

  3. Hello! Your blog is really entertaining and informative. I’ve really enjoyed reading it.

    My father farms 3000 acres of corn and soybeans in central Illinois. I left the farm in 1999 to go to college but now I’m beginning to think that the farm is where I belong. I was hoping you could give me a reality check about the positives and negatives of being a farmer. I’ve spoken to my dad about moving home and working for him on the farm but he doesn’t seem too excited about it. He thinks I’m not being realistic about what it takes. I grew up on this farm and I think I know what it takes but I want to be sure. If you could send me an email to discuss this issue would greatly appreciate it.


  4. Hi. I’m writing an article about ag social media for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. I’d like to include a couple of paragraphs about your GREAT blog, Facebook postings, etc. and wondered if you could provide me with a line or two of background info about yourself. I guess your name is Brian, but that’s all I can find so far. Thanks!

    1. Check out my about page for a bio I’ve written up if you’d like. I’m a 4th generation farmer growing a little over 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, popcorn, and wheat. I work with my father and grandfather, and we employ one hired hand full time. I’m a Purdue graduate with a BS in Soil and Crop Management. I’m married and we have a 3 year old boy who loves tractors!

    2. LOL. I guess you’re on the about page already. I’ve been getting a lot comments today on another post, so assumed that’s where you commented. Any other questions please let me know!

  5. Hi,

    I just discovered your site through this article: http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2013/01/17/opinion-my-family-farm-isnt-under-corporate-control/?hpt=hp_bn11 (via twitter).

    Thanks for writing the article – it answered loads of questions that have been at the back of my mind for a while. I recently graduated in Plant Biology in the UK and I blog about plants and science (particularly GM crops). However, I know a lot more about biology than I do about agriculture and agronomy, and this often slows down my writing, so I’m really happy to have found your site.

    Hope you don’t mind, but I have a question about saving seed. Whenever people say that GM crops will make farmers slaves to big ag by preventing them from saving their seeds, one of the things that I point out is that many farmers already don’t save their seeds (especially with maize since the seeds won’t produce first-generation hybrids). But I have always wondered how true this is outside of hybrid maize. What about other crops? Would farmers growing other crops want to save their seed? Do they do it? Did they used to do it? If not, why not?

    Sorry if that’s a bit demanding. Even pointing me in the right direcction would be much appreciated!

    1. I think there would be a lot of farmers interested in saving soybean seed. In fact, I’ll bet there are guys doing right now that technically aren’t supposed to saving any. I’m not sure there would be great interest in saving corn seed as you already know. Hybrids are just better performers than inbreds. A lot of the seed saving in conventional farming probably occured before my time. I was born in 1980. People also seem to think seed patents are limited to biotech which isn’t true.

  6. We generate an Indiana ag news feed that you might consider adding to your site. When sites carry that feed, we post direct links to their posts on our home page and also distribute them in our weekly compilation. If interested, drop me a line at: owen@agfax.com. See our site at http://agfax.com.
    Great site you have there, BYW.

  7. Great Blog, Brian. I would love to learn more about daily activities during the planting season, on the soybean side of things. Such as, How often do you walk your fields during the season, how often do you sweeps your fields for pest, and so on. I imagine running a farm, there are things you get in the habit of doing every day. I am just intrigued to learn more about the farming operation on a daily or if its easier a weekly basis.

  8. Hi Brian, I just came across your blog and very happy to read about you. I am in venturing in farming and would like to learn from you about the crops cultivations. It would be so good to exchange contact with you.

  9. I understand you grow popcorn for Weaver Popcorn. If on your farm you employ biotech practices, how does the popcorn remain uncontaminated?

    1. Great question, Sarah. The popcorn is what’s known as dent sterile. This means that normal field, or dent, corn won’t pollinate the popcorn. So we can and do have popcorn fields adjacent to other corn fields with no issue. Hope that helps!

      1. Yes, thank you, that helps. But I’m still confused about one thing. Isn’t it only corn that won’t pollinate the popcorn? What about the other GMO crops you are raising on your farm? No residues?

  10. I grew up on a farm and enjoy reading some of your articles. I have seen some crossing of popcorn with what is called Indian corn. I grew the two side by side and when shelling popcorn had some slightly colored kernels. I kept some for planting. The result was very shinny multicolor ears with kernels much larger than popcorn. It did pop but had a different flavor than the popcorn.
    I liked your article about GMO.

    1. Thanks, Billy. I believe Indian corn and popcorn are both types of flint corn so your experience makes sense. There are open pollinated varieties of popcorn, but I do not think they are widely used in commercial production.

  11. On March 15, my father bhojraj sonkusare has invited many poor and tribal tasar farmers. For the
    organization of, “tribal tasar kisan mela “On the origination, minister of state forest, minister of textiles ,chairman of Maharashtra ,M.L.A of Nagpur , collector of Bhandara ,director of sericulture ,chairman of Bhandara district, branch manager and many people were invited on this program. My father has spoken a speech on sericulture of India. It was a wonderful speech.
    The speech was consisting of tough life of farmer. .the life of a farmer is very tough. He works very hard day and night in all seasons. During summer, he works under the heat of the sun. During winter season, he gets wet while ploughing the field. During winter, he carries on his hard work in spite of the dull and cold weather.
    My father has called farmers departmental related officers organized in the one dice, all sericulture government officers in second dice and the poor farmers were called in another dice. Some questions were asked to the officers they should give the answers in the forms of statement. But they do not give attention to those questions they refuse them. The government officers have the power but they misuse it. Those officers are the crept officers, and committee of those offices should be punishing for it.
    He was reading a newspaper, thinking to improve sericulture work of India. He always uses to think about, the farmer who used to do suicide in India. And it is very shameful for our India. Who give us food to eat they use to do suicide, because of us. India is a democratic country, for everyone in the eyes of law. He use to think, “It is very irrefutable for government to discriminate the farmer”. But usually they discriminate farmers in the eyes of laws.
    His view was to give something new ideas, to help them with technology. He used to organized many chain of events for the farmer. The program was held to show the dignity in the poor farmer, but no one understood the poverty of the poor farmer. The all minister, governor, chairman, collector, all those people misuse the program. They came only for the showoff. No one razed their hands towards the improment of the farmers. Hence, the government does not work for the improment of the people, but only for the money.
    When I was only twelve, I was sitting in my garden drinking milk. My father spoke to me about my goal. At that time I was confused about my goal. After some days, I declared myself as a collator. And I always used to think, I want to be a person who work for improment of the people not for the money. I also want to help those poor farmers who need help for the government. I promise that I will never discriminate the poor people and the rich people. But firstly, there the improment only in the government not in the people.

  12. Hi I loved your blog I myself was raised sadly in the city. But I love farm animals and veggies, even corn. People are obsessed with organic these days, I think organic is mainly important for children because I was not financially able to feed my own daughter organic and sadly she went through puberty at age 9, which is due mostly to hormones in meat. But I heard some veggies contribute to poor/early development also especially corn…… But I’m not sure. I know about the pesticides being dangerous, and antibiotics are put in food also. Can you tell me, do they (the government) ever force you to use those things? Or is it farmers choice? Thanks! Strange question I know but it’s kinda important, have a grandchild and don’t want her to be in puberty so young.

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