It has been a quiet week in Iowa, which is a change from the many miles traveled in the past couple of weeks. For the first time in five weeks, my Chevy Traverse didn’t spend any time on Interstate 80, and instead, we headed west on Highway 30 to the Loess Hills of western Iowa. I had the opportunity to catch up with one of our STAR Partner dealers in Dunlap, Michael Christenson. We had a great conversation about different varieties of corn and soybeans and how he works with his customers to ensure that they are placing the right product in their fields.
After finishing up our conversation, I headed back home to central Iowa where I packed my bags and prepared to take off for South Dakota in the latter part of the week. While I was at home, I caught up with my family and shared my travels with them. They were curious to hear about how the crops looked in different parts of the Corn Belt and the adventures that I have been a part of. Being home reminded me of why I am on this journey of being an intern – I want to learn and grow as an agriculturalist. This experience has definitely allowed me to do that. Not only have I observed more of the corn and soybean industries, I have learned about other agricultural commodities and how they play a vital role in communities across the country. Each plays an intricate role in making sure that American citizens are fed each and every day, and as agriculturalists, it’s important that we help consumers understand the role that these products play in the marketplace.
Over the course of my time in 4-H and FFA, I spent a lot of time learning about the different components of the beef industry. Whether it’s a trucker hauling feedstuffs between locations, a veterinarian taking care of cattle, working with a nutritionist to develop rations for a pen of feeder calves, or chatting with a local grocery store owner on the current market conditions, each individual plays a vital role in the success of the beef business. I came to the generalization that without each piece of beef’s pasture to plate process puzzle in place, I would go out of business as a producer and consumers would be very unhappy and hungry. The same goes for the seed industry. Every salesman, agronomist, farmer, grain merchandiser, chemical applicator, and co-op manager is an integral part to finishing the farm to fork process so that every other industry that depends on their product can continue to move forward. In simple terms: we can’t operate without each other.
Often times, we forget about the middlemen. We remember the farmer and the end user, but we fail to thank those who are transporting our products and serving in a wholesale role. As we go forward, it’s important to recognize that whether you sit at a desk in a bank or wake up at the crack of dawn to do chores so you can get to the field in a timely manner, you are a piece of the agricultural puzzle. Your dedication and determination that envelops you each day is a critical part in the sustainability of this industry.