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Spring 2017 Update from Billie

Welcome to the Spring Edition of the “The Dirt”. We’ve had another mild winter with very little snow removal. We wish the frost had gone deeper from an insect and disease pressure aspect. Currently, we are very wet, cold, and anxiously waiting for spring to bring drier and warmer weather so we can begin fieldwork and planting.

I continued my peer group training and visits to several remarkable farms. In December, I visited an amazing operation in Kentucky with over 30,000 acres in over 1,100 different fields. The first week in March I visited an operation in Tennessee with several other peer group members. We spent two days working on our managerial skills as well as touring the host farm. I am grateful for the tremendous knowledge I gain in these short experiences.

We continue to aggressively implement new ideas and plans for our operation. Variable Rate Seeding (VRS) worked very well last year, and we will continue with that. Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) is also working wonderfully. We purchased a UAV, more commonly called a drone, last week and cannot wait to fly it and film our fields for evaluation. We hope to show our land owners video footage of our crops on their farms.

Richard Brand, my high school Vocation Ag and FFA teacher recently gave his retirement speech at our local FFA banquet. It was very cool that he taught me and then taught my daughter. His retirement address was all about “change.” Mr. Brand could not be more right! Gracie and I are appreciative to Mr. Brand as a mentor, leader, and neighbor. Congratulations on a rewarding career doing what you love, Mr. Brand!

Gracie and Payton are very busy. Gracie graduates from West Liberty High School in May and Payton graduates from Northwestern University in June. Wow, a very busy spring for Dad! There is more on them later in this issue.

A message to our landowners: Please call us if there is anything we can do to help you.

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