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Farmers as wordsmiths and environmentalists

I’m jealous of some farmers. They are not good crop and livestock producers, but they also have a way with words.


Paul Anderson, Harvey, N.D., says he’s practicing SOS corn storage this year – storing on the stalk.


He has about 300 of his 400 acres of corn in the field and isn’t in any hurry to get it out. The corn is drying fine – down to about 18% moisture. Last year, SOS storage worked out well and he’s hoping it will do the same this winter. So far so good.


Though he’s had three bad corn years out of the past six, he’s not planning to cut back on corn acres in 2010. There’s too many good reasons for him to keep corn at about 10-15% of his acreage, he says. Rotation benefits, markets and improvements in early-season hybrids are three of the reasons.


And, after all, what are the odds it we’ll have another cool summer?


David Fremark, Miller, S.D., says that with climate change, cap and trade and celebrity environmentalism in the news farmers ought to pre proud of their environmentalism.


“We were green before green was cool,” he says.


Fremark’s own operation is a good example.


His 6,500 head feedlot is made completely out of recycled materials. Oil field sucker rod, abandoned railroad ties and used highway guard rail form the fences. The water pipes and waterers are made from recycled plastics and old earth mover tires.


Fremark captures the rain that falls on lot and uses it to irrigate corn – which he turns around and feeds cows.


He fertilizes corn with the dry manure from the feedlot.


He uses corn twice – once to produce ethanol, and the byproduct to produce meat.


Nearly every time he hauls corn to the ethanol plant, he comes back with a load of distillers grains.


He leaves borders around the edges of his fields and the feedlot for wildlife. He even tolerates weeds in the borders. There’s nothing better for pheasants than a dry kochia to hide under, he says.


“Farmers and ranchers are the original environmentalists,” he says.


Read about both Anderson and Fremark in the January Dakota Farmer.

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