Farm Progress

Commentary: In Nebraska where different kinds of corn and soybeans are grown, coexisting is a shared responsibility.

January 1, 2018

2 Min Read
HARMONY: As Nebraska farmers continue to plant different kinds of, producers should maintain clear communication with their neighbors to avoid potential harmful effects to each other’s crops.

Nebraska agriculture is incredibly diverse. To an outsider, it may appear corn and soybeans dominate the landscape of our state's farmland. While this is true, a closer look will reveal the true complexity and diversity of Nebraska's crops.

Looking at corn by itself, farmers are growing popcorn, yellow and white corn, seed corn and various other identity-preserved (IP) traits, using conventional, no-till and organic practices. Some corn farmers may be incorporating several of these corn hybrids into their operations to meet consumer demand and possibly capitalize on extra revenue streams.

In its December 2017 issue, the Nebraska Farmer magazine laid out the reasons behind why more farmers are looking to diversify their crop production systems in their article, "IP Production Offers Profit Potential for Nebraskans." Diversity in American farming has made us a strong player in the global ag arena for generations. Even former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, once said, "We need diversity in production methods, crops produced and in the farming community itself. And failing to recognize and act on that fact, in my view, compromises agriculture's future, and I would argue the future of our country."

In Nebraska, we must maintain diversity to ensure the availability of a range of commodities, production methods and traits to guarantee the continued resilience and growth of our state's agricultural production. It may be easy to embrace the concept of diversity, but when put into practice, varied cropping systems can be challenging.

Like people, crops must be able to coexist with one another to ensure a successful survival. Coexistence in agriculture is a shared responsibility. Farmers do grow a variety of crops, and often these fields are neighboring other fields with different crops. Every farmer deserves to be successful, which is where coexistence comes into play.

Ag producers should develop and maintain clear communication with their neighbors to avoid potential harmful effects to the crops of each party. In these discussions, we need to know and understand the various traits our neighbors are growing to prevent issues that may arise from cross-pollination or herbicide injury. As technology and market conditions continue to evolve, so will the crops farmers plant. Therefore, communication with neighboring farmers needs to be a continuous process of learning and understanding.

As a whole, Nebraska farmers are good stewards, and we believe a major component of good stewardship is the establishment of a clear and transparent dialogue with neighbors. Thus, we also believe communication is a strong foundation of coexistence, no matter the commodity, no matter the trait.

As farmers, we make choices on the hybrids and varieties that will be planted in our operations. As we do so, we must communicate early and often with our neighbors. This small step will allow for greater results in the utilization of new technologies in the future, which will impact the long-term success of our industry.

Source: Nebraska Corn

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