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Corn+Soybean Digest

Think Different: Think. Experiment. Innovate.

One thing my rural Iowa farm life taught me at an early age was the fun of creativity and doing things differently. (Mind you I’m talking early 1960s when I was five years old and we only had four TV channels – but, luckily we had a huge 5-acre farmstead to explore.)

Our kingdom of fun was figuring out what kind of fort my brothers and I could concoct with hammers, pliers, old bent nails, old wood, baling wire and other found resources. Granted, some of our shenanigans gave Mom gray hair. However, all too soon, livestock chores and field work overtook playtime. But the creativity learned was only beginning, as we watched and absorbed problem solving from our Dad – be it about equipment, weeds, sheds, waterers, cement, or the value of a steel 5-gallon bucket when a hungry sow came running.

For more than 30 years I’ve been privileged to visit with hundreds if not a thousand farmers, and I’ve often marveled at their continued ingenuity – despite the computerization of everything. Many don’t fear change, they embrace it, and try to make it better in many cases.

Perhaps that’s why, when I began this Editor journey at Corn+Soybean Digest in December 2011, I wanted to do everything we could to showcase how many farmers Think Different, and how they passionately apply science to improve their business.

In this issue are several good examples:

  • Share your farm data?” We asked our “Data Decisions” columnist Dan Frieberg to address the growing topic of farm data ownership. He lays out some good consumer analogies regarding value proposition, and recommends that sharing data can make good business sense if you analyze the value and tradeoffs. Speaking of thinking different about data, as we went to press, Monsanto and Climate Corp announced new groundbreaking principles to guide data use and privacy – to give farmers full ownership and transparent control of their data to share as they see fit to gain value for their operation. The companies vow to make it easy for farmers to control who can access data and for what purpose. They will offer free basic data storage and services. And they will enable farmers to share their data across other platforms at no cost.
  • Organic matter profits.” In case you haven’t pondered the actual value of a 1% improvement in organic matter, read about Indiana farmer Dan DeSutter who talks real money savings and rainfall benefits from his improved no-till/cover crop acres.
  • Seed treatments reduce early risks.” While researchers spend a lot of time trying to discern added yield boost profits, perhaps the larger uncalculated benefit is preventing the replant of costly seed and the value of early even emergence.

I sincerely thank you for reading, for viewing more valuable content on, for subscribing to our newsletters, and for being willing to Think Different.

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