Monday, August 20, 2012

There Goes Another Summer

Wow! It's hard to believe that the summer of 2012 is over, at least for me and many other young adults who are returning to their respective colleges. Every year it seems like the summer goes faster and faster! However, I guess if a person is having fun, usually the time goes by fast anyways, and that is exactly what happened this last summer!

So how does a college student like myself spend their summer? Well, like many, I spent the majority of my summer interning with a company. I was fortunate enough to intern with Cooperative Producers Inc. (CPI), which is headquartered in Hastings, Nebraska. CPI is a diversified agricultural cooperative where they deal with grain, agronomy, energy, feed, and even owns a few convenience stores called Ampride. CPI's territory covers a large portion of South Central Nebraska and has locations in many rural communities.

While interning with CPI, I was able to see the different parts of the cooperative and how a cooperative functions. I was based in Blue Hill, Nebraska and spent the first part of my internship scouting fields to identify weeds and look for pests. I also checked the fields after they had been sprayed to make sure the chemical worked and didn't harm any crops. Before starting my internship, I had no experience in the agronomy area, as I am an Ag business major. So learning how to identify weeds, diseases and other pests was a great learning opportunity! The second part of my internship involved creating a training video for CPI's sales people on the new CPI 300 program! This was another part of the internship that I enjoyed as I not only got to test my movie making skills, but also learned quite a bit about the new program that will help farmers increase their corn yields to 300 bushels and soybean yields to 100 bushels on a consistent basis. Along with scouting fields and creating a training video, I also had the opportunity to spend a day with the grain marketing guys, which was interesting, especially with how volatile the markets have been this summer!

Although learning about how a cooperative works and getting hands on experience was all great, the part I especially enjoyed was getting to know all the people who work at CPI. I have always said that it is not necessarily the work that makes the job fun, but it's the people who I work with that makes it fun! I was very fortunate to work with a great group of people at CPI who made it a fun internship!

Besides being an intern, I also was able to have some fun this summer as well. When I wasn't working I would usually spend my time going to the lake, chilling with friends, attending friends weddings, going to the county fair, or helping out on the family farm! Overall, it was another great summer filled with fun and learning.

Unfortunately it's time to get back into the "college" mode and prepare myself for my last year of college! It's hard to believe that the "real world" is right around the corner and will be here before I know it! But until then, I think I am just going to enjoy the life of a college student!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

From the Field to the Movie Theater: August Popcorn Update

What a summer it has been so far! This has been one of our driest summers in a long time. I don't think many ever thought that the summer of 2012 would end up being like this. Many farmers all across the United States were expecting a bumper crop this year up until the drought developed. Many of the acres planted to corn or soybeans have been lost due to the dry conditions, which has lead the USDA to lower its yields of those different crops.

Here in South Central Nebraska, we haven't received any rain at all. It has been completely dry where all of our farms are located. Most of the dryland corn has burned up, but so far the irrigated corn looks like it could still yield well. Dryland soybeans still have a chance to yield well if we can catch a rain within the next week, and the irrigated soybeans are doing really good so far.

Unfortunately, our popcorn crop has been in the same boat as our other crops, however, we are very fortunate to have irrigation, which has helped tremendously. In my opinion, our popcorn crop looks very good considering the dry and warm weather we have experienced throughout the month of July. A good portion of July saw temperatures reach into triple digits. When temperatures get that warm, it can affect the pollination process, which could reduce the amount of kernels that develop. Luckily, when our popcorn started to pollinate, the temperatures ended up in the upper 80's to lower 90's. Yet, even with cooler temperatures, we have had to run our pivot almost continuously to keep the popcorn plants watered, as corn plants use a lot of water during the pollination process.

Below are pictures of what the popcorn field and plants look like. It wont be too long before we see a combine out in the field harvesting it!

Places that don't get watered look like this. Unfortunately, the pivot misses this spot. Lots of cornfields around our area that aren't irrigated look like this.

The popcorn kernels have developed. These are what you will eventually find in your bag of popcorn after they have been harvested, cleaned, and packaged.

Every popcorn plant produces at least one ear of corn, however, some plants may produce up to two ears per plant.

When walking out in the corn fields,  a person almost feels as if they are in the Amazon as it looks like a jungle.

The corn plants are almost 10 ft. tall.

The rows of popcorn!!
To read previous popcorn updates, click here!