Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of hidden chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi, we like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative, whether it's quilting, scrapbooking food wall, or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo groovin in all the right directions. We are excited to share these things with you. Yesterday was National Farmers day and I'm sort of feeling like I'm a day late dollar short, something like that. But it's never too late to celebrate our farmers. And my favorite quote for today is from Thomas Jefferson. Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness. And as you know, I like to select a quote that is appropriate for our guests today. And today our guest is a farmer and Iowa farmer Chris Edgington. Good morning Chris
Good morning it How are you this morning? I am good and I bet you are sitting someplace nice inside where it's dry because it's raining
it is raining and it was good to get some rain this morning we we have been very dry and dusty and and we need a little rain to even some things out.
Absolutely. And I know this time of year farmers are going wild. I grew up with that obviously seeing that happen and I always think that a little rain is mother nature's way of saying okay guys slow down a bit. regroup and and then be ready to take the next breath and go back at it as soon as it's dry and ready for you.
Oh absolutely. And it also gives us a chance we were working on it this morning on Okay, what are some repairs that we need to catch up on that we've kind of been letting slide and and get organized again and the chance to run for parts and and groceries and a few other things sometimes Yeah,
Absolutely. Well Chris, you are located in the St. Ansgar Iowa area which is about two hours north of us in Conrad. And I have to say I'm biased a little bit on on you and your family as farmers because of course you our family and and it's always fun to watch what you all are doing. And you currently and I'm going to hopefully get this title correct. You currently serve as the president of the corn board of the national Corn Growers Association. Is that correct?
That's correct. All right. I am I we change we that the corn growers uses October one, the National Corn Growers state some of the state associations are a little different but the national Corn Growers has a fiscal year end of October one so that is also the time that we change board members that are elected in July or officers that are elected during the summer and so if you're then elected into the Vice President's role and it's served that over the past year like I did then it comes to be October one and I will assume did assume the presidency and then October one of next year I will be the chairman and October one of the year after that I will be done well
isn't that interesting and it farming and what you guys do every day I think it is so interesting and of course I grew up around it you know I didn't live on the farm but no dad was very involved in the farming community. So we certainly and of course all my cousins and families were all involved in farming and I think that so many people they look out into those fields and they see the equipment and they see this big equipment and they go oh yeah they're you know they're getting the crops out and there's so much that goes on behind the scenes or out of the tractor or however you want to say it that it's not just as easy as Oh go plant some seeds and oh go take you know go harvest the what you know what you grew and and i mean it's it's fascinating so I think learning a little bit more for you this morning will be very interesting to people because I think there's fewer and fewer people that know everything that goes on out in the farm.
You know, I you know, that's interesting you bring up kind of that that perception deal because we as farmers have embraced technology we move forward with technology all the time and we have got lots of micro processors and computers and small screen and large screen applications going on all the time and you can remote watch you can do a lot of that but but it kind of hit home a little bit Heidi This summer I was able there excuse me a little bean desk coming up there I think but I was at the Field of Dreams baseball game and and we spent some time talking with some of the staff from major league baseball and their questions were were more of the basic well how do you plant straight? How do you get the spacing to be right and and in this day and age with GPS and auto steer and precision technology for turning rows on and off, whether it's one row at a time or in groups depending upon how somebody has their planner set up. We kind of take it for granted that you know that farmers are using that and that carries through all the way on to you know in the fall with the combine the combines today will tell you if your harvest in one row or 12 rows if you've you know had previously harvest. The other row is as everybody likes to talk about the UPS when they miscounted they the combines don't count yet for us although that is get is getting close and technology wise but absolutely we we have embraced technology in agriculture and it's one of our messages.
Absolutely. And we want to talk more about that when we come back from this commercial break. This is Heidi Kaisand from hidden chicks studio and Conrad. Here's page with their story of quilting at hen and chick studio. I have done quite a few retreats up there. She has a great space I love going up there because especially when I'm cutting fabric and if you're cool to your understand this, it's a pyre so you're not bending over and she has these display mounts so we can you can put it up there and reorganize rather than having to lay it on the floor. It's a it's a great space up there friends, my mom and my sister we all go together my aunt actually a lot of us do it together and a lot of time we work on the same quilt together. So there's one person cutting one person sewing one person ironing, we can whip out a quilt in a few hours depending on the size and in check studio at 101 North Main Street and Conrad, schedule a retreat with friends and family today and come make some memories with us online at hidden chicks studio.com
Welcome back to create with Heidi This is Heidi Kaisand and I'm talking with my guests uh, Chris Edgington. And you know Chris, you and I grew up with the same grandma that taught me to quilt. And I'm always amazed by the fact that grandma made all of her quilts with a needle and a thread, no end thread and a pair of scissors. Never never liked using the sewing machine didn't own a rotary cutter. And today, quilters have technology. That is unbelievable. I often say that some of these sewing machines could literally cook a supper if we could figure out how they do that because they have so much knowledge in them and so much capability whether it be embroidery or types of stitches or the speed with which they stitch and and all of that and I think it's very similar in farming
Well you know it is absolutely in fact you know, I'm fortunate Heidi, you know that we have a multi generation farm and and so dad is still is still around he's still engaged yesterday was driving combine most of the day and and and we talked about the things he's seen change we just talked about it the other day, when they got the first self propelled combine in the late 50s. And and you basically could get the same combine then one was the pull type and one one had an engine on it and and you know and so where we've gone today you're not going to pull today's machines around. And you know the amount of computers that are in there, but the yields have changed too and and that's another place that technology is has been very instrumental if you ever get an opportunity to to tour one of the research facilities for pioneer or or to kill or Syngenta or Beck's hybrids or any of them. It's it's amazing how much is going on in the background to give us a healthy plant that makes it through the season that gives us a good yield. Even with even with water problems, whether too much or too little. We still seem to have a crop and we get to the end and so agriculture is is all in when it comes to technology and and We're all in on on being more efficient my understanding you had somebody on a while ago that you know you spent the whole time talking about dirt it's a great that's a great topic because we are trying to be sustainably efficient for the next generation farmers want to leave the ground in a better position for the next generation than it was for ours. And the same before that it's just it's just kind of who we are. And so by doing that we use more precise technology whether it's with tillage or whether it's with fertilizer whether which was seed or whether it's with you know harvesting techniques and and it's there's always always somebody trying to innovate a new practice that is a little bit more efficient a little bit more sustainable as we tried to make the best use out of the ground we have to work with and the weather the mother nature provides us
Right and and even with all of that technology there are certain factors like mother nature that you you can't predict you can't do anything about so if it rains great if it doesn't rain great if it windy blows the corn over we have a ratio all of those things are all factors that that are out of your control so it certainly makes I'm sure everything interesting in that regard
It does and you know we have a pretty good relationship with with Mother Nature but they and my and my wife Vanessa she says Why is it always Mother Nature's fault and I said well father time was taken so which would you rather be mother timer or Mother Nature and she did think that Mother Nature was the better choice yes then then the inevitability of father time but you know they're talking about a big wind today out of this weather that we got and of course we got the rain first which is gonna make the plants that are still standing heavy and wet and so if we get a rain this time of the year it's easier for him to tip over with the if you get a wind that follows it right so we hope we hope they're wrong on that that forecast that it's not as windy as as it was out west but I got a feeling that some of that might come through when supposed to pick up here in a couple of hours
And it's always so interesting again to to know that like for example when the when the corn goes down you still have to combine it I mean unless I'm gonna say like a trade show where some of it they they did do some other stuff with it you still have to get that crop that's your that's your income out there. You still have to get it out of the field even in those certain circumstances so what do you do do you go slower Do you get it Do you have a different kind of a combine i mean do how do you how do you get corn out of the field in circumstances like that?
Well it is a challenge and yes going slower is definitely right at the very front but some you know you can put attachments on a corn head calm corner reels and they kind of helped pull the corn in and some people do that you can go at an angle we we had some corn that was really flat from a late August storm and I figured out that the best method was in those really bad spots we just went one way and we went directly into the direction that it was leaning so it was kind of feeding up and then now there was a lot more material going through the combine than should have but we were able to get a lot of it we didn't get it all it just doesn't work that way but it's much slower process we were running one mile an hour two miles an hour when normally work combine in three to four to five depends upon the machine and the and the conditions.
And even then, isn't it funny it sounds like when you say five It sounds like you're like probably going fast and yet you know five miles per hour isn't you know, in terms of driving down the road isn't fast but in a cornfield that that is fast. When you when you are you know these days, I'll say you talked about yields and you know the crops are bigger. You know, what is somebody else say? Well, how many bushels to the acre are they getting? I have no idea what is what is normal for how many how much corn should you get off of an acre?
Well, it'll depend on the region. But in you know, Northern Iowa, down to your region Heidi and then farther south and well up into southern Minnesota 210 to 230 is pretty common yields on corn. There will be some soils that are in the 181 90 now you Get in other areas 181 90 is more common or even you got I have friends that farm in Colorado and Kansas and they're they're talking 60 to 80 bushels to the acre Wow. But it's it's it's totally different because we plant 35,000 plants and they're planting 12,000 plants and that's because they don't get the water they get 1012 inches of rain for an entire year. And obviously it doesn't all fall during the growing season so very much out there it's a no deal situation all only and they plant you know, 12,000 plants trying to get to trying to get to 60 bushels, but it's you know, so every area is different. And so there's not a not a generality but in but in Iowa, especially Northern Iowa. You know, anything the expectations are over 200 with today's technology and and efficiencies that we you know, the goal is to get somewhere over 200 and in some situations, you know, more than that.
All right, well, we're gonna take a quick commercial break and when we come back, I want to know what do we do with all that corn? This is Heidi Kaisand from hidden chicks studio in Conrad. Here's Paige with her story of quilting at hidden Chet Oh, I caught a lot. I do I use hen and chicks quite a bit. I love Heidi. I even tend to manipulate the patterns that I use to fit what I want she's always so helpful. It really is a lot of fun to spend time with my family members as well as you know friends we get a lot of talking done a lot of reminiscing and you know we work so well together doing our quilts that it just goes so smoothly and and Heidi is always there or available for us if we have any questions or need anything, and we of course can go downstairs and if we forgot a piece of fabric or forgot we need more rotary cutters or anything that we might have forgotten it's down there and we can just grab it and buy it and we don't have to worry about it Hen chicks studio at 101 North Main Street in Conrad, schedule a retreat today and come make some memories with us online at hidden chicks. studio.com Welcome back to create with Heidi and this is Heidi Kaisand and I'm talking with Chris Edgington, who is the corn board president of the National Corn Growers Association and a third Are you the third generation Chris
Are yeah we I am third third on this farm Heidi and that's you know I'd say that's a great question because 70 years ago grandpa actually grandpa and grandma bought this farm and and we started farming here so yep, I am the third generation my son and niece are the fourth and the fifth generation spends a lot of time writing with us in the fall
Absolutely and I have to say that your I love your Facebook feed this type of year time of year because I get to see all those little faces of who the who's riding with who and I've seen a few few of the relatives pop up and say hey it's my turn next so it's always fun to see everybody who's out in the field helping because sometimes it takes an entire village to get it all in doesn't it
Go absolutely it's an all hands on deck type of deal and not only do we have the harvest crew but we've also got one of the nieces has developed a lunch wagon crew for evening meals and so those that aren't in the field are bringing meals out most evenings to make sure we can keep going later into the night without having to pack wolf meals
Absolutely because sometimes you guys if the weather if the weather is suitable you run more than an eight hour day you're not working just a an eight hour day you know kind of thing
Right right yeah,
So tell me I asked there before we went on break what happens with all the corn that comes out of the field because I think I told you this story but I have a city friend who once said my gosh I had no idea so much sweet corn was grown in Iowa and she thought all the fields out there were sweet corn and it's not
yeah you know let's let's touch on that first. There's You know, there's about 90 million acres of corn grown in the US. That's number two yellow, which will which will go to there's about 1 million acres, that sweet corn and we're all familiar with how you eat your sweet corn in various forms, but the other 90 million acres, we can make about a little over 4000 products out of that. Wow. Most people don't realize that but it is a starch product and so anything that takes starch, including some carpet in homes, can and or gum or some other things. There's there can be corn is a piece of that. But, but we really have three, three or four big pillars. They're they're the big ones. And first, first and foremost is livestock. They they are the number one consumer a corn and in all forms whether it's in just the form as it comes out of the field as as number two yellow. Or if they're getting a dry distillers grains out of an ethanol plant, or a wet gluten seed out of a wet ethanol plant. Or if they make corn silius, or corn early age, the livestock industry, whether it's not doesn't matter if it's broilers or turkeys, or pigs or cattle, or that they're all trying to consume corn, so there are, they're number one, they're the number one customer, the number the number two customer is, is ethanol. And it's you know, ethanol is very prevalent in Iowa, it's a great fuel, it lowers the cost per mile driven for the consumer, it also cleans up the air quality. So it's a it's a great environmental product, as well as being a better price option for the consumer than than regular gasoline. And then exports is his third, we have some great customers around the world that are very reliable buying corn, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, at the moment, China is a big producer, or big consumer of corn, they're not maybe as reliable market as those other three, dependent upon their demand. But lately, they have been a very, very big market for corn, now they are continually a big market for soybeans, they don't grow anywhere near the amount of soybeans they need. So they're always buying soybeans, which most Iowa farmers also raised. So that is, you know, that is another crop that goes that way and, and then you know, industrial use for all of those other things would be would be the fourth bucket. And a lot of those products start in and then and you've you know, you've got the food sector, whether it's the corn chips, or the cording to dealers, and all of that that's a specialty type of corn for the most part, or you've got high fructose corn syrup and, and things like that a lot of those products will start in a in a wet mill plant like an ADM and it's or Cargill or roquette, or some of the other ones around the country. It's a little bit different process. But the demand is pretty close to equal to the supply. And so we continue to produce big crops.
That is, and that is always a good thing. Because it's it's important to, certainly to the economy here in Iowa, whether whether people are involved in the agricultural business or not, that that egg business is still important to Iowa. And I think that is so important for people to know, too, that even if they're not a farmer, even if they're a city slicker, they've they still need to understand how important all of that is to Iowa.
Well, yes, we it's a huge part of our economy. And, and it's not only I was economy, but it helps with the US economy, not only with jobs, but but just with trade, and trade balance and trade deals because we've got a product that a lot of rest of the world cannot grow for various reasons. But they need it to feed their livestock, whether you're in Africa or or Southeast Asia or other places and, and so we're exporting that done and that creates, you know, some of the additional demand some additional positive growth for the US economy. So yes, it touches on a lot of places, as does all of agriculture.
Absolutely. Well Chris, it has been a pleasure chatting with you this morning and I'm so glad that you it was raining and that I could catch you out of the tractor for a few minutes. So I encourage everybody to come to hidden chicks studio in Conrad, and until next week, be creative