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Veteran Contributor

Questions to ask at Commodity Classic


I am going to spend some time next week at the Commodity Classic. It's a big meeting of corn/soybean/wheat/sorghum farmers, and I will be attending various events/meetings/sessions that they have.

Anything you want me to ask them about agronomics? Farm business? My hunch is that the recent acquistions or "mergers of equals" as one terms it (Dow DuPont) will be asked. I'm still wondering what that means for farmers with one less company selling them inputs, too.

Any counsel/guidance would be welcome.


Gil Gullickson

Crops Technology Editor

Successful Farming

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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Questions to ask at Commodity Classic



I agree that Big Ag is likely to be a less congenial business partner.  Please look to see to what extent Big Ag is integrating - that is, Monsanto or Dow or whomever will use your yield data, publicly available information such as soil type and weather trends, to prescribe a seed and fertilizer rate and will use that information in their (and your) marketing plans.  When Monsanto or Dow buys Cargill or ConAgra, the circle will be complete.


Look to see if anyone is considering lots of smaller sized autonomous machines in lieu of huge manned machines.  I'd think 3 6-row panter run by a robot and tended by someone could be more efficient than one 36-row machine, especially in smaller or odd-shaped fields.


Are any of the big companies going to come out with a soils management plan that directly addresses run-off.  For example, will someone prescribe a hay-corn-soybean, buffer strip solution to nitrate runoff?  How about more chemical solutions such as nitrate inhibityors?  Any seed coatings or treatments that will be slow release or otherwise address the exfiltration issue of fertiliers?


What has happened to the interest of a few years ago of specialty crops such as high-oil, low lynolinic, etc?  Is this on the wane or will this come back?


Is Big Ag responding to the way millenials are buying food, or is the millenial thing a flash in the pan?


what is Big AG's solution to increasing local demands for content descriptions, such as non-GMO/GMO, etc?  Will the solution be a generic label that tells all to everyone, and, if so, does that mean the farmer is going to get taxed to provide detailed identity data for what has so  far been a commodity?  (In other words, will we no longer be commodity growers?)



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