Kathy and I went on the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce AgTour on Thursday night. I was a bit concerned when we arrived at Wright Implement Company on Carter Rd. to find three vans driven by The ladies of the Chamber Staff. Kathy assured me it would be ok so I go in, held on, and away we went.
The plan was to tour a dairy farm, a tobacco farm and return the Wright’s, The John Deere Store, dinner prepared by the Daviess County Pork Producters.
Our first stop was the John and Leigh Ann Kuegel dairy farm. John met the group of cityfolk and took us to a storage building our of the wind. Filled with several hundred thousand dollars worth of John Deere equipment.
I have known John for a long time but didn’t realize how bit their operation is. I also didn’t know there are only three dairy farms left in Daviess County. After talking with another farming buddy this morning, it turns out the three dairy farms are the only ones left in a several county region.
John talked about how today’s farmer must balance his operation between hard work (labor intensive) and new computerized technology.
John is also very concerned about growth in the area. “We have a subdivision, Southern Star Pipeline and a church in the area across the road now. Our of respect we don’t fertilize in that area with cow manure even though it costs much less and works better”, he told the crowd. It seems funny that the farming community is concerned about the city folks who move to the country but those in the city don’t always return the favor. (How many of us get mad when we have to slow down for a tractor, combine or grain truck).
John talked about the operations of the dairy farm, raising the cows, feeding, milking, testing the milk (it is tested three times before it even leaves the farm), and something we never think about……getting rid of the poop. I am certainly glad we took the tour before eating.
John’s wife,Leigh Ann, in addition to being wife and mother to the family is also an important part of the operation. She talked about school groups touring the farm and why milk is so important. Milk, butter, ice cream all come from cows. Did you know from the time a cow is milked till the processed milk hits the grocery shelves is less than 2 days?
The next stop was the Stephen Farm. It was time to learn about growing crops. Today we talked tobacco. Yes, there is still a market, yes much of it still needs to be done by hand and yes, it is very very hard work.
Again this part of the Ag Industry has changed. No longer to you strip tobacco the way many of us remember. Gone are the tobacco baskets, the auctions, and the small hundred pound bales. Instead it is clean modern buildings, a well trained crew, assembly line efficency and 700 lb bales.
The evening ended with a great meal prepared by the Daviess County Pork Producers served at the John Deere Service Center at Wright Implement. Bruce Westerfield welcomed everyone and shared some interesting facts about farming and food. He then showed us a state of the art tractor that can pretty much run itself. The Cost? over $200,00. Hey nobody said new technology was cheap.
Here are a few facts from Bruce:
1. From 1970 to 2010 the world populations doubles
2. The world’s appetite will double in the next 20 years3. In 2010 the world’s population is 6.8 billion, by 2050 it is projected to be 9.3 billion people
4. From 1987 to 2007 farmer grew 40% more corn, 30% more soybeans, and 19% more wheat on the same amount of land
5. In 1949 1 farmer produces enough food to feed 19 people, in 1970 enough food to feed 73 people, in 2010 enough food to feed 155 people
6. By 2050 farmer will have to grow as much food as they have produced since farming began in 10000BC
7. There are 31 billion searches on Google every month
8. The number of text messages sent and received daily exceeds the total population of the planet
9. There are over 1 billion internet devices on the market today
10. The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years
11. For students starting a technical degree, this means one half of what they learned the first year will be outdated the third year
12. The mobile device will be the primary source to the internet by 2020
13. By 2013, a supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computational abilities of the human brain
14. By 2049, a personal computer will exceed the computational abilities of the entire human species
15. The computer in your cell phone today is about a million times cheaper, about a thousand times more powerful, and about a hundred thousand times smaller than the first computer developed in 1965
16. What used to fit in a building now fits in your pocket
17. What now fits in your pocket will fit in a blood cell in 25 years