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Planting 2020 Has Commenced

Whew! I certainly feel confident that everyone would agree that the last two weeks have been typical for Indiana….at least weather wise. From 80+ degrees highs at the beginning of the week, to barely making it to the 50s on Friday. Of course, we had to throw in some tornado watches and warnings for true Indiana fashion.

One of those 80-degree days, I loaded up my 3 boys (ages 3, 5, and 7) and we took an 80 mile round-trip throughout the area to search for signs of spring and normalcy. While I am forever thankful to have so many fun things around our homes to do and keep us occupied during this quarantine, I think we were all itching to go beyond our homestead and my in-laws farm, which is right next door.

Through the grape-vine, I had heard reports of some farmers starting to plant some corn here in south central Indiana, but I wanted to see if I could find any of these farmers in action and snap a few pictures to share with you all.

While we surprisingly didn’t find anyone in action, I did find one field of sweet corn planted. Corn-on-the-cob is one of my oldest son’s favorites. I think he started to drool as we stood in the field and searched for a few spikes starting to pop through the soil and discussed how long it would be until it would be ready to pick. I have a hard time buying corn on the cob at the grocery store. It’s never as good as fresh from the garden or the local farmer’s market and the boys were insistent that they wanted some right now.

We did find evidence that farmers have been busy taking advantage of the dry weather. We saw numerous crop and hay fields with equipment tracks. Some farmers applying their spring burn down and fertilizer applications. In one of my family’s fields, we found the Terra Gator loaded and ready to get to work, but no one in sight. It was about lunch time, so we figured they were taking a break. We couldn’t help but stop and get a picture.

The cover crops in the area were really starting to take off. I got a bit of the warm fuzzies as I thought about all the positive soil health impacts of those cover crops for those farmers’ fields. Managing erosion. Building soil structure. Suppressing weeds. Promoting biodiversity. Building organic matter and so much more! Note some of the pictures I have included with the blog. Some of the cover crops were really getting some size. Just think about what the roots look like underneath the soil!

While driving across the countryside provided scenes of normalcy for the farming community, discussions with a few local farmers confirmed that many have had a few hurdles to jump during the pandemic. Not all service providers that farmers use are in business due to the virus. One farmer I spoke to went to 3 tire shops before finding one that was open so that she could get a tire fixed. Another spoke of a fertilizer plant being shut down for a week and they couldn’t get fertilizer during that time. While these inconveniences may have changed up plans for a few hours or days, it didn’t mess up their whole planting season.

My thoughts are with the farmers as they continue early in the planting season. May they get the crop in the ground, harvested, marketed, and everything that goes on in between!

- Jessica Hoehn


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