What inspires farmers and why is their job so important? Bil Schrader explains:
Why did you want to be a farmer?
Being around it as a boy was what peaked my interest. I have been fascinated with every aspect of farming. The mechanical, agronomic, and financial (most of the time!) are interesting aspects. To me there is no more of a noble cause than agriculture and being involved in feeding people. Working with mother nature to grow a crop is very rewarding.
What crops do you grow?
Corn and Soybeans.
What impact do pests and disease have on your crops?
Pests and diseases are things that I constantly monitor and scout. The most prevalent pests we deal with are soybean aphids and corn rootworm, both of which can be devastating if left unchecked. In the past, soybean aphids have caused reductions in yields up to 20%. I have experienced corn rootworm damage so severe, that my corn was almost unable to be harvested.
In general, how important is it to have access to crop protection products?
Responsible use of crop protection products is essential to modern agriculture. The use of these products allows us to produce a safe and plentiful food supply. Without these tools, we would have a significant drop in production.
Why is your profession important in the challenge to feed the world?
As the world’s population grows and food requirements increase it is becoming more and more of a challenge for everyone in production agriculture to meet the demand that is set. We will need to be efficient and responsible in using all the resources we have, to maximize our production. Agriculture is barely able to keep up with demand as it is. Water, nutrients, and land are all limiting factors. We want to achieve maximum production in a sustainable way, being good stewards to the environment and preserving what we have for future generations.
What inspires you about your job?
Several things inspire me about my job. The common goal everyone in agriculture shares is to better the food supply. I enjoy the people I work with on a day to day basis and the way of life in rural America. There are many challenges set before us now but I am confident that we will rise to those challenges and overcome them.