What inspires farmers and why is their job so important? Brandon Hunnicutt explains:
Why did you want to be a farmer?
Growing up, I was out on the farm all the time harassing my dad, uncles and grandpa. When I wasn’t with them I was dirt farming outside with my toys or inside “carpet farming” with the little farm toys. It was in my blood from the time I was born. Even though I spent some time trying to figure out if there was another path for me to follow, ultimately all my schooling ended up leading me back to where I began, back on the farm, on the homestead I grew up in.
What crops do you grow?
We grow corn soybeans, seed corn, popcorn, sorghum and occasionally, wheat.
What impact do pests and disease have on your crops?
Aside from the weather, pests and diseases are probably the two biggest concerns we have. It is completely out of our control in terms of how much it will cost year on year to combat. It often requires increased crop protection applications due to weed outbreaks.
Insect and disease outbreaks are especially tough to predict. There are a couple of disease instances that come to mind. Our popcorn tends to get Goss’ Wilt in it. Usually when it is discovered it is too late to do anything. It causes the plant to die early resulting in a loss of yield. We have also had instances of fusarium developing in the corn stalk causing the plants to fall and making harvest difficult. This means we are not to be able to pick up all the ears resulting in lower yield and increased costs.
In general, how important is it to have access to crop protection products?
Having access to crop protection products in extremely important in maintaining high yielding and healthy crops. It allows us to combat the pests that can cause damage to kernels and plants resulting in lower yields. That damage can also be an entry point for disease to come in causing a lower quality product, and in some instances, a product that may be rejected due to the toxins that develop.
Why is your profession important in the challenge to feed the world?
On the front line of agriculture, we have the capability to help feed an ever-growing world. In the future, I think it is important that we continue to develop new technologies to help farmers throughout the world become more self-sufficient.
What inspires you about your job?
There are few other professions that allows livelihoods to be passed on from generation to generation. Knowing that the ground I am farming now was farmed 100 years ago by my ancestors and hopefully will be farmed 1,000 years in the future by my descendants is the thing that truly inspires me to do what I do.
Brandon is a 5th generation farmer raising corn, soya, & popcorn from Nebraska, USA.