Jon’s 15 Acres—September 2015

Jon Marohl
September 24, 2015

In my first installment of “Jon’s 15 Acres,” I pondered how many of us can trace our ancestral roots directly back to a family farm. My farming heritage comes from generations ago; I grew up a city boy.

Even on a small scale, trying to start farming at age 35 certainly has its challenges. Farming is a profession. No doubt about it. I feel my shortcomings in knowledge and skills sharply while I am on the farm.

My brother-in-law, who is much younger than I am, can drive any tractor and use any implement with ease! Driving my SUV with automatic transmission does not compare to the skill he or my father-in-law exhibit when they jump in the skid-steer, tractor or combine seat.

 

Throughout the summer they have been giving me driving lessons and opportunities to practice. This last month has been no exception, but with harvest approaching, the vehicle changed to the semi-truck with trailer. I am told that my primary responsibility this harvest will be to use it to haul loads from the fields to the grain bins.

If there is one thing that all farm-related machinery has in common, it is that they are big. And I mean really big. I am not ashamed to admit that I find them a little intimidating to operate. I am also not ashamed to admit that I am not allowed to operate most of them by myself—yet!

 

Also in light of harvest coming, I am trying to grasp the basics of grain marketing. There are a lot of different ways to sell grain. For example, futures are exchange-traded contracts for a predetermined quantity of corn for a predetermined price. There are also various forms of options, contracts and selling to various local elevators. I don’t understand it all yet, and there are many variables to consider, like storage, transportation, trends and more.

I am really looking forward to the next couple of weeks. Harvest will be starting soon, and I cannot wait to see if my yield predictions hold up!

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