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October 25, 2009

Filling up at a gas station in Iowa, the truck in front of us had ‘popcorn’ on the license plate.  I asked the owner if that was his business.  He breeds the stuff!  He has a small field behind his house, where he hand pollenates the corn to create the next super-popcorn strain.

This sounds like an unlikely job to suburban ears, but many people we meet in the plains states are connected to agriculture in ways I never considered.  There is high tech software that can drive an enormous combine using GPS and robotic steering, so that huge farm machines move within an inch of perfection at each pass.  The robotic software drives and turns, but a farmer still needs to be at the wheel in case of fallen trees and other obstacles that the GPS satelites and towers can’t detect.  This process is used for seeding, fertilizing, and harvesting.  In fact, you can do soil tests, plot the results, input that data into the system, and the fertilizing spray arms will automatically adjust for each square foot, the apropriate nozzles releasing less nutrients where the soil is already fertile.

My notion of farming has been overhauled this month.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul Sherwood permalink
    October 25, 2009 9:29 pm

    Hi Matt and Logan,
    So it seems the big question is which of you is learning more? Sounds like you’re both having a good time.

    • 50skatekid permalink
      October 27, 2009 8:57 am

      That IS a good question! We’re both learning a lot.

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