ANNOUNCER “CELEBRATING 43 YEARS ON THE AIR, FARMWEEK IS A PRODUCTION OF MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION.” TODAY ON FARMWEEK, FARM FINANCES — COMPARISONS MADE BETWEEN THE YEARS JUST BEFORE THE 80s FARM CRISIS AND NOW. PLUS, A NEW RECORD HIGH FOR SOME GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE FUTURE? IN SOUTHERN GARDENING, CHRISTMAS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER — AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! AND AN ENCORE — WE’RE HEADED TO THE FRIENDLY SKIES. FARMWEEK STARTS RIGHT NOW! JIB HELLO, EVERYONE, I’M MIKE RUSSELL. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY ON FARMWEEK. MIKE ALL TOO OFTEN ON ALL TOO OFTEN ON THIS SHOW THESE DAYS, WE REPORT TO YOU WHAT WE HEAR FROM COUNTLESS SOURCES — THAT FARM FINANCES ARE, TO SAY THE LEASE — TROUBLED. THAT KNOWLEDGE WEIGHS HEAVILY ON STAKEHOLDERS THROUGHOUT THE AG WORLD — INCLUDING THOSE IN GOVERNMENT. THE HOUSE AG COMMITTEE MET RECENTLY TO EXAMINE A FUNDAMENTAL ASPECT OF THE AMERICAN FARM ECONOMY — FARM CREDIT. HERE’S PETER TUBBS. PKG MULTIPLE YEARS OF AGRICULTURAL LOSSES STRESSED FARM BALANCE SHEETS, BUT HAVE BEEN SLOW TO INJURE THE FARM CREDIT SYSTEM AS A WHOLE. GLEN SMITH, CEO OF THE FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION, TESTIFIED BEFORE THE HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE THIS WEEK THAT WHILE THE ABSOLUTE NUMBER OF FARM BANKRUPTCIES IS STILL SMALL, THERE IS CONCERN IN THEIR GROWTH. GLEN SMITH, CEO, FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION: “You’ve heard of foreclosures being up, percentage wise, and percentages, the numbers aren’t alarming, but the percentage increases are. Foreclosure should be a last resort.” WHEN ASKED IF THE CURRENT FINANCIAL CRISIS ON THE FARM IS SIMILAR TO THE SITUATION IN THE 1980s, SMITH SEES PARALLELS TO THAT DIFFICULT DECADE. GLEN SMITH: “Which part of the 80s? When we got to the mid-80s and the late 80s, we were in a crisis situation. But I made the comment that I think we’re at a level that’s comparable to the early 80s. Decreasing farm incomes, decreasing margins, eroding current ratios. And at that time in the Midwest, we’d lost 15-20 percent of our land values. Guess what? Today we’ve lost 15- 20 percent of our land values in the Midwest. The late 70s and early 80s were typified by trade wars, right? At that time it was the Soviet Union with the grain embargo. So I think we’ve learned from the 80s.” FARMERS HAVE TAKEN ON AN ADDITIONAL $41 BILLION IN FARM DEBT IN THE LAST 3 YEARS, MATCHING A RECORD HIGH SET IN THE LATE 1970s. DESPITE A TREND OF LOW FARM NET INCOME, LOW INTEREST RATES HAVE ALLOWED PRODUCERS TO STAY CURRENT ON LOANS. THE PERCENTAGE OF DELINQUENT AGRICULTURAL LOANS ROSE IN THE SECOND QUARTER OF 2019 FROM 1.7 TO 1.9 PERCENT, A RATE TWO AND A HALF TIMES HIGHER THAN THEIR LOW IN 2014. THE DELINQUENCY RATE FOR FARM LOANS IN 1987 WAS OVER 8 PERCENT. WHILE CURRENT CONDITIONS PALE TO THOSE OF 30 YEARS AGO, THE FCA STILL SEES A CREEP OF DETERIORATING FINANCIAL QUALITY IN RURAL AMERICA. MIKE MIKE YET ANOTHER CASUALTY OF THE ETHANOL WARS. PROJECT LIBERTY — ONE THE NATION’S LARGEST ETHANOL COMPANIES — HAS ANNOUNCED IT WILL STOP PRODUCTION — AT LEAST FOR NOW — AND WILL FOCUS ON R&D. THE REASON? CHALLENGES WITH THE WAY THE EPA IS HANDLING THE RFS — THE RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD. ONE OUTSPOKEN LAWMAKER MADE CLEAR HIS THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT. HERE’S PAUL YEAGER. PKG DURING THE FINAL DAYS OF THE BIOFUELS POLICY COMMENT PERIOD BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, IOWA SENATOR CHARLES GRASSLEY AIRED HIS THOUGHTS ON THE PROPOSAL DIRECTLY TO THE EPA FROM THE OVAL OFFICE. SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, R- IOWA: “I expect to be carried out what we agreed to in the Oval Office on September the 12th. He can adjust his rules, according to the public comment, and I hope he gets thousands of farmers in Iowa and biofuel people and anybody else that wants to comment that we expect September 12 agreement in the Oval Office to be carried out in spirit as well as in word in the new regulation going out.” GRASSLEY SAYS THE PRESIDENT ECHOED THE SUPPORT FOR BIOFUELS TO EPA ADMINISTRATOR ANDREW WHEELER. SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, R- IOWA: “I had a chance to tell him that EPA’s had trouble even before he became director under Pruitt, and then under the EPA directors of the Obama administration, that they don’t have credibility with the farmers because they think they’re tools of Big Oil, and that’s what the suspicion is behind this. So even though Wheeler and the president are very sincere, that they’re going to deliver the 15 billion gallons the law requires instead of cut back by refinery waivers, they’ve got to write their rules that say exactly that. And they haven’t done that.” MIKE A SIDE NOTE… A FEW DAYS AGO, WYOMING SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO — WHO VOICED OPPOSITION TO THE RFS REALLOCATION PLAN WHEN IT WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED IN SEPTEMBER — WROTE -THIS- LETTER TO EPA ADMINISTRATOR ANDREW WHEELER. BARRASSO IS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS — AND HE’S A STRONG SUPPORTER OF WHEELER. VO IN THE LETTER, THOUGH, HE QUESTIONS THE LOGIC BEHIND THE PLAN — AND WRITES… “…IF REALLOCATION IS LIKELY TO SEND MORE SMALL REFINERIES INTO FINANCIAL HARDSHIP, EPA HAS NO REASONED BASIS FOR REDUCING RELIEF TO SMALL REFINERIES, LET ALONE PREJUDGING THEIR PETITIONS. IN THE END, I CAN’T HELP BUT VIEW EPA’S RECENT PROPOSAL NOT ONLY AS ILLEGAL AND ARBITRARY, BUT INCOHERENT AND WITHOUT ANY LEGITIMATE PURPOSE. THE AGENCY SHOULD SCRAP IT IN ITS ENTIRETY.” MIKE MIKE IN THE FARMWEEK NEWSWIRE, LAWMAKERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE STILL PUSHING HARD TO GET THE USMCA RATIFIED. OVER A YEAR AGO, THE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCED A DEAL IN PRINCIPLE WITH OUR TRADE PARTNERS TO THE NORTH AND SOUTH. SINCE THEN, RATIFICATION HAS BEEN STALLED AS THE WHITE HOUSE NEGOTIATED WITH DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION. A FEW DAYS AGO, HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI ANNOUNCED THAT RATIFICATION WAS — QUOTE — -WITHIN RANGE.- TIME IS LIMITED, THOUGH — DECEMBER 12th IS THE LAST DAY THIS YEAR THAT BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE ARE IN SESSION. MIKE A ROMAINE LETTUCE ECOLI OUTBREAK IN SALINAS, CALIFORNIA — ABOUT THREE HOURS SOUTH OF SAN FRANCISCO — HAS WIDENED. THE CDC REPORTS 27 MORE CASES, BRINGING THE TOTAL SO FAR TO 67 IN 19 STATES. THE CDC SAY IT’S STILL INVESTIGATING THE OUTBREAK — AND HASN’T YET NARROWED THAT INVESTIGATION TO A SINGLE SOURCE. IN THE MEANTIME, EXPERTS ARE LOOKING AT WAYS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM — MOST OF THEM RELATED TO CONCENTRATED ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATIONS — OR CAFOS. MIKE THREE FOOD COMPANIES ARE PARTNERING ON A CAMPAIGN TO INFLUENCE CONGRESS TO DO -SOMETHING- ABOUT SO-CALLED -LUNCH SHAMING.- THE SENATE AG COMMITTEE HAS BEEN WORKING ON THE -ANTI-LUNCH SHAMING ACT OF 2019- — MEANT TO KEEP KIDS FROM BEING STIGMATIZED WHEN THEIR PARENTS CAN’T PAY FOR THEIR SCHOOL LUNCHES. THE ANTI-SHAMING ACT HAS BEEN ENDORSED BY YOGURT COMPANY CHOBANI, AND TWO OTHER COMPANIES. NO WORD JUST YET ON WHEN THE CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF. MIKE A FEW WEEKS AGO, WE TOLD YOU THE USDA WOULD START DOLING OUT MONEY FOR RURAL BROADBAND PROGRAMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. NOW, THREE STATES ARE GETTING CHRISTMAS A LITTLE EARLY — WITH NEARLY $30 MILLION HEADED TO COUNTIES IN OREGON, WYOMING, AND ALASKA. THE FUNDS WILL GO FOR BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS, ALL PART OF THE USDA’S -RECONNECT- PROGRAM — A $600 MILLION PIE. MORE -RECONNECT- INVESTMENTS ARE EXPECTED SOON, ALL OF THEM UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE PRESIDENT’S TASK FORCE ON AGRICULTURE AND RURAL PROSPERITY. MIKE AND FINALLY IN OUR NEWSWIRE, HOW’D YOU LIKE TO PAY $85 FOR A BOTTLE OF SOY SAUCE? THAT’S WHAT THE WALL STREET JOURNAL IS SAYING SOME CUSTOMERS WILL GLADLY PAY FOR 24 OUNCES OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY SOY SAUCE MONEY CAN BUY — SOME OF IT AGED IN WOODEN BARRELS FOR 39 YEARS, AND STORED ON A REMOTE JAPANESE ISLAND. APPARENTLY THE PREMIUM VERSION IS CATCHING ON, THE JOURNAL SAYS. CUSTOMERS ARE GRABBING THE UPSCALE CONDIMENT FOR FOOD RECIPES — AND MANY ARE BAR OWNERS, USING IT IN HIGH-PRICED DRINKS. WHO KNOWS — MAYBE WE CAN REVIEW IT HERE ON FARMWEEK. FARMWEEK. MIKE WHAT WOULD A GARDENING SEGMENT A FEW WEEKS BEFORE CHRISTMAS BE WITHOUT A STORY ABOUT POINSETTIAS? IT’S A HOLIDAY FAVORITE, OF COURSE — AND IF YOU HAVEN’T STARTED DECORATING YET, NOW’S THE TIME TO -GET- STARTED , WITH A LITTLE INSIGHT FROM SOUTHERN GARDENING’S GARY BACHMAN. AND BY THE WAY, DESPITE THE POPULAR MISCONCEPTION, POINSETTIAS ARE -NOT- POISONOUS — AND THEY -DO- MAKE GREAT GIFTS. HERE’S GARY. PKG DR. GARY BACHMAN: “It’s time to start decorating for Christmas like they’re doing at the Designers Gallery in Starkville. For me it’s just not Christmas without some holiday plants. C’mon let me show why poinsettia is one of my favorites.” TRADITIONALLY, RED POINSETTIAS ARE THE FIRST CHOICE OF MANY HOLIDAY GARDENERS. PRESTIGE RED IS A SOLID CHOICE WITH DARK GREEN FOLIAGE, PROVIDING THE BACKGROUND TO DISPLAY ITS BRILLIANT RED COLOR. THERE IS ALSO A WHITE PRESTIGE. I LIKE PRESTIGE POINSETTIAS BECAUSE THEY ARE COMPACT GROWING PLANTS WITH GOOD BRANCHING HABITS. COLORS ALSO INCLUDE PINK SELECTIONS. THERE ARE EVEN BI- COLORS AND ONE OF MY FAVORITES IS ICE PUNCH WITH ITS STRIKING RED COLOR AND WHITE CENTERS. NOW I NEED TO POINT OUT THAT THE COLORFUL “FLOWERS” THAT WE LOVE SO MUCH ARE NOT FLOWERS AT ALL. THEY ARE ACTUALLY MODIFIED LEAVES CALLED BRACTS. A QUESTION I GET THIS TIME OF YEAR IS: ARE POINSETTIAS POISONOUS? DON’T WORRY POINSETTIAS ARE NOT POISONOUS, TO YOU, AND ACCORDING TO THE ASPCA, NOR TO YOUR PETS. HOWEVER, YOU SHOULD WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER HANDLING YOUR POINSETTIAS AS THE MILKY SAP MAY IRRITATE THE SKIN. WHATEVER COLOR OR COLORS YOU CHOOSE HERE’S A TIP FOR CHOOSING THE PERFECT POINSETTIA. ALWAYS CONSIDER FORM AND PROPORTION OF THE PLANT WITH THE CONTAINER. A GOOD RULE IS THE PLANT BEING 2 ½ TIMES TALLER THAN THE DIAMETER OF THE CONTAINER. DR. GARY BACHMAN: “Be sure to visit your local garden center early for the best Christmas selections. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.” WE’LL TAKE A BREAK RIGHT HERE, BUT DON’T GO AWAY. COMING UP ON OUR FARMWEEK FEATURE… VO …ITS NOT LIKE TOP GUN2 COMING UP IN 2020, BUT THEY’RE STILL BUZZING THE HEARTLAND. DESPITE THE INCREASED USE OF DRONES, CROPDUSTING PILOTS ARE -STILL- A MAJOR AIR -FORCE- IN AGRICULTURE. -THESE GUYS- WON’T BE FLYING OFF INTO THE SUNSET ANYTIME SOON. TOP OFF YOUR TANKS. WE’RE SHOVIN’ INTO OVERDRIVE WITH A FORMER GI NOW FLYING THE FRIENDLY SKIES OVER IOWA. THAT’S COMING UP ON FARMWEEK. DON’T GO AWAY. DAK PRESCOTT: “Cancer is Cancer. And just to watch a family member go through cancer, go through the suffering, is as hard as it gets. When my mom was sick, we’d text every day. I’d ask her things like, ‘How are you doing? How are you feeling?’ And I’ll never forget, she said one day, ‘I wish I didn’t hurt today.’ Cancer took my Mom in 2013. They didn’t take her soul. They didn’t take her spirit. And so she’s always going to be with me. Get screened. It’s the right thing to do. Stop it before it happens. Catch it early. Do it for yourself, and do it for your loved one around you.” around you.” MIKE BEFORE WE GET BACK TO THE SHOW, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE FARMWEEK CALENDAR… JUST ONE ITEM THIS WEEK — A SPECIAL TRAINING WORKSHOP ON PRODUCE SAFETY — 10am TO 230pm ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13TH AT MYNELLE GARDENS IN JACKSON. THIS TRAINING IS FOR AG PROFESSIONALS, EDUCATORS, SERVICE PROVIDERS, AND FRUIT & VEGETABLE GROWERS. PARTICIPANTS WILL LEARN ABOUT PRODUCE SAFETY, THE FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT, AND GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES. TOPICS INCLUDE WORKER HEALTH, HYGIENE, AND TRAINING — AGRICULTURAL, PRODUCTION, AND POST HARVEST WATER; POST HARVEST HANDLING AND SANITATION, SOIL AMENDMENTS — AND MUCH MORE. A FREE LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED, AND THERE IS NO COST TO ATTEND, BUT PRE- REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. TO REGISTER, SEND AN EMAIL TO -ALLIANCE OF SUSTAINABLE FARMS AT GMAIL DOT COM.- AND IF YOU DO HAVE QUESTIONS, CALL KEITH BENSON AT 601-988-4999. NOW, CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S FARMWEEK SNAPSHOT. — SHOW BBB— Southern Gardening.” MIKE IN THE CORN MARKETS, THINGS A BIT HAZY WHERE HARVEST NUMBERS ARE CONCERNED — THOUGH, AS ANALYST ELAINE KUB SAYS, WE’LL KNOW MORE ABOUT THAT VERY SOON. GENERALLY, MOST BELIEVE WHAT DIDN’T HAPPEN IN THE PREVENT PLANT OF 2019 -WILL- HAPPEN IN 2020, THOUGH, FOR NOW, A LOWER SUPPLY HAS AN IMPACT ON PRICES. HERE’S ELAINE. ELAINE KUB, ANALYST: “…The cash market is reflecting the fundamental bullishness of these supply problems. So the latest crop progress report said that 70% of North Dakota’s corn wasn’t even harvested yet. Nationwide, this all calculates to approximately over 2 billion bushels of corn that still wasn’t harvested as of last weekend. And a lot of that will have been harvested in these few nice days that folks have had — but a lot of it won’t because in North Dakota, for instance, folks might be waiting for the ground to actually freeze before they can get to the really wet areas. So a lot of this is still going to be waiting. And by the time the USDA goes and resurveys people in the first two weeks of December, there’s still going to be unharvested grain that we won’t have yield numbers for — and there still will be incredible uncertainty about what is actually there.” MIKE FOR LONGER THAN MANY CARE TO REMEMBER, WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. BUT WHAT’S -NEW- IS THAT AGRICULTURE IS A BIGGER PART OF THE CONVERSATION. RECENTLY, THE U-N RELEASED A REPORT THAT ONCE AGAIN RAISED EYEBROWS. IT SAYS, AS IT HAS BEFORE, THAT EMISSION NUMBERS — AND THE WORLD TEMPERATURE — ARE STILL RISING. PETER TUBBS HAS MORE. PKG THREE OF THE MAIN HEAT- TRAPPING GASSES EMITTED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE AGAIN HIT A HIGH ACCORDING TO THE WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION’S LATEST REPORT. THE WMO GAS BULLETIN SAID LEVELS OF CARBON DIOXIDE, METHANE AND NITROUS OXIDE HAVE RISEN 43% SINCE 1990. THE GROUP SAID THE WORLD’S WORK ON REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS ARE PROCEEDING TOO SLOWLY TO PREVENT LARGE SHIFTS IN THE WORLD’S CLIMATE. THE REPORT DETAILED GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS HAVE INCREASED 1.5% IN EACH OF THE LAST 10 YEARS — WITH LITTLE SIGN OF ABATEMENT ON THE HORIZON. EACH YEAR OF INCREASES MEANS STEEPER CUTS WILL BE NEEDED IN THE FUTURE TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE ATMOSPHERE LATER IN THE CENTURY. PETTERI TAALAS, SECRETARY- GENERAL OF THE WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION WMO : “We have again broken records in carbon dioxide concentrations and we have already exceeded 400ppm level which was regarded as a critical level. That happened already two years ago and this growth of carbon dioxide concentration continues and last year’s increase was about the same as we have been observing in the past ten years, as an average.” THE ENERGY SECTOR IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, AND A TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY HAS THE LARGEST POTENTIAL FOR REDUCING THOSE EMISSIONS. PETTERI TAALAS: “At the moment we produce 85 per cent of the global energy based on fossil ones — coal, oil and gas — which are shown here, and only 15 per cent based on nuclear, hydro and renewables. And to be successful in the implementation of the Paris Agreement we should revert those numbers in the coming decades.” THEN-U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SIGNED THE PARIS AGREEMENT IN 2016 ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: “The United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.” EARLY IN HIS ADMINISTRATION, PRESIDENT TRUMP ANNOUNCED THE U.S WOULD BE PULLING OUT OF THE VOLUNTARY PACT. THIS MONTH, THE WHITE HOUSE BEGAN THE FORMAL PROCESS TO LEAVE THE AGREEMENT AIMED AT REDUCING THE COLLECTIVE EMISSION OF GREENHOUSE GASES AND LIMITING THE RISE IN GLOBAL TEMPERATURES TO 2.7 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT COMPARED TO PRE- INDUSTRIAL TIMES. THE AGREEMENT CARRIES NO ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM. REACHING A LESS AMBITIOUS TARGET OF A 3.6 DEGREE RISE WOULD REQUIRE AN ANNUAL REDUCTION OF EMISSIONS OF 2.7% EACH YEAR BETWEEN 2020 AND 2030 ACCORDING TO THE WMO. CURRENT ESTIMATES SEE A CLIMATE ALMOST 6 DEGREES WARMER IN 2100 THAN THE 19TH-CENTURY WORLD AVERAGE, WITH DRAMATIC CONSEQUENCES FOR LIFE ON EARTH. PETTERI TAALAS: “Governments nowadays understand that this is a challenge, and what is good news is that the visibility of these issues is at its highest ever. And the good news is also that the private sector is more and more interested in finding solutions.” MIKE IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED THAT MR. TAALAS — FEATURED IN THE STORY YOU JUST WATCHED — WAS DESCRIBED IN THE EPOCH TIMES NEWSPAPER IN SEPTEMBER AS CALLING FOR A CALM, RATIONAL APPROACH TO THE CLIMATE DEBATE. IN THAT SEPTEMBER 8th ARTICLE, HE APPARENTLY DISAGREED WITH THOSE WHO PROMOTE -END OF THE WORLD- SCENARIOS. “IT IS NOT GOING TO BE THE END OF THE WORLD,” HE SAID. “IT IS JUST GOING TO BE MORE CHALLENGING.” CHALLENGING.” MIKE OKAY, READY FOR A GOOD RIDE? AERIAL APPLICATORS, ALSO KNOWN AS CROP DUSTERS ARE STILL FLYING JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE IN AMERICA. ONE AVIATION ASSOCIATION SAYS THERE ARE MORE THAN 1400 PILOTS IN THE U-S, DUSTING MILLIONS OF ACRES OF CROPS WHILE AVOIDING POWER LINES AND WATER TOWERS…AND THE GROUND. HERE’S JOSH BUETTNER WITH THE STORY. PKG JORDAN OMSTEAD/PILOT: “Flying is the ultimate freedom. You leave the ground and all your problems, all your worries, they’re behind you. It’s you and the airplane.” AGRICULTURAL AVIATOR JORDAN OMSTEAD IS ENTERING HIS FIFTH YEAR OF FLYING THE FRIENDLY SKIES OVER HIS HOME STATE OF IOWA. AFTER GRADUATING FROM THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY IN 2006, OMSTEAD SPENT TIME IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ — IN THE MILITARY AND AS A PRIVATE CONTRACTOR — BEFORE COMING HOME TO PURSUE A CHILDHOOD PASSION. JORDAN OMSTEAD/PILOT STARDUST AG AVIATION, LAMONI, IOWA: “I like to tell people I had to get out of the Air Force to start my flying career. My dad was a pilot. I grew up on a farm, so this is the combination of agriculture and aviation, so I get to be a part of all the attributes that I really love.” USDA FIGURES REVEAL THE HAWKEYE STATE, A NATIONAL LEADER IN CORN AND SOYBEAN PRODUCTION, PLANTED OVER 23 MILLION ACRES OF BOTH CROPS, COMBINED, IN 2017 AT A VALUE OF $13.6 BILLION. BUT EVEN ROBUST YIELDS ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO PEST, DISEASE AND FERTILITY PRESSURES, WHICH, IF LEFT UNCHECKED, CAN NEGATIVELY IMPACT FARM REVENUES. THAT’S WHERE PILOTS LIKE OMSTEAD SOAR INTO THE PICTURE. JORDAN OMSTEAD/PILOT: “The vast majority of what we do is insecticide and fungicide.” AERIAL APPLICATION, OR CROP DUSTING, BEGAN NEARLY A CENTURY AGO IN THE U.S., AND OVER TIME HAS REAPED THE BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT LIKE OTHER WINGS OF AGRICULTURE. SEVERAL TYPES OF GROWERS AND RANCHERS EMPLOY THE METHOD, ALONG WITH HERBICIDES, DRY FERTILIZERS AND COVER CROP SEEDING. ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL AVIATION ASSOCIATION, A WASHINGTON, D.C. BASED INDUSTRY ADVOCATE, NATIONALLY 71 MILLION ACRES OF CROPLAND ACROSS THE NATION ARE TREATED FROM ABOVE EVERY YEAR, IN ADDITION TO MILLIONS OF ACRES OF PASTURE AND RANGELAND. IN IOWA, THAT AMOUNTS TO A MORE THAN $214 MILLION ANNUAL INDUSTRY WITH THE MIX APPLIED TO AROUND FIVE MILLION ACRES – AS ESTIMATED BY THE IOWA AGRICULTURAL AVIATION ASSOCIATION. CLIFF CROWL/OWNER STARDUST AG AVIATION: “We actually put it on better than a ground rig. Because a ground rig, they’ll go out there in winds that we don’t work in.” CLIFF CROWL OWNS STARDUST AG AVIATION. HE TAUGHT OMSTEAD THE TRADE BEFORE HIRING HIM AS A SUBCONTRACTOR, AND WILL ONE DAY PASS THE BUSINESS DOWN TO HIM. CROWL, A NAVY VETERAN, LAUNCHED HIS CAREER IN CROP DUSTING OVER 20 YEARS AGO LANDING IN IOWA BY CHANCE. CLIFF CROWL: “When I got out of the military I had a buddy who lived here. So I flipped a coin and said Des Moines, Iowa or Little Rock…we went heads so we went with Des Moines.” THOUGH GROUND APPLICATORS MIGHT HAVE A DIFFERENT TAKE ON BEST METHODS, CROWL SAYS DILIGENCE IS PARAMOUNT TO IRONING OUT ANY SHORTCOMINGS. CLIFF CROWL: “We do have some drift problems, but we are working with those and dealing with those constantly as far as the safety aspect of it. I think the airplane does a better job and is a safer way of applying it.” CRITICS CHARGE ALL MANNER OF SPRAY APPLICATIONS ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO CONTAMINATION AND RUNOFF WHICH CAN THREATEN THE ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN HEALTH. BUT AERIAL PROPONENTS POINT OUT ALL OF THEIR LIQUID PESTICIDES ARE APPROVED BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, AND SAY THEY EMPLOY PRECISION TECHNIQUES. JORDAN OMSTEAD/PILOT: “Without getting into a lot of aerodynamics, just the forces coming off this wing are pushing the air behind the airplane down into the crops. And the way we’ve got the booms positioned, they’re releasing that chemical into that air. So it forces it down with it. That said, the closer we are to the crops, the less fall time there is for that chemical to evaporate. So we get as close as we can, safely.” OMSTEAD REFERENCES THE MYRIAD SAFETY PRECAUTIONS EMPHASIZED BY THE INDUSTRY AND HIS MENTOR, LIKE PREFLIGHT ANALYSIS, ANNUAL INSPECTIONS, AND SCOUTING FIELDS FOR PEOPLE, OBSTACLES, AND OTHER HAZARDS. MARK HANNA/IOWA STATE EXTENSION: “Safety is always an issue, just like with ground based application that type of thing. We want to make sure we are doing it correctly and well.” RECENTLY RETIRED IOWA STATE EXTENSION AGRICULTURAL ENGINEER MARK HANNA EMPHASIZES THE LAND GRANT UNIVERSITY’S OUTREACH EFFORTS TO LOCAL FLIGHT CREWS, WHILE NATIONAL TRAINING TO CALIBRATE EQUIPMENT ALSO TAKES PLACE AHEAD OF FLIGHT SEASON. MARK HANNA: “We spend a fair bit of time every year working with aerial applicators, doing a good patternation check off their aircraft – making sure that we’ve got some good uniform application. Make sure we don’t have some of the things that might cause some off-target movement or drift on that aircraft.” OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, STARDUST AG AVIATION HAS SEEN A STEADY RISE IN CUSTOMERS SEEKING AERIAL COVER CROP SEEDING. RELEASED AT A HIGHER ALTITUDE THAN SPRAY LIQUIDS, THE BOOM ACCOUNTED FOR OVER 10 PERCENT OF THE COMPANY’S BUSINESS IN 2017. THAT’S GOOD NEWS FOR IOWA, WHICH IS HIGHLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO RUNOFF. MARK HANNA: “Cover crop has some distinct advantages, particularly for water quality. It helps keep the soil in place, but another thing it does is it uses nutrients down in the soil, and particularly nitrates.” SOME SEE GROWTH AREAS FOR CONSERVATION AND PRECISION AGRICULTURE AS FOOD PRODUCTION INCREASES TO SERVE A GROWING GLOBAL POPULATION. GOING FORWARD, HANNA SAYS IT’S POSSIBLE THE INDUSTRY COULD BENEFIT FROM UNMANNED SYSTEMS WORKING IN TANDEM WITH PILOTS. BUT FOR OMSTEAD, IT’S EASY ENOUGH NOW TO USE AN IPHONE TO MAP ROUTES TO HIS CUSTOMERS’ FIELDS, AND LISTEN TO HIS FAVORITE PLAYLISTS ALL DAY LONG. JORDAN OMSTEAD/PILOT: “It depends on…kind of the day and my mood. Sometimes there’s some classic rock in there, sometimes there’s some Beethoven…just a little bit of everything.” music MIKE TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE. GOTTA LOVE IT. WELL NEXT WEEK, SOMETHING PERFECT FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR… VO ……BEFORE YOU CAN DECORATE IT, LIGHT IT UP, OR STASH PRESENTS UNDER IT, YOU’VE GOT TO -FIND- YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE! JUST IN TIME FOR THE BIG DAY, ZAC ASHMORE GOES -OFF THE HIGHWAY- AT A CHRISTMAS TREE FARM IN AMORY, MISSISSIPPI AND BOY ARE THOSE BEAUTIES WORTHY! GO BEHIND THE SCENES WHERE TRADITIONS ARE BORN AND THE FIRS, SPRUCES, AND PINES GROW TALL — HOLIDAY STORIES DON’T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS ONE THAT’S NEXT TIME ON FARMWEEK. MIKE REMEMBER IF YOU MISSED A STORY, LOOK FOR PAST EPISODES OF FARMWEEK ON OUR WEBSITE AT FARMWEEK DOT TV. AND DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND YOUTUBE AS WELL. WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK. THANKS FOR WATCHING. — Cut-IN AAA— WE’LL TAKE A