Thursday, August 25, 2011

Farm Tour Yesterday Was Wet, But Well Worth It

So we had our big dealer and sales management tour yesterday. It was part of the the big annual Professional Liquid Fertilizer Program for Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers. In all the years of having tours at the NCRS, we have never been completely rained out. But with the rain over the weekend, and then an additional half inch on Tuesday night, we would have to alter the tour. That meant leaving out Farm 7 which has heavier soil and was too muddy. Sadly the field bathrooms would be unused this day.But it wouldn't be a complete downer. On the bright side we got to watch NCRS vegetable donations being loaded onto the Mid-Michigan Food Bank truck. I think we are over 9000 pounds so far, with much more to come.
There is no doubt where these came from. These are the collapsable totes that will be returned later for more. It really is so much better than the boxes that used to be hand loaded.
So we already had a contingency plan in place just in case of rain. So when the tour started late in the afternoon, we were able to get on Farms 3 and 5 and show some interesting plots there. And then to fill the remaining time, we returned to the Farm office shop where we showed some pictures of the Farm 7 tour plots with accompanying Travel Log information. Additionally there were some Liquid fertilizer fun facts and some information on how we do plot research at the farm. I thought it was very enlightening. Hopefully I wasn't the only one.

Because of the large number of farm tourists, about 180 or so, we split into three groups. About 30 to 40 went with Dr. Brian and the Specialty Crop staff, whose tour was not hindered by the rain. The other two groups were divided between Stephanie and myself. Below we see Stephanie talking about one of the corn experiments on Farm 3.

And here I am talking about fertilizer comparisons in Navy Beans. Riveting!

Sadly, I have not gotten pictures from Brian, so those will have to wait. (We had additional meetings today at the hotel site.) The groups had meetings at the hotel in the morning, then went up to tour the new Ashley manufacturing plant in the afternoon, and then came to the farm. So it was a long day for them. (I imagine that Nick will have pictures of the plant tour on his blog.) Away the busses went after the farm festivities drew to a close.

That evening there was a dinner at the Ashley plant for company employees, friends and those vendors who actually built the place. I realized that this was the last day for Jake and Jake, or the Jakes as we call them. They both have worked at the farm in the summer for many years, since they were in high school. Left Jake departs to his Junior year at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia and Right Jake to his Senior year at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. So this might be the end of the Jakes, as far as working at the NCRS. How sad for us. Bye Jakes, and good luck.

So after that dinner, which was really nice and well attended, I headed for home, stopping to take this picture at the NCRS on my way.

So that would be two farm tours down with two to go. Next Tuesday is the tour for real farmers. If you want to attend and can make it to Michigan, give Stephanie a call. It's not too hard to track her down.