Monthly Archives: January 2012

Busy under-describes the amount of activity going on right now.

Finished up hauling my January contracted corn this week.  Glad to have that done…… seems like it took for ever and I guess it did with all the meetings I have had and time away from the place.

Pioneer came and got their seed beans so we spent part of two days loading semis.  The big plus is we got it done before the rains set in!

Progress on the new building has come to a halt with the rain and winds so no new updates or pictures of progress on that front.

Waiting on the last of the planter parts to get here so we can start the rebuild on it.

Waiting on the last of the NH3 parts so we can start the rebuild on the anhydrous tool bar.

We did get the planter monitors back from AgExpress………… that’s good news!

The next few days will be spend trying to catch up on all the paperwork that has piled up between meetings and hauling grain.

All in all, I would rather shovel grain than push papers………..


Last week, as you know by now if you read this blog or follow me on Twitter, I attended the KARTA meeting.  KARTA (Link Here) stands for Kansas Ag Research Technology Association.

KARTA (originally KARA) was organized in May 2000 by a group of innovative Kansas producers, university researchers, and industry members who shared a common desire to learn more about production agriculture and continue to be a part of the leading technological and informational changes taking place on today’s farms

This year was the fifteenth annual conference. It was an applied workshop consolidating information about new and old technologies with a focus on supporting scientifically valid on-farm research efforts and increasing overall farm business profitability.

Topics included precision ag, social media, economics of travel logistics between fields and farms, on farm research, and crop nutrition as well as various presentations by industries on their new, current or trending technologies.

The Thursday night after dinner topic covered land rents and land values.  This particular discussion was led by Dr. Terry Kastens & Dr. Kevin Dhuyvetter.  I would call it the “Bear Pit” of KARTA.  It was a fantastic discussion involving any and all attendees of the meeting.  The topic was batted back and forth and ripped apart…and that was just the three hours or so that I stayed for it!  Very good discussion…….

While the evening session or Bear Pit was my favorite part of the meeting, I must say that I give the entire meeting a “10” as far as meetings go.  It was very well organized, very well attended by producers and industry. It was an open exchange of information. Information was CURRENT, RELEVANT, FORWARD LOOKING and it was HONEST.  It was everything that an agriculture producer meeting should be.

I think so highly of the meeting that I believe we need something like it here in Southern Illinois!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I hate the usual “rubber chicken and roast beef” agriculture meeting circuit here in Illinois.  Well, this wasn’t a rubber chicken meeting by a long shot………in my opinion it very closely resembled, for the production and precision side, what Farm Futures Management Summit is for the economic and business side.

I left there with that good feeling, that positive feeling of knowing that I had been rubbing shoulders with the progressive life long learners of agriculture.  When that happens you know you have been to a good meeting……….yes their world is different than mine here in southern Illinois, but that doesn’t matter.  It’s the mindset I look for.  The mindset of being proactive vs reactive.

KARTA is a great proactive meeting………I highly suggest you attend the 16th meeting if at all possible.


Paul Miller Construction had started on our new shop/office/warehouse.

Lots to do today, will have a write up on KARTA for tomorrow……..


Exhibitor hall at KARTA meeting.  Good crowd of progressive thinkers. Should be a good meeting! 

We had to perform a little surgery on ole Big John.  The oil leak turned out to be a blown pan gasket………..

Not nearly as bad as I had envisioned the problem………and thankful it wasn’t the problem I had feared it was.

 The worst part was getting the parts………which no one had in stock.

Short Sleeves and working ground on Monday……….

This is what it looked like Friday morning………………………….

I got a good question the other day and I thought I would share it with you.

The question was basically that an input supplier was looking for input from a grower on what they thought the future would look like to the grower, and how the input suppliers business fit into that world.  In other words what can we do to keep or get your business in the future?

I like to turn the question around and ask how does the input supplier view the world and how does that view fit into my business plans?  So I think I would ask them these questions to see what their view of the future and my business is:

  1. If you are to be my supplier of choice, what are you going to be doing to insure that you are providing me with inputs at the best cost to insure that we both make a profit?
  2. In these times of great volatility, what are you going to do to insure that you don’t get caught on the wrong side of the swings in input prices and have inventory that we either don’t want, or cant afford, because it puts us at a negative margin?
  3. If early prepay is going to be necessary to lock in the best prices, are you willing to give me letters of credit on my purchases that are still in your inventory?
  4. What is your vision of your company’s future and how does that vision fit with my farms vision and mission statement?
  5. You are my preferred supplier of choice, therefore how can I be you customer of choice to insure your success and make your day to day business life and mine easier?
  6. As farms consolidate what are your plans to equip yourselves to provide more timely service to larger operations and fit into their business plans?

The first three questions will most likely make them uncomfortable. Your asking them to bear their soul and they see those questions as trust questions vs. business questions.  You must trust them if your doing business with them, but how are they relating to you as a business?  Your suppliers have to understand that your trusting them. They also have to understand your a business that needs business assurances not just handshakes.

The last three tell you what they think of you as a customer…………and how you relate to them. Are you an income opportunity or a business partner? I hope they answer in a business partner manner…….if they don’t……red flags should appear because they view you as only an income source,  instead of seeing you as a partner who will succeed when they succeed………..

I think we have to view our suppliers as our partners.  That being said you only want partners who want you to succeed in your business.  To me these questions tell me if they are my partner or just a guy trying to selling me bulk input commodities.

I have enough guys trying to sell me bulk input commodities………………..

Darn it, the ground worked good……..too good.  I have never done tillage in January….until 2012.  But an oil leak will keep me out of the field for a few more days

The tile line has all but quit running.  We are dry.


The Bear Pit tonight at the Farm Futures Management Summit. A massive amount of brain power! 

I had better be on my A game tomorrow when I speak!

Who would have ever thought that on January 4th farmers would be plowing ground in Illinois?

Well, in the southeast part of the state, tractors are running and there is even talk of some spraying starting.

More updates as I get more information.

Whats the difference between free advise and paid advise?

Well the $ for one.

But I have to wonder what some people think when they ask “Can I get a little free advise?”  Do they understand what they are asking?

You never hear anyone say “Can I get some cheap advise?”  or “Can I get some low cost advise?”  or “Can I get some discount advise?”

They want free advise.

I recently overheard a man ask a marketing man for some free advise.  He gave him a short quick answer that sounded very vague to me and ended his comments with “this is worth what you paid for it.

To me that signaled “I didn’t give you anything.

The marketing man then turned around to one of his customers and proceeded to give him a boat load of information, opinion and explanation on what the markets were doing.  I would say that the guy got his moneys worth from what little I heard him explain.

In other words “this is what your paying me for and here is the value“.

Free advise is somehow better than no advise and more desirable than cheap, low cost or discounted advise.

Why do some folks value free advise so highly over paid advise?

Do they not understand that they “get what they pay for?”

I don’t know, I just found this interesting today…………..and thew it up to see if it would stick.

Just some free advise……….

Well, it’s 2012, or something like, that and January is going to start off with a bang so to speak.  A very busy month ahead for Robertson Farms.  First up is the Farm Futures Management Summit followed by the KARTA meeting shortly there- after. Throw in a IEMA meeting, K9SIL meeting and some other training meetings and the bigger part of the month is gone.

In between those meetings I hope we see the start of the new machine shed as well as getting the new (to us) NH3 bar home so we can put the VRT controller on it.  There is a planter to rebuild as well as the backhoe and dozer to work on.  So we need to hit the ground running and not look back.

Plus if the weather allows we need to pull a few soil samples, grain to haul and some scraping to do.

Fun and busy!

If that wasn’t enough……..there’s more!  First thing in the spare time is a revamp of the website.  I have been wanting to a major revamp but have not had the time with all the other stuff going on this fall.  The revamp will coincide with two new business ventures we are going to be entering into here on the farm.  Can’t say much about them right now but I think some folks will be surprised at what we have planned.  These will bring new opportunities for us in agriculture as well as begin to pave the way for the next generation of Robertson’s to enter the the operation.

Hopefully we will be making some announcements in the next 30 days or so……………..

Don’t be alarmed if I miss a day posting this month with all that’s happening.

It looks to be an exciting and busy winter!!!

Current Farm Weather


Did a theme update but some features may not be working correctly, please report any issues I have not found. Thanks!