November 2, 2016

Home Run Heroes

Photo Credit: Flickr
Since we are in the midst of the World Series competition, we thought it would be fun to compare baseball and corn farming. 

A corn growing season is similar to a baseball game: in the end, everyone wants a home run!

Weather, yields, and commodity prices are unpredictable factors that corn farmers play against year after year. Predicting these factors and outlining a strategy to compete with these volatile factors during the "game" are the steps a corn farmer takes for a chance at a profitable growing season or a “home run” year.

To be successful, a baseball team needs multiple players, with diverse talents but one common goal. The same is true in the corn growing season. The "corn team" is made up of corn growers, seed/chemical companies, grain elevators, ethanol plants, livestock producers, food companies, international trade partners and more. These players are different but all have an essential role on the “team.”

Government and the current policy "umpire" the game, influencing how the crop is grown, where it is exported and how it's used. While sometimes they get in the way, they ultimately are there to keep it fair.

Markets are volatile and act as the "pitcher." Throws can be fast or slow, unsuspected or predicted. No matter what, we as corn team can't control the pitcher so we hit what we can. 

The grain merchandisers act as "catchers," trying to catch what the markets throw and providing everyone else a heads up.

The National Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, and Nebraska Corn Board roles are to serve as the fans. At times, cheering or booing, but always providing insight, educating, and tirelessly promoting the great things their team can do. Being a fan has its challenges, but is not impossible. The fans have passion for their team and passion for the game.  Even when times are hard, they will be there to show their support.

But who's coaching?

The corn farmers are playing multiple roles: they are playing and coaching. Each game- or growing season- corn farmers try to incorporate strategy, react to events of the game, throw out signals and keep the morale up even when it doesn't go their way.

What's more American than baseball and corn farmers? Not a lot. But when it comes down to it, we all just want a home run.

How do we get a home run? Keep coaching. Keep playing. Keep growing. 

Blog submitted by Toni Rasmussen, an attendee of Nebraska Corn Board's Corn Congress Leadership Mission.

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