Ryan Jenkins and Reid Thompson may farm in the same time zone, but that's where the similarities in their farming operations end. What brings them together is they are both participating in "View From the Cab," a Progressive Farmer and DTN project.
Throughout the 2020 growing season, Jenkins, based in Jay, Florida, and Thompson, Colfax, Illinois, will discuss crop conditions, agronomic concepts and general farm life. Find a snapshot of their operations below, and follow their weekly reports at www.dtnpf.com.
Ryan Jenkins farms in the temperamental Florida Panhandle with a few fields crossing the Alabama state line. Managing just shy of 1900 acres, he raises mostly cotton and peanuts, and mixes in a few acres of corn and soybeans. He also plants wheat and oats in fall as a cover crop to be harvested the next spring for seed.
Drought conditions plagued planting this spring, and hurricanes routinely stir up weather uncertainty during summer months. Hot, humid conditions make this region a hotbed for crop diseases.
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Jenkins grew up dreaming of being a farmer. Early in his career, he combined farming a small family acreage with careers as a crop duster then a paramedic on a medical helicopter. He started increasing acres in 1995 and made the choice in 2014 to farm full time with his father, Rennie, joining as a partner.
On-farm testing of inputs, adapting new farming technology and telling agriculture's story are passions. Subscribe and follow his YouTube videos on crop production at bit.ly/2yVQ1as.
His wife, Debra, works in the nursing profession. Their sons, Cole and Chase, now help on the farm between college and high school commitments.
Reid Thompson left an off-farm job as a farm manager to return home to farm full time in 2019. He's also a licensed real estate agent and auctioneer.
Together with father, Gerald, the combined Thompson Farms encompasses 3,400 acres spread across 45 miles and McLean and Ford counties. They have individual land holdings and rental acreage, and each owns equipment, but there are shared leases, too.
Thompson's focus has been to trim expenses and streamline operations. Transitioning to no-till soybean production and a strip-till corn system has helped reduce passes and machinery.
Building liquid nitrogen storage and a chemical-mixing shed is allowing them to buy wholesale inputs and avoid custom-application charges. In 2020, the farm plan is to upgrade the grain-storage system. Seed-production contracts with major brands and custom work for some local farmers also provide additional income streams.
The value of tile was evident this spring as large rain events consistently found their flat, highly productive soils during planting.
Thompson's wife, Heather, is the manager of digital communications for Growmark, and they have two sons, Abe and Hank. Read more about their farm at thompsonfamilyfarm.org.
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