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UGUIDE @ 2023 Commodity Classic - Orlando

February 26, 2023 by

This will be my first time attending Commodity Classic, America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused, agricultural & educational experience.

My goal in attending is to see if America's farmers are really the original conservationists, as is so often touted by unions and grain association groups.

Last year at Pheasant Fest, I got to network with the folks from Sorghum Checkoff (growers).  I learned a lot.  I asked leaders of the Fest where were Corn Growers and Wheat growers?  They replied, "at Commodity Classic".  Last year those events overlapped on the same week so there was a supposed conflict.  This year there was no conflict and at Pheasant Fest there were "zero" commodity groups represented at the show.

Pheasants thrive when the perfect balance of grains and grass exist on the landscape.  Wouldn't it be great if that same balance of conservation and commodity groups existed at our national shows like Pheasant Fest and Commodity Classic?

Last year (2022) at Commodity Classic, I was pleased to notice that there were two speakers from Pheasants Forever on the docket.  This year, I don't see any.  Why?  Frankly I don't see any representation or presence of any conservation groups at this show.

For decades, when traveling back and forth from our farm in south central South Dakota and our home in Minneapolis MN, I would see a myriad of large billboards with slogans like "Conserving Wetlands, Farmers Do That".  I always wondered how much these ads cost and who was the audience and what was their purpose?

Maybe $7/bushel corn might have something to do with this.  Or possibly, the new SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) goals (ethanol based).

Certainly other hot topics out there are Climate and Carbon, but farmers are experts at monetizing their land production resources, as they should be.  They have to feed their families just like everyone else.

It just seems odd that they're building carbon pipelines, as we speak, that pump CO2 into the ground.  And yet the talk of the town, in meeting these new SAF goals and new crop acres required to fill the load of newly required bushels, is to ask me to tear up my beautiful warm season CRP grass and grow more corn.  I'm told my native warm season grasses are the best thing on the planet for sequestering carbon into the earth from the atmosphere.

CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) acres are at their all time recent low.  The environment reflects it:  more nitrate pollution of shared waters, more sedimentation of the same, as well as recent wind erosion and dust storms that give one a glimpse of the dust bowl days.  See my report here.

You hear a lot about "soil health" and this is very important and making good strides.  By no means is it a replacement for CRP.

After scanning the show floor and exhibitor list, the only standout conservation organization I see exhibiting at Commodity Classic is Ducks Unlimited.  Good for them!

Watch for my "Review" Reports post show!