One of the fun aspects of covering events and programs for
Illinois AgriNews is the variety of locations that are used for them. Last week
it meant a large tent on a family farm in east-central Iowa.
Willimack Family Farms graciously allowed several hundred
farmers visit its farmstead for Corn Strategies 2013 organized by Wyffels
Located on a gravel road, the fifth generation of the family
now is involved in the operation. It is run by Gary Willimack and his sons,
Brent, Jayson, Matt and Scott.
In addition to raising corn and soybeans, the operation also
includes a trucking company, and the farmers have been planting Wyffels hybrids
for almost 10 years.
Bill Wyffels, president of Wyffels Hybrids, noted that his
company enjoys working with other family businesses, which have common goals.
The business was started by Bill’s parents when his father
used his entrepreneurial skills to develop seed oat varieties that featured
improved stands. This evolved into the breeding of hybrid corn.
Through the years, Wyffels Hybrids has taken a path of
entrepreneurship and independence.
“We think that makes us significantly different to work
with,” Wyffels said.
“Our organization wants to be the No. 1 spot on your
quick-call list on your phone,” the company president stressed. “We want to be
there to support you, we want to be your No. 1 choice and you can only find that
out by working with our brand.”
Corn Strategies featured several interesting speakers,
including Jim Wiesemeyer, the senior vice president of farm and trade policy for
Informa Economics Inc. His presentation covered a wide variety of topics,
including an update of current events in our nation’s capitol, as well as
economic, energy, trade and farm policy issues.
The policy specialist has been following Washington events
for the past 36 years, and he highlighted the degree of dysfunction that
currently exists with those involved in the political process.
“What’s wrong with Washington is if they don’t get
everything they want, they vote no,” he reported.
Wiesemeyer noted that the last two presidents have been
presidents of their political party.
“Eventually we will find a Reagan again who was a president
for the whole country,” he said.
In regards to the world economic growth, Wiesemeyer said,
500 million Asians today have middle-class living standards.
“By 2020, that explodes to 1.75 billion people,” he
For centuries, less than 1 percent of world’s population had
income to spend beyond their basic needs.
“By 1990, those earning more than $10 per day were 1 billion
out of the 5 billion world population,” Wiesemeyer reported. “By 2010, that
number increased to 2.4 billion, and by 2025, over 4 billion of the 7.9 billion
world population will be at that level. That’s why we need the technology and
hybrid seeds to meet this demand and stay competitive.”
His presentation included a lot of points for farmers to
think about on the national and global level. And what a neat venue — an
air-conditioned tent erected along the edge of a farmstead that the family
obviously takes great pride in caring for.
Wyffels is planning Corn Strategies 2014 on an Illinois
farm. I bet it will feature another great program.