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 Hybrids Inc.

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 predicted.

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.