June 27, 2022

A Year in the Life of a Farmer: Kindred attends farm bill session

AgriNews has followed the Kindred family throughout the year. This is the last in a series of monthly updates about the family members and the decisions they make on their farm.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — In his role as an Illinois Soybean Association director and vice chairman, Ron Kindred participated in the organization’s farm bill listening session Dec. 14 at its headquarters.

The farm bill, which is the primary driver of federal farm policy, is revisited every five years and the next bill is due to be updated in 2023.

“This was ISA’s first farm bill listening session today and we’re going to have many more,” Kindred said.

Future plans are also to hold joint meetings of ISA, Illinois Corn Growers Association and Illinois Farm Bureau to discuss farm bill issues.

“I think that’s beneficial to all groups so we get feedback from farmers so we’re on the same page as we go forward with policy and have our ‘asks’ be similar as we go forward that way we have a better chance of getting what we really need for farmers in the next farm bill,” Kindred said.

ISA will also take the feedback it has collected from Illinois to the national level and develop policy with American Soybean Association so it becomes a national policy issue.

“That way we can share that with the national corn growers, the wheat growers, the cotton growers, all different commodity groups. We are also working with livestock groups, as well, as we go forward. I’m not sure that in the past livestock has been treated as fairly in these farm programs as grain production has and that’s something we need to look at because they are our No. 1 consumer and we need them to be here in the long-term. So, it’s very important that we have them as a part of it,” Kindred said.

Opportunities

The Atlanta-area farmer is in his second stint as an ISA director having previously served for 13 years until his last term expired in 2013, so developing farm bill policy isn’t his first rodeo.

Kindred looks at developing farm bill policy as not only a challenge, but also an opportunity.

“I think there’s going to be a lot more money thrown toward the conservation title this time with the administration pushing for the electrification of vehicles and climate being at the top of the list along with the carbon impacts. It’s all going to play into the conservation title and trying to figure out how we structure our ‘ask’ along those lines is going to be important going forward so that farmers end up with a program that’s fair and equitable for them,” he said.

Harvest

When AgriNews last caught up with the Kindred family members, they were wrapping up their corn harvest and looking forward to getting into the soybeans. They finished harvesting around Nov. 8.

“We had over two weeks in October where we couldn’t do anything after we got some rains and cool weather. We had finished our corn and were waiting for soybeans to dry down,” Ron Kindred said.

“The later soybeans harvested pretty good. We were surprised, and they did dry down to 12% by the time that we got done. Yields were just slightly above average. The first ones we cut were the best soybeans we had. That’s always disappointing when you have the best ones first and you’re expecting that later on and it kind of goes down hill from there, but still overall it was a good crop and we’ve got good prices.

“We were a little disappointed on the corn side, but we still have enough that we’re going to be in good shape going into next year even though our inputs are going to go up tremendously this next year.”

Looking Ahead

With the sharp spike in input costs leading into the 2022 growing season, Kindred was asked if they were changing any management strategies.

“We kind of kept the same fall nitrogen program that we always do. We did cut back a little on how many units we put on per acre. We’re using some biologicals and nitrogen enhancers so we decided to cut 20 units off and see what the impact of that is going to be,” he said.

“We were able to book some nitrogen early. We got a good price on it. We actually had a supplier call us on a Thursday and he said, ‘Monday it’s going to go up to $1,000 a ton and may go higher.’ So, we got it booked significantly lower than that, but there’s a lot of it we didn’t get locked in either.”

There is some speculation acreage may lean away from corn in 2022 due to the high nitrogen costs. The Kindreds will keep their same rotation as in past years.

“It’s hard once you deviate from that to get back to that rotation again. We’ve been very successful with that rotation so we just kept the same rotation. As you look right now you can forward contract corn for over $5 a bushel for fall and soybeans are a little over $12 per bushel,” Ron Kindred said.

“I think there’s still going to be a battle for acreage and that’s going to go on into March, but for the most part in our area there’s going to be similar acreage on corn and soybeans. I have talked to a farmer or two who say they are going to grow more soybeans next year, but overall I don’t think there will be a huge shift.”

Tom Doran

Tom Doran

Field Editor