Young farmers have a chance to expand their knowledge about how to effectively communicate with consumers while learning how to think outside the box when they participate in the Kansas Corn Corps.
The Corn Corps program is set up in three sessions, plus a domestic trip during the summer.
Applications to be part of Class 3 are now open, and those who want to participate need to sign up by Sept. 30. Applications can be found at kscorn.com.
Corn Corps Class 2’s recently completed domestic trip gave participants the opportunity to experience production agriculture and affiliated industry in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The purpose of the trip is to help young farmers experience and learn about various agricultural industry businesses outside of Kansas.
Within the three sections, the objective is to help young farmers learn how they fit into their farm and how they progress as individuals. They can also discover how their farm fits into the industry, and what opportunities and hurdles corn growers face in the industry along with how the industry as a whole makes progress.
Corn Corps Class 2 toured many different agricultural companies and farm operations on their domestic trip. The first stop was in Chicago, where they toured Lakeview Energy and talked with CEO and Director Jim Galvin. The next stop was at Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Ind., where they learned about ways to advocate for agriculture while touring their dairy and swine operation.
"We have learned how to effectively say the right things to consumers, and Fair Oak Farms is a great example of how to do that, they did a really good job," says Hayden Guetterman, Bucyrus.
The second day involved a visit to Farm Journal and the Ag Day TV set in South Bend, Ind., Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, Mich., then to Victory Farms in Hudsonville, Mich., where they learned about production hurdles of other markets, the importance of media and why it is important to tell their story.
The final day started out at Carbon Green Bio-Energy ethanol plant, where they learned about the plant's approach on expanding retail sales of higher ethanol blends throughout Michigan. They visited Brookside Farms, where they learned about blueberry farming from a third-generation farmer and the marketer who markets produce for their cooperative member. The last stop of the trip was at Fenn Valley Winery and Vineyards in Fennville, Mich., where they learned about the history of the farm and why the western part of Michigan is an ideal grape growing region.
Throughout the tour, these young farmers were able to get a better understanding of how they fit into the larger production picture while gaining knowledge on how to effectively have a conversation with consumers.
Kansas Corn Corps Class 2 members are: David and Alicia Allen, Smith Cattle Company, Sharon Springs; Ben Bellar, Bellar Farm Inc., Howard; Hayden Guetterman, Guetterman Brothers Family Farms, Bucyrus; Garrett and Arissa Kennedy, Knopf Farms/ Tri-Valley Seed & Services, Gypsum; Sarah Ellison, Marquette; Kyler Millershaski, MK Farms, Lakin; Ryan Niehues, Niehues Farm, Goff; and Chris Ostmeyer, Ostmeyer Family Farms, Park City.
"Networking and learning has opened my eyes to see all of the opportunities in agriculture, and to actually be able to see it firsthand has helped to sink in that knowledge even further," says Garrett Kennedy.
Kansas Corn Corps is a program of the Kansas Corn Commission and Kansas Corn Growers Association. Applicants can be between ages 21- 45; can be either individuals or couples; and need to be a KCGA member. Apply online at kscorn.com/corncorps.
Source: Kansas Corn Commission