Corn Farmers Coalition

Knowing Precisely Where You Are Means Big Savings

Ken Davis (Leesburg, Ohio)

Like a growing number of U.S. farmers, Ken Davis uses a global positioning system to put just the right amount of seed and fertilizer on most of his fields. This spring he’ll start using it on the 1,000 acres of corn he farms.

“That will produce more corn without increasing input costs” from chemicals such as fertilizer or herbicides, says Davis, 54, whose farm is outside Leesburg, Ohio, a town of 1,200 or so surrounded by the checkerboard squares of dozens of other family farms.

Four generations of Davises have farmed this land, flat as a table top, going back to 1932. But these days Ken Davis, who has a master’s degree in agriculture, has a leg up: New technology means relentlessly larger yields every year, lower costs, less environment impact.

Ken figures the fields he’s already cultivating using GPS are saving him 10 percent in fuel, seeds and pesticide. He’ll also be doing less tilling of his corn, which saves about 40 percent of the fuel he needs to plant and harvest his crop, disturbs the land less, prevents erosion and keeps greenhouse gases in the soil and out of the air.

“Every year,” Ken says, “corn farmers are proving to the world that we can, and are, producing an abundance of safe, healthy, nutritious food, feed and fuel, and we are doing it while improving the quality of our environment, our communities and our economy.

“Next to our creator and our family, the land is a farmer’s greatest asset. Only by caring for the land can we hope to reap any reward.”

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