Corn Farmers Coalition

Adopt New Technology, But Don’t Forget the Lobbying

William “Sparky” Crossman (Mount Holly, Virginia)

William “Sparky” Crossman no longer tills the soil of Laurel Springs Farms in Mount Holly, in northeastern Virginia, and hasn’t for a decade.

Thanks to new technology, he doesn’t need to. That means he saves money on fuel and fertilizer, since his combine makes fewer trips across his fields and always plants the seeds and fertilizer with an inch of where he wants them thanks to a global positioning system in the cab of the combine.

Not bad for a 62-year-old, fifth-generation farmer who has farmed all his life. He grows 1,000 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans, a relatively small operation for Virginia.

Besides adopting new technology, Crossman says, the best thing farmers can do is “to have a strong advocacy voice. Groups like the Virginia Grain Producers Assn. and National Corn Growers Assn. work to keep us farming and profitable. We need to support them any way we can.”

Crossman is very optimistic about the future of farming. He is especially optimistic about the demand for US grains. Promoting and encouraging new markets – such as making ethanol from corn cobs – is the key, he says.

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