What’s your name? Rob Sharkey
I have been a farmer since: I have been farming full time since 1999.
I’ve been a Farm At Hand user since: I just signed up – looks like it’s going to be a great tool.
Where do you farm? Bradford, Illinois, USA.
What do you grow? Mostly corn and soybeans, a little bit of wheat.
How did you get into farming? I grew up on the farm, and my dad was a farmer. Actually, where we are now, my kids are the 6th generation to live on that farm.
What do you love about farming? That’s not an easy one to answer. Its the small things, like the smell of the dirt or corn drying in the fall. The things that are ingrained in you from a young age.
Tell us a little bit about why you become a farmer and who you farm with. When I came back from college, I worked as a hired man for my dad for a few years. Then I started farming on my own, and when my dad retired I took over the family farm. I have some hired labour that work on the farm for me.
What’s one of your favourite moments when you’re out in the fields? I can’t believe I still remember this, but, when I was a kid, I was out in the field and I was doing some sort of tillage. I was driving an old cabless tractor with duals on it. A thunderstorm came out of nowhere and it poured like crazy. It was so bad that I couldn’t even get to the other end of the field. I took cover in the duals of the tractor until it was done storming.
Has technology changed the way you farm? How so? Absolutely, it’s hard to even think of going back to times without the GPS guidance and the precision planning – from mapping to yield monitors – having so much more information at your fingertips. Now its just trying to figure out how to use all of that information.
What’s currently in your pockets? A pocket knife. Usually my cell phone but I’m talking on it.
What’s your most important piece of equipment and why? The planter. It all starts with that, if you don’t start with a good crop in the ground, you’re not gonna end up with one in the fall.
Can you share with us what you think our biggest challenge in Ag right now? Profitability – being able to market your crop over your cost of production.
What’s your biggest lessons learned in farming/Ag this year? How to more effectively/efficiently scout your crops – we weren’t in the margin where we could have blanket prescriptions for everything, so we had to go on a more variety by variety basis.
If there is one thing you want the general population to know about farming, what would that be? That when we go to the grocery store, we assume that we are eating products that we helped to create. Growing our crops safely is in our best interest.
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