Recently I had an opportunity to address approximately 80 individuals from various high schools and the community college in the Iowa Falls, IA, area. This conference was sponsored by Farm Credit and is an example of how organizations are investing in their future customers.

What impressed me was the number of small loans Farm Credit has made to 4-H and FFA youth through their youth loan programs. Young people have to develop budgets and cash flows, and are required to pay back loans on their projects. What a great way to learn financial management skills and responsibility at an early age. You could see that this program energized the Farm Credit staff, as well as the youth. This was a reminder of my old basketball recruiting days. That is, you get them when they are young and you are more likely to recruit them for life.

These youth also asked some very mature questions, some I am sure they had heard Mom and Dad discuss over the dinner table.

The following are some of the questions that were on these rural youth’s minds, which I will elaborate on later this fall.

  • What are your thoughts on wind power?

  • Where are land values and cash rents headed?

  • Is agriculture really that important to our society?

  • Do I have to go to college to be successful?

  • What do I look for in a college or university?

  • Can women be involved in the agricultural industry?

  • Are you a conservative or liberal and why?

  • What should an individual study in college?

  • What is the first thing that I should do if I am thinking about going back home to the farm?

In my travels from Iowa Falls to Lincoln, NE, going across Route 20, I found a windshield appraisal of conditions to be extremely dry. If people had water to irrigate, yields looked great; if not, the crops were under stress. There are fewer livestock units, larger fields, and fewer farmhouses in western Iowa, a sign of the future in rural America in the Midwest.

Guest Assistant Coach

Dr. Alex White, who many of you know through lending schools, and I were guest assistant coaches at a recent Virginia Tech football game. We got to go to practice, pre-game meals, and be on the sideline with the coaches during the game. What a thrill! The actual player hits, the speed of players, their strength, and the crowd noise is something to experience.

The game is only a small part, just as selling the corn, beans, livestock or milk is the source of the rewards for all the work. All the hours of work and preparation that goes into 60 minutes of game time is unbelievable.

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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