On the Farm with Doug Martin

On Thursday, I interviewed Doug Martin of Martin Family Farms in Mt. Pulaski, Illinois. I was interested in learning more about what’s happening with the crops in Illinois and Doug’s use of social media to promote his family’s operation. Below is the transcription from the Twitter feed.


MartinFarms: I am ready when you are. #onthefarm
n_web: Doug is in the house, so let’s get going! #onthefarm

n_web: Q1: Give us a brief description of your family farm. Take a couple tweets for that one! #onthefarm

MartinFarms: My father and I farm in a four county area in central Illinois. I am the sixth generation of my family to farm. #onthefarm

n_web: Looks like tweetchat is about 3 min. behind tweets. At least on my end. But we’ll be ok. Thanks for your patience. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: We raise corn and soybeans using conservation tillage practices on most farms. We also operate a CRP planting business. #onthefarm

n_web: Q2: How have things gone so far this year? Your blog indicated your corn is pretty wet right now. What about beans? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: Corn was planted on Apr 24, may11, May 22 and 1st wk of june. most of it late may. so we are behind. Hope to start harvest 21st #onthefarm

MartinFarms: We start at 25 % moisturew/harvest which might be as dry s it gets this year. we are about 200 Growing deg days behind #onthefarm

MartinFarms: soybeans are late most planted in 2nd week of June and finished on July 2 on prevent plant corn acres. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: Overall all things considered I am pretty happy I think corn could avg in 180’s a lot of mold and diplodia starting to show #onthefarm

n_web: Q3: so how much will you have to dry down the corn? Do you have on-farm dryers? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: We do not have a lot of storage, most of it will be dried at the elevator. They will dry corn to 14-15% at a cost of $.035/point #onthefarm

MartinFarms: That will cost us $60/acre @ 180BPA corn. Not very economical with todays prices #onthefarm

n_web: Ouch. 30 cent dock stings, huh? Q4: Walk us through a pre-harvest routine. You’re 2 weeks out. What are you doing to prepare now? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: We are going over equipment making sure everything is working, combine, trucks, tillage, and NH3 equipment #onthefarm

MartinFarms: Also making sure all paper work is caught up, revise the marketing plan, getting next years seed plans made, and some honey do’s #onthefarm

n_web: Gotta love the honeydo list. Q5: How long will harvest take for each crop? What kind of hours do you put in? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: We start at 5-6am and quit when everything is full at night usually 8-10pm. This year with wet corn elevators can not dry fast #onthefarm

MartinFarms: We are 90% corn so that will take most of our time. Most elevators are open from 730am to 6or 7 pm #onthefarm

MartinFarms: So they may only be open a few hours a day if they get full of wet corn which will really slow things down. #onthefarm

n_web: Q6: What will the delays caused by wet corn mean for you? On the ground drying? Or just a delay in hitting the field? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: I saw a chart today that showed the June planted corn reaching 25% moisture on November 1. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: It will mainly mean delaying harvest. With semis and big combines it does not take long for older elevators to fill up. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: If that happens we will have to shut down for partial days, maybe do field work in the p.m. could have long lines at elevators. #onthefarm

n_web: Q7: Why did you decide to come back to the farm? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: Short answer… it is in my blood, but really there is nothing more rewarding than production ag. I think the future is bright #onthefarm

n_web: Q8: Why do you think it’s bright? What’s happening in Illinois to make you think that? Or elsewhere even? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: There are not many young people going into farming and there with demand for a growing population somebody has raise the crop #onthefarm

n_web: Follow up: why do you find it rewarding? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: Knowing that the success of my business is due to the hardwork and decisions that myself and my family have made #onthefarm

MartinFarms: It can also be frustrating if you make a bad decision or mother nature will not let you do good job. I like those challenges #onthefarm

n_web: Q9: Let’s talk social media. You have a Web site, a blog, Twitter and Facebook page for Martin Family Farms . . . (more) #onthefarm

MartinFarms: With all of the SM I want landowners, people interested in ag to be able to get to know our farm/family and see how we operate. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: I think it is also a great tool to try and educate people about prodution ag and let them feel a little closer to the farm #onthefarm

n_web: Have you received feedback on those media? I really like your videos. I think that’s a great way to bring the farm to the public. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: We are getting about 25-30 hits a day on the web/blog and we are making a lot of new contacts with positive feedback. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: I think the videos allow people to connect with what we are doing. With the SM it is really easy to share what we are doing. #onthefarm

n_web: Two more quick Qs: Do you encourage other farmers to embrace social media when you meet with them? #onthefarm

MartinFarms: This is another benefit to auto steer. I can take videos, update the blog, etc… as I am planting, or harvesting #onthefarm

MartinFarms: I tell a lot of people what I am doing, some think I am crazy, some are intimidated by SM and some are very interested. #onthefarm

n_web: Final Q: I see that you’re a Saluki . . . I’m a Billiken. Ready for another 53-46 game on Dec. 5? Are you coming to the game? :) #onthefarm

n_web: And instead of “game” I meant “slugfest.” #onthefarm

MartinFarms: I am a Saluki in Illini country. I have never been to the SLU game but I have always wanted to. I will have to wait and see. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: LOL!! Those are my favorite kind of games because that is how I played in HS #onthefarm

n_web: Thanks for joining me today, Doug. Very educational for me. Hope you enjoyed it as well! Best wishes for a successful harvest. #onthefarm

MartinFarms: No problem I enjoyed it. Anytime anyone has any questions or wants to come to the farm please let me know. #onthefarm


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