This regular feature provides an update of crop growing conditions from several farmers, along with happenings across the farm to ensure overall quality of their product.

Just because the 2023 growing season is over doesn’t mean that soybean farmers across the Upper Midwest are sitting around twiddling their thumbs until the upcoming planting season.

Mike McCranie, a grower from South Dakota, sits on numerous volunteer boards including the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, United Soybean Board, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council and Northern Soy Marketing. Throughout the winter, he spends many hours attending meetings and conferences on behalf of these organizations.

“These are all volunteer boards,” McCranie said. “I always feel like I get more out of it than what I put in because we are making the industry better for our future generations. That’s why I do it.”

Before the meeting season ramped up, McCranie’s fall harvest went off without any major hiccups.

“Our harvest went really smoothly with the exception of one ice storm that stopped us from picking corn for five days straight,” he said.

Since then, the winter weather has been dry and milder than usual.

“We haven’t gotten any lasting snow yet and if we don’t get any spring rains, it will really affect our moisture for the next growing season,” McCranie said.

Like McCranie, NSM has stayed busy this winter attending conferences and expos to spread its messaging. During the first few days of February, NSM is attending the Wisconsin Corn·Soy Expo and later in the month, the Northern Corn and Soybean Expo in Fargo, N.D. Earlier in the winter, NSM exhibited at the MN Ag Expo and kicked off December at the Ag Outlook Conference and Tradeshow in South Dakota.

“By being present at various expos, we are able to talk one-on-one with farmers and industry representatives about NSM’s mission,” said Katelyn Engquist, NSM market development project manager. “Many of the people we talk to already understand the benefits of northern-grown soy, because they’re the ones growing it, but learning that we are their boots-on-the-ground organization, sharing that knowledge with international customers is why we keep attending.”

Planting season is still months away, but in the interim, growers are doing everything they can to learn more about the agriculture industry and improve their operations for the 2024 growing season.