To Infinity and Beyond

In case you haven’t noticed, the farming industry has gone totally space age.

In case you haven’t noticed, the farming industry has gone totally space age.

This was made incredibly apparent to me this spring as I was commuting to work on I-35 in southern Minn. I was clipping along at approximately 77 mph doing what I normally do while driving — drink coffee, text, surf the Internet, and/or read the newspaper. When all of sudden I was completely distracted by some enormous object resting in a corn field adjacent to the interstate.

My initial reaction was someone had carjacked the Millennium Falcon from the set of Star Wars and dumped it just prior to daybreak on some unsuspecting farmer’s land. As I watched this monstrosity disappear into my rear view mirror I immediately Googled “farm equipment resembling a galactic space cruiser.” My search results offered a variety of stunning images revealing the latest arsenal of heavy machinery currently being deployed on Midwest soils every spring, summer and fall.

Now, if you have yet to witness one of these tractors with wings, which is the mother of all understatements, and can’t afford a ticket to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, I encourage you to load up the family and visit your nearest ag equipment dealer. All I know is I want one. Not that I’d know what to do with it, other than maybe wash it on the weekends while basking in the glow of that fresh paint and watching my neighbors saunter by, trying in vain to scoop their tongues off the pavement. Hey, some people buy antique cars. I, on the other hand, prefer state-of-the-art farm equipment.

What these machines really reaffirmed to me was the unbelievable improvements the farming industry has made to their equipment over the last several years. Seemingly, there are no limitations to the progress and potential for America’s Heartland.

In my opinion, this is indisputable. It is why I often struggle with the notion that many of us in the Midwest are still fetching water with a pail. The last time I checked, Little House on the Prairie stopped airing new episodes in 1982. In fact, if Charles Ingalls could break ground in Walnut Grove in 2010, no doubt he’d do so in some hopped up air seeder, resting comfortably in an air conditioned cab, knocking out 48 rows per pass and jamming to Tupac’s “Picture Me Rollin’.”

Now that’s how we do it in the Heartland in the 21st Century. Take some notes NASA, you just might learn something.

Marcus Ludtke graduated from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., in 2001 and started working for POET Risk Management in May of that year. His primary responsibilities include managing POET’s corn position and market research.




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