Thursday was the opening day of the 23rd Annual Joint Commodity Conference in Durham. Ron Perry is the outgoing president of this year’s host commodity, the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, and he looks back on the day:
Perry: We had record numbers attending this year and we had some excellent speakers to talk about world markets; especially how China is going to effect us now and in the future to help us prepare our farmers here in North Carolina, as well as agribusiness… what we need to do to take advantage of those market opportunities.
SFN: One thing it seems like at these informational learning sessions is that we want to continue to drive home the point that we are a global economy now.
Perry: Absolutely, and that was made very, very clear today because the world markets and especially China and that part of the world are driving what happens here.
SFN: I know that's true, particularly with in soybeans and cotton.
Perry: That's true, absolutely, but corn… China used to be a corn exporter and now they're starting to get to the point where they're going to be a corn importer; as their population continues to evolve into that middle class and want more food which requires more meat.
SFN: Now, let me ask you this. You know, we had the yield and efficiency awards this afternoon, as we do every year. Last year was a struggle for just about every farmer in the state. I don't know about you but I was a little shocked to see some of those triple digit yields, high triple digit yields, no less.
Perry: Well, in wheat, for example, it was almost a perfect growing season for wheat from one side of the state to the other. Statewide average being about 68 this year. Normally, the 10 year average is about 47 so we had about a 21 bushel yield advantage over our normal yield which just shows you what kind of growing conditions we had in North Carolina this year. Plus some awfully good prices.
SFN: Absolutely, but you know corn was the really tough crop in 2011 and there were some really good corn yields, too.
Perry: Well, that depended on where you were. If you were in the western Piedmont or over in the mountain area, the areas that last few years have been getting the dry weather, this year they got the good weather and they did extraordinarily well. Not only in wheat, but your high corn yields were coming from the western part of the Piedmont and the western part of the state, as well as the soybeans. And, the east kind of took it a little bit on the chin this year.
SFN: Hurricane Irene actually helped out the soybean crop east of 95, before that it was in bad shape.
Perry: Absolutely, I'd agree.
SFN: So there actually some good yields in the east. As of Saturday, you'll no longer be president.
Perry: That's true, unfortunately. I have thoroughly enjoyed being president this year. It's an honor and a privledge to lead the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, it's an excellent group of gentlemen to work with and we've accomplished a lot this year.
SFN: The conference gets under way this morning at 8:00 am and wraps up around noon at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Conference Center in Durham. The 2013 conference is also scheduled for Durham.