Welcome to the 2019 BASF Innovations in the Field. This yearlong program is designed to showcase four progressive farmers and their use of technology and agronomic practices to enhance their return on investment and profit potential. Check back each week as the farmers share their experiences and crop management decisions throughout the growing season.
Brent Lassiter has operated ProAg Services in Newport, Arkansas, since 1996 and consults on cotton, rice, corn and soybeans. He once farmed as much as 2,500 acres, but now uses roughly 400 acres for field trials.
Lassiter also runs an air imaging servicing in which he uses his own airplane to take pictures of fields using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and other applications.
He is involved in supporting agriculture and education at the state and local level. He was active in the Arkansas Farm Bureaus Young Farmers and Ranchers Program serving as Vice Chair and Chair. As Chair, he had a seat on the Arkansas Farm Bureau state board.
Lassiter is also proud of his service on the board of advisors of his local community college, Arkansas State University-Newport. When starting out with a young family and trying to start a business, he needed a school close to home– and ASU-Newport fit the bill. His oldest son and daughter-in-law also attended there.
Wally Childress operates Wally Childress Farms near Bogota, Tennessee, in partnership with his wife, Tracy Childress. The family operation is a Century Farm that began in 1906. He began farming on his own right out of high school and added farmland over time.
Childress farms more than 6,000 acres, almost exclusively no-till, a practice that was initiated on the family farm by Wally's late father, Don Wallace Childress. He grows cotton, soybeans, wheat, edamame and rice–he is one of only two rice growers in his state. His cotton averages 1,150 pounds per acre, rice 150 bushels per acre, soybeans 45 bushels per acre and corn 150 bushels per acre.
Childress and his employees opened a restaurant, the No Limit Café , in town to provide somewhere close to eat breakfast and lunch. He believes in strong community involvement and has helped his town receive three grants for use at a community center and fire department.
Ryan Robinson operates B&M Farms with brother Nick and uncle Mike Lawyer. They grow corn and soybeans near Pendleton, Indiana.
The farm had one of its best growing seasons in 2018, producing its best-ever average corn yield. Yields on many farms in the area average more than 200 bushels per acre.
Ryan joined the operation in 2005 after completing high school, and runs the combine and does the spraying. Nick joined in 2008 after studying mechanics at a community college. Heâ€™s the lead on tillage and does the spray mixing. Lawyer is working on a succession plan that will allow Ryan and Nick to completely take over the operation in the near future.