Allie White, second-year member on the Symetra Tour, will be sharing her adventures throughout the 2014 season. If you, the fans, have a question or topic you'd like Allie to cover just e-mail us at Symetra Tour. Be sure to take a look back at her blogs from her 2013 Rookie season.
Rollin’ To the Midwest
When I drove my seven hour drive from Cary, North Carolina to Lancaster, Ohio I saw a familiar site as I honed in on the final stretch. There was a farmer out on his tractor about five miles or so from where I grew up and he was wearing a classic red and blue Ohio Farmer hat.
If you have ever seen me at the golf course then you know I wear my Ohio Farmer hat a lot… just about every golf tournament. The hat has brought me some pretty good luck through the years. I used to wear it while I was a summer camp counselor in California. The kids would steal it from me on a daily basis and put it in all sorts of ungodly places like the top of the climbing wall or the top of a Redwood. Nevertheless I always tracked it down.
These days, when I’m golfing in far off places like Florida, more often than not some fan will say, “Hey, I like your hat. My family used to farm over towards Cincinnati” or “Cool hat! I grew up on a small farm north of Columbus.”
And then of course, I also have had a few curious folks enquire, “What’s Ohio Farmer”?... a fair question indeed. Well it’s a magazine. My Dad has been the editor for some 30 years of Farm Progress’s Ohio Farmer Magazine. He has given out hundreds of blue trucker hats that say Ohio Farmer in big bold white and red letters, just like mine, throughout the years, to lots of real farmers (and fans of farming more like myself).
In Ohio, there are 75,000 farms and 22,000 of those are considered large farms. Just about every large farm gets a copy of the magazine once or twice a month depending on the season. The magazine has been going strong in Ohio since 1851… they used to say that on your right bookstand you have a copy of the Bible and on your left bookstand there is a copy of the Ohio Farmer. There as some small farms that receive the magazine too. My long time neighbor Dwight, a farmer, who recently passed, probably had a few issues… every year he donated some 1200 pounds of his vegetable garden to the food bank.
Getting good information to farmers is vital for keeping Ohio in the top ten for soybean and corn production with 4,569,775 acres of soybeans and 3,630,624 acres of corn (check out more stats on the USDA’s Ohio Ag website).
But hey, we are in Decatur, Illinois this week right? Well, just like Ohio, Illinois agriculture is pretty incredible. In the past Illinois has ranked first in soybean production, second in corn, and fourth in hog production. In 1997, 80% of the land in Illinois was farmland.
This week I am staying with Mike Wilson, a friend of my Dad’s who has worked as an editor for farming magazines such as Farm Futures for 25 years now. I’ve only been here one night but I am loving the Midwestern hospitality from Mike and his wife Molly and daughter Mckenna. Mike is very proud of the 30 year anniversary for Decatur hosting the Symetra Tour— as he should be. He can still remember Lorena Ochoa taking the title before she broke out, bound for greatness.
So if you are wondering whether or not I am enjoying being out in “the middle of nowhere” then fear not, because I am. Quite a place, “the middle of nowhere.”
I reckon farms are pretty awesome and it is essential that American Agriculture keeps finding more efficient ways to produce and distribute food. With seven billion people in the world and a billion of those people starving there is no doubt scientists, farmers and consumers must work together to balance production with sustainability. And although there are always many challenges to doing a good job, I am confident the effort of American farmers.
Happy to be in the Midwest! Golfin’ time!