A Potter County farmer will be riding on a float in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.
Phil Hamburger will be joining the Ag PhD Salute to Farmers float as a participant in the 2018 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 1. The theme of the parade is Making A Difference, and Ag PhD aims to use their participation in the event to call attention to how the unsung heroes of agriculture are making a difference for everyone.
Hamburger has been farming his entire life, and the number one lesson he’s learned in his 64 years working the land is to be able to evolve.
“It’s very important to be adaptable when you’re a farmer,” Hamburger said. “You have to do research and keep your eyes open, go to seminars and keep learning. You have to be able to look around and make changes when you see what is or isn’t working.”
When he first started farming he was growing wheat, oats and barley. The crops he grows now weren’t even on his radar due to the climate in central South Dakota.
“When I was younger if you got a real good corn crop it was 40 bushel; otherwise the standard was 20 bushel, maybe 30; and soybeans just did not grow out here,” Hamburger said.
So, what prompted the switch? A lot has to do with what the market pays and what the farmer can make work by trying new tactics.
“Back in 1976 we had a really bad drought, and that’s when I started thinking about no-till,” Hamburger said. “Nobody was really doing it at that time, but you could look out at the fence rows and these weeds would be six feet tall and doing great. It made you say, ‘Hey, there has got to be a way we can get enough cover on the ground to actually make things grow in the field.’”
By talking to other farmers and learning from the research station in Pierre, Hamburger said he stopped tilling the land in the 1980s when not a lot of people were using that method. He said that ability to learn from his surroundings really paid off.
“When no-till got going and we could keep the ground covered to lock in moisture we could get 100 to 120 bushel corn,” Hamburger said. “Saving that moisture by not turning over the soil made a huge difference to our farm.”
Another major difference is how much better fertility and crop protection are now compared to what he was using when he first started farming.
“It’s a lot more environmentally friendly now,” said Hamburger. “The environment is a hot button issue for non-farmers but what people don’t seem to understand is that doing right by the environment is also the best thing for the farmer. If we can sustain the land and keep bugs and the whole system in check then it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Hamburger says the publicity farmers will get with the float in the Rose Bowl parade can go a long way.
“We want to help people understand that there are a lot of really good things happening with genetics and even with chemicals and GMOs; things that are actually good for health and the environment!” said Hamburger. “It doesn’t seem like people are willing to hear that because of so much negative publicity. There are a lot of things said about farmers that are not true. Farmers are here for you, not against you. We are people who need your support. We are out here to keep things going, to keep people going by feeding them, to keep our farms going. We are not out here trying to destroy the ground.”
Phil says faith is also an instrumental part of his life that keeps him going.
“I have a relationship with God who is the Creator of everything!” Hamburger said. “He knows what is going on out here. I relate to Him though my process of growing, creating and nurturing the ground. He made us to do this sort of thing… and farming – it helps me feel close to Him.”
Tune in to the Rose Parade on January 1 at 10 a.m. Central. Tune in earlier than that for pre-parade coverage! Check your local listings.
For more information about the Ag PhD Salute to Farmers Float in the 2018 Rose Parade, visit www.agphd.com.
About Ag PhD®
Ag PhD has been providing information for farmers for the past 20 years. Through the national platforms of Ag PhD television and Ag PhD Radio on SiriusXM, hosts Darren and Brian Hefty help farmers increase their yield and profitability while sustainably feeding an increasingly hungry planet. Ag PhD is the number one agronomy television program in the U.S. today, and is seen in several foreign countries, as well. 2018 also marks the 5-year anniversary of the Ag PhD Radio Show that broadcasts on SiriusXM 147 every weekday at 2 p.m. Central. Darren and Brian are farmers, agronomists, and proud parents. For more information and to watch or listen full episodes of Ag PhD TV and Radio, visit www.agphd.com. Like Ag PhD on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and YouTube.
About the Pasadena Tournament of Roses®
The Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that hosts America’s New Year Celebration® with the Rose Parade® presented by Honda, the Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual and a variety of accompanying events. 935 volunteer members of the association will drive the success of 129th Rose Parade themed “Making A Difference,” on Monday, January 1, 2018, followed by the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 104th Rose Bowl Game. For more information, visit www.tournamentofroses.com. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.