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Not following the easy path

By Staff | Dec 23, 2011

Humboldt-area farmer Jay Lynch, looks over a semi load of corn he was preparing to deliver to Sparboe Farms in Fort Dodge on Monday. Lynch was honored last week by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation with its Excellence in Agriculture award.

By LARRY KERSHNER

Farn News news editor

HUMBOLDT – Jay Lynch, of rural Humboldt, admits that in some ways, it would be easier to stay at home with his family and just farm.

Instead he’s one of those involved, key young farmers in Iowa, serving as the District 2 director for the Iowa Corn Growers Association, chairing the ICGA’s animal ag and environment committee, and sitting as a voting delegate for the U.S. Grains Council and the National Corn Growers Association.

Two years ago he traveled with Bill Northey, Iowa’s secretary of agriculture, on a trade mission to Japan and South Korea.

“There are so many people disconnected with farming. They might remember how things were on their grandfather’s farm, but that’s not how it’s done anymore.” —Jay Lynch Excellence in Agriculture award recipient

In early November, Lynch was elected as the grain representative on the executive board of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

From January through March, he will be traveling five times – Hawaii; Fresno, Calif.; Tulare, Calif.; Hong Kong and South Korea.

He said although it may sound exotic, the trips are due to his organizational chores, and many times there are few moments for leisure and sight-seeing.

“It’s exacting work,” Lynch said. But, he quickly adds, it’s worth it.

Lynch was honored on Dec. 8 with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s Bob Joslin Excellence in?Agriculture award.

Irons in the fire

Although not a livestock producer, Lynch said he is active in livestock export activities “because my No. 1 customer is livestock.”

Lynch is a corn and soybean farmer, operating 650 acres in partnership with his parents, Robert and Linda Lynch, of Gilmore City.

If his organizational activities, farming chores and family responsibilities werent enough, he’s also a big advocate of educating the general public about responsible farming that is happening in Iowa.

He is active in Humboldt County’s annual farm safety camp at the county fairgrounds.

He likes to show non-farming Iowans how the industry conducts its business on the soil.

He said that in fall 2010, a group calling themselves Mom Bloggers were invited to a farm near Des Moines to witness corn harvesting. Lynch was there to assist.

“They actually thought they were going to see sweet corn,”?Lynch said. The women were surprised to see the high-tech cab of the combine and that farmers had Blackberries and iPhones.

“There are so many people disconnected with farming,” Lynch said. “They might remember how things were on their grandfather’s farm, but that’s not how it’s done anymore.

“We have to do a better job (of educating others) how we’re farming and why we’re doing it.”

Lynch said he sees it essential for farmers to be represented before lawmakers in?Washington and in Des Moines.

A voice for ag

Pointing to farmers from Europe immigrating to the U.S. to get away from intensive government over-regulation, he said, U.S. farmers don’t want that repeated here.

“We need a voice,” he said, “to say, ‘here’s why this works,’ or ‘why it doesn’t work.'”

The Lynches started shifting away from ridge tilling their row crops during the 2011 growing season, by knocking down the ridges on half of their acres. The rest were knocked down following harvest this fall.

They will be switching to strip-till on some acres and no-till on others. Lynch said.

“It’s a good way to preserve the soil,” he said, “and builds organic matter.

“We farm this land for income, but we do what we think is best for it. Hopefully, in a hundred years, someone is on the farm and we want it to be as good or better as when we were given the farm.”

Getting the call

Earlier this fall, Lynch said, the Humboldt?County corn and soybean growers nominated him for the ag excellence award. He agreed to fill out the required paperwork documenting his activities but didn’t expect to be chosen.

In late-October, he got the call from Craig Lang, Iowa Farm Bureau’s outgoing president, saying that he was Iowa’s honoree.

“I was quite surprised,” he said, acknowledging the award is an honor, but winning awards is not what he’s about.

“I do these things because they are good for my farming career, and it’s good for Humboldt County farming.

“And because it’s something I enjoy.”

As the Joslin Award winner, Lynch received a plaque, a $750 gift card from GROWMARK and expense-paid trips to the American Farm Bureau annual meeting in Honolulu, the GROWMARK annual meeting in Chicago and the IFBF Young Farmer conference.

“I give Farm Bureau a lot of credit for getting me actively involved,” Lynch said. “Hopefully, I’ll have done enough good to offset some of what they’ve given to me.”

Lynch has been involved with the Humboldt County Farm Bureau, serving in a number of leadership and volunteer roles.

He has been active with the county board of directors and served as president from 2009-2010.

Lynch is a graduate of the Iowa Farm Bureau’s Ag Leaders program and used those skills to visit with legislators in Des Moines and Washington.

Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141, Ext. 453 or at kersh@farm-news.com.

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