The Importance of Technology to Family Farmers: Len Corzine

Over the past few months, Agrible has been focusing on highlighting the dedicated, hardworking employees behind the scenes of Morning Farm Report and Agrible. We also wanted to shine the spotlight on the growers who love our products and provide us valuable feedback.  

This month we look at Len Corzine, a 5th generation farmer in Assumption, Illinois.

“I farm with my son Craig and my wife Susie. We grow corn and soybeans and have a few Angus cows on our farm,” said Len. “We sometimes grow identity-preserved grains such as white corn, seed corn, and seed soybeans. I live where I was born and my son’s home is where my grandmother was born.” 

Len learned from his Dad—as his son has learned from him—to utilize and protect the great natural resource they were blessed with: their soil. Technology has helped them do this. Having ancestors that were innovators was also extremely helpful, as his grandfather transitioned from the hoof to the wheel for his horsepower.

It was in the 1930’s when hybrid seed corn became available to Midwest farmers. At that time, it took 15 to 20 hard hours to produce 100 bushels of corn. The family used open pollinated corn that was saved from the best ears hoping to get the best results. His grandpa and great-grandpa tried some of the “new stuff”, hybrid seed corn, and it greatly improved the productivity as well as produced higher quality corn for the cattle and hog feed and corn meal. 

Len’s family has always been good stewards of the land, but they learned in the 70s they needed to improve their tillage system. Even though their land is flat, they needed to better control erosion from both wind and water. This meant trying to leave residue on the surface and put away the plow. This was a huge challenge and they were not very successful. Weeds and insects were nearly impossible to control.

During the 80s, genetics continued to improve and it only took an average of 2 ½ hours to produce 100 bushels, but they still were not controlling weeds or insects. By the 90s they were gaining on the erosion control but they were applying more chemicals than they wanted to control the pests. Biotechnology brought them new tools to use on the farm, first in a new weed control system and then in insect management. Len now uses ounces instead of pounds for weed control and they have reduced their insecticide use by over 90%.

Now in 2015, Len and his family still look to the newest advances and technology to help them on the farm. Through Agrible’s Morning Farm Report, Len is able to better manage his resources. The weather continues to be his biggest X factor, and Morning Farm Report helps him stay on top of it. Agrible provides daily information that helps Len manage his crops and the inputs he can use to increase yields. He is excited about the ability to better analyze and predict the effects weather is having on the soil and the growing crop.

Len is very thankful that his grandpa and dad were excellent farmers because he was able to learn from the best. Both he and his son have become better farmers because of the new tools and choices technology offers them. The US produces at least 20 percent more corn on 25 percent fewer acres than in 1930. With the help of new technology, Len is able to produce more with less by lowering his environmental footprint and being more sustainable. His family has been farming their land for 140 years and each generation will always strive to leave the farm better than they found it. New technologies are helping them do that. Agrible is helping them do that.