Hi, I’m Darin Grimm, grain farmer and cattle feeder from Northeast Kansas. Born and raised on the farm, I spent my first few years out of school completely engrossed in the exciting, new world of personal computers. Had a couple of jobs doing computer programming and network administration, coming home to farm aftwer work when dad needed the help. In 1996, thinking about where I really wanted to spend my life and career, the appeal of the farm was just too strong, the opportunity was available and I returned there full time.
One of the things I was a bit involved with when I left my last town job was the combine yield monitor. Microtrac had just come out with their “Yield-Trac/Data-Trac” and I had the opportunity to visit an area farmer and be involved with a trial installation on a combine. The work and opportunities there fascinated me. But coming back to the farm full time, the projects I did at work seemed far removed from my daily activity. There was so many other daily chores and routine to do. And for the next several years, the daily farming routine consumed my time and energy. However, the love for data/technology never left. In the fall of 1999, we purchased the first yield monitor for our combine, and I also started working with a couple of farmer neighbors assisting them with their investment in precision ag.
For the next 8-9 years, I pursued this dual passion of farming and precision ag. I truly believed that the opportunity precision ag affored to do exactly the right thing in the right time and place was huge. It seemed like we could transform crop production agriculture and that challenge excited and inspired me. I am still involved in precision ag, but the reality of the effort and time required to truly use our own on-farm data to build on and improve the agronomic knowledge that has been built up over decades of university and private painstaking trial research is a significant hurdle to truly utilizing the tools we have.
Which leads me to my recent involvement in the AgChat Foundation. My personal passion and interest is still the technology/data. Social media, Twitter in particular, allows us to collect and work with a HUGE amount of data. And for me, it seems the importance of this work cannot be understated. I used to think that evaluating and identifying various tweaks to improving crop production was the most significant opportunity ag faced. That’s still important, but helping to share the modern ag vision with so many who have lost touch with how food, fiber, and fuel are produced today may be the most important 21st centry task the agriculture industry faces.
Groups and individuals with a wide diversity of agendas want to define a “farmer” today. All of that has it’s place, but in the ongoing debate, it seems most important that farmer’s themselves actually participate. Participation involves lots of things, but participation is not only talking and sharing your story, its also about listening and understanding the concerns and questions of folks in today’s world. And in the big, wide world of social media that we work in, there’s even room for an introverted tech geek like me!
I hope you’ll join in this effort, and help share your role in agriculture, or if your not directly involved, take the opportunity to truly learn and understand more about where your food and an increasingly wide diversity of products comes from. It’s really an issue that transcends generations, and at the end of the day, all I really want is for my kids to have the same opportunities in agriculture that I have had.
Darin Grimm – Kansas, Farmer, Treasurer
Darin farms with his father and a couple of valued partners raising row crops and feeding cattle in the northeast corner of Kansas. Darin has been involved for a number of years in precision agriculture and using data to help understand and improve agronomic decisions on the farm. “With such a small amount of the population directly connected to growing their food today, social media seems to be a vital component in helping people understand today’s farm business. My personal passion is applying the data skills I have learned from working with technology such as sensors and GPS systems to the world of social media.”