From the Field:
Get to Know Brent Rogers
Blog post by Kaitlin Donovan, Western Corn Crew Rep and Communications Coordinator,
Brent Rogers, of Double R Farms, joined the Kansas Corn Growers Association Board in spring of 2018 to serve the farmers of the Northwest District. He farms outside of Hoxie, Kansas in Sheridan County where he also serves in local leadership roles and raises his family.
Brent started his career in agriculture by working for his grandfather and uncle on the family farm junior high through high school. His dad had a fertilizer business back then. When available his dad bought ground and his uncle would farm it. When Brent graduated from college an opportunity arose for him to go back and work for his family’s farm. Then when his uncle retired, Brent had the opportunity to rent that ground and begin building a farm of his own. He now farms 8,000 acres of mostly rented ground and manages a 200 head cow-calf operation with a business partner. He raises primarily corn, soybeans and wheat with 1,700 of his acres being irrigated.
Get to know Brent a little more through our Q&A session:
Q: What does the name Double R Farms stand for?
A: A lot of people think it is my dad and I but it is actually my wife and I. We have two daughters that go to school in Hoxie and my wife works in town off the farm as an accountant.
Q: What is your favorite farm memory?
A: I have a lot of memories of doing stuff with my grandfather, he passed away 10 or so years ago. He taught me a lot of what I know about how to do things like fix fence and weld. So, he taught me a lot of the stuff I need to know to be successful in the trade. And a lot of my favorite memories are spending time on the farm with him.
Q: How have you seen farming change from when you were helping your grandpa and uncle?
A: Just the technology, there was very little no-till going on back then. I got probably one of the first farmers in Sheridan County to start using the auto steer systems developed by John Deere. I didn’t have the first one, but I got it right around the same time that my grandfather passed so he didn’t even really get to see all the technology we’ve been able to implement. I often have little memories and think, “Boy, what would he think of this?” you know. But the advent of no till is probably the biggest development to benefit our farm. I have been farming my entire career and have not traditionally worked an entire piece of ground yet in my life. Our irrigated land is strip tilled, so I guess there’s that. But our dryland acres, other than fixing some wash outs or ruts, have never been tilled since we started farming them.
Q: What other technologies do you utilize on the farm?
A: Ag Sense on our pivots is probably the biggest technology we use daily and probably the biggest time-saver and money-saver on our farm, because our irrigated fields are spread over about a 55-mile radius from our farm’s home base. We rely heavily on that technology because it saves us hundreds of miles a day checking wells we just do it from our phone.
Q: And for those who don’t know what Ag Sense is, what is it helping you do?
A: It is hooked to the end of your irrigation pivot and it actually controls the pivot. It tells me where the sprinkler is located in the field and what the pressure is at the end of the pivot. I can control the speed and we have all of our pivots setup with the speed table and we control the speed at which it puts out water from our phones. So we don’t have to physically go out there and tell it we want to put on an inch, that is handy because we do some split cropping where we have beans and corn on different halves of the pivot and we can water them based on each crop’s specific needs at that time. There’s also some water savings as well because with this we have the ability to shut them off from home during a rainstorm. Before this technology, if you got an inch of rain unexpectedly at night you had to wait until morning or until the road was dry enough to get to the sprinkler to shut it off. It’s not about one big thing causing the savings with this type of technology, it’s about all those little bitty things over a growing season that add up and add ease to the daily list of things to get done.
Q: How have you noticed a savings on water since you started using irrigation technology?
A: I have not been able to quantify that so to speak, but what has really saved us water is the implementation of soil moisture probes. We are probably in our 6th season of using them pretty extensively we seem to add one more every year. We probably have a little more than half of our irrigated acres heavily probed and that has saved a tremendous amount of water. The biggest savings comes from just knowing when to shut off the pivots and when to turn them back on. The probes let us know when our profile is full. Soil moisture probes work when you embrace the technology and believe in what it’s telling you. If you don’t trust the technology then you won’t see the water savings.
Q: A lot of people when it comes to moisture probes are afraid of the initial cost, how have you, have you seen an increase in yield, or is there a decrease in resources how do you make up that initial cost?
Well I think we make back a lot of that cost in energy savings from an electrical bill on our operation, you know if we are off a week with 15-16 wells that adds up pretty quickly. There is a lot of funding opportunities out there for water probes through local water management districts and local NRCA programs. I feel a little bit discouraged, because I implemented a lot of this stuff prior to knowing about these programs. I wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunities, but there is no doubt that they are worth every penny.
Q: What policy issues are you most passionate about? Why?
A: Well, water is important to me because I am involved in it. Ethanol is also very important to me because I know what it has done for the price of corn and what that market has done for my farm since its infancy. I see what market development opportunities like ethanol have done for the future of ag, and for my life in rural America. It has pumped our area back up and we’ve had a lot of kids move back home when corn prices were high.
Q: Why are you proud to serve northwest Kansas as a Kansas Corn Growers Association board member?
A: Well, Dennis McNinch asked me if I was willing and I didn’t really hesitate too much in agreeing to it. I’ve always wanted to lead, to help people and help those around me grow and flourish. So, I thought why not, I’m farmer and I grow corn. It just seemed like a good fit for me.
Q: What is the best way to reach you if a member has a concern and would like to contact you?
A: You can call my phone, 785-675-8846. If I don’t answer, leave me a message or send me a text. Twitter is the only social media platform I am involved with, my handle is @brentrogers19.