“We're all looking for more profit per acre,” says Kent Krukewitt, “and that’s my incentive for growing value-added crops.”
If anyone knows anything about making specialty crops work, it’s this Homer, Ill., farmer. No-tilling 1,800 acres, this value-added no-tiller sells specialty crops such as yellow waxy corn, white corn and yellow food grade corn to producers such as Frito Lay. He also produces more normal crops of corn and soybeans.
“As time goes by, specialty crops like white corn are looking more like a commodity,” he says. “You need to find ways to differentiate yourself from other producers if you’re going to make it in this market.”
With more consumers concerning themselves with how food is grown and where it comes from, this provides an excellent opportunity to package no-till as a best management practice.
“It’s going to be important in the future with marketing value-added crops because we can sell no-till as being environmentally sound and socially responsible,” he says. “The consumer is becoming more interested in these things.”
Since you’ve already got no-till working for you, Krukewitt says there are four critical areas to consider before delving into the world of growing specialty crops.
“If you don’t have a market close by, it’s easy to lose premiums based on the distance that you have to travel,” he says. “There are some markets I’d like to access, but the distance is too great for me. You need a market that’s relatively…