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Taking farmers to the 'Next Level'

What farmer wouldn’t love having a National Yield Contest title from the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)? Or at least be able to harvest on a level with those who are taking home the trophies? Randy Dowdy of Dowdy Farms is ready and willing to take farmers to the ‘Next Level’ with his knowledge and experience in upping the bar in yield production.
The ‘Next Level’ farm camps are an opportunity to interact with Dowdy, a multiple NCGA winner, who encourages producers to look beyond the techniques they have been accustomed to. He encourages them to be “open to making changes and using technology.”
“Don’t be a ‘next year’ man. Stop hoping and start knowing. Be proactive and let’s go to the Next Level together,” Dowdy said.
The four camps held each year are run throughout the year with two in the winter set up in a classroom setting. The cold month meetings focus on sharing ideas, investigating methods and making plans for the planting season. David Hula, another NCGA national winner, teaches along with Dowdy, offering twice the experiences and knowledge for the attendees. The other two gatherings are in June and August with topics like summer fertility, tissue samples and product successes. Both men will talk to a room full of people as well as one-on-one interactions.
Additional information will be shared on soil sampling, planter calibration, flag tests for emergence, product applications and yield analysis.
Since the program began, over 200 growers have attended one of the four camp locations with a new camp being offered in 2019 in the tri-state area. Currently, there are camps at Baltic, South Dakota; Aurora, Nebraska; Princeton, Illinois; and Marion, Ohio with the newest being at Plymouth, Indiana sponsored by Stackhouse Farms.
Brad Stackhouse and his son Kyle farm with non-GMO grains and appreciate the program. It follows many of the philosophies they have implemented at their multi-generational farm.
“Our farm continues to expand and diversify every year.  We specialize in irrigated crops and also focus on NON-GMO (genetically modified organism) and IP (identity preserved) corn and soybeans,”  Stackhouse said. “We also lead the technolgy front, utilizing auto steer, gps maps, auto swath, brand new state of the art grain dryer, strip till, and high efficiency irrigation.”
To be able to host a farm camp, the producers have a year of camp experiences, giving them the opportunity to share what they have learned. The Stackhouse family will work with farmers from Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky ranging in age from 21 to over 65 with an interest in improving their operation. The ‘students’ come from farms of all sizes from 200 to 10,000 acres with a variety of cropping systems.
“We notch operators striving to see how to increase the yields...on their farms,” Stackhouse said.
For more information about this learning opportunity, is the online source as well as emailing Stackhouse Farms ( Another way to contact the Stackhouse family is by calling 574-952-8364.