Fueling Perspective — Mike Smody

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Mike Smody standing with H2A workers from Ukraine who worked for him in 2021.

Fueling Perspective with Mike Smody

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The family beginnings of what Mike Smody views daily in his farming profession was purchased by his grandfather in 1914. In 1962, Mike and his brother began farming together. Mike's wife, Patricia, has been his most valuable partner for the past 40 years as she has managed paperwork, bookwork, taxes, part runs, and even driving a tractor from time to time. Now, in 2022, Mike’s perspective includes the prospect of retiring in the next few seasons.

Mike has a unique, full-circle perspective of his home’s location and topography. Underground streams in Butler County are well supplied with run-off from the Ozark Mountains, contributing to the success of Mike’s rice and soybean rotation across nearly 3,000 acres. Mike’s crop is delivered to markets which supply consumers at home and across the globe by a 75-mile trip east to the Mississippi River or a 60 to 80-mile trip west to livestock markets.

The lifecycle of some of Mike’s crops results in sweet treats, something Mike enjoys.

“Our grains are consumed by dairy cattle, their milk taken to Cabool then delivered to Sikeston to be processed into Breyers ice cream and other sweet treats. And I like Breyers ice cream!” Mike explained.

In fact, Missouri agriculture creates millions of sweet treats from the Unilever ice cream factory in Sikeston, a town straddling the Agri-Ready Scott and New Madrid county line, cranks out as much as 53 million gallons of ice cream annually.

Mike’s farming career is supported by his degree in chemistry, another key in his unique perspective. His degree gives him the ability to examine and thoroughly assess many of the inputs he uses on his farm. He says he enjoys “chemical speak” with product developers. Speaking the language allows Mike to give developers a different perspective with his feedback, which in turn leads informs his decision making when utilizing crop protection and fertilizer products to optimize production on the farm.

Like thousands of Missouri farmers, Mike applies his unique blend of family legacy, education and experience to guide his decision making in his day-to-day farming operations. Off the farm, he enjoys sharing his perspective with those who may not be connected to agriculture. He enjoys talking to people about rice and cotton as many Missourians who live north of Butler County are not familiar with the crops. Mike has also been active in policy development and political advocacy through the Missouri Farm Bureau, a member of Missouri Farmers Care. Mike has found that applying a unique thought process and perspective can be a helpful strategy for getting things done in the political arena as well.

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