College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

VIDEO: IAA Woven into Weaver Farm

Author: 
Tony Pagnotti
Chris Weaver of Weaver Farms in Carroll County, Maryland.
A John Deere 350 tractor is just one example of how Chris Weaver and his father, Richard, use technology to maximize crop yield on their family farm.
Image Credit: 
Tony Pagnotti

The 325-acre Weaver Farm located in Carroll County has deep roots with the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA). Chris, IAA class of ’99, and his father Richard, class of ’72, own and operate the corn, soybean, rye and seed farm in Finksburg, MD. The family farm has been in existence since 1887, but the Weavers pride themselves on using the latest technology to ensure maximum crop yields. Toward that end, the Weavers have installed a storage building to house computer sensors that connect to iPads via satellites which can detect daily nitrogen levels in the cornfields.

“Through this setup I constantly carry two iPads with me when away on business. That keeps me informed of grain markets up to the minute, while at the same time monitoring if Dad is planting corn on any given day,” says Chris. His father is quick to point out how agriculture has changed since he graduated from the Institute over four decades ago.  

“Back then we would be satisfied if we yielded 100 bushels per acre, but now if the output isn’t at least three times that, we wonder what happened,” explains Richard.

The Weavers are proud to show off their technology-driven John Deere 350 tractor which also helps to maximize corn production. The tractor is equipped with a state-of-the-art GPS system that can monitor plant population row by row as well as variable rating.

While he graduated from the IAA nearly 20 years ago, Chris credits the IAA for providing him with the solid foundation that has enabled him to be successful in sustainable agriculture today. Beyond what he learned about farming and crops through hands-on classes, he is quick to point out how an oral communication course continues to be of great benefit to him. “Glori Hyman, (current IAA director) stressed the importance of effective speaking skills in her class. She taught us that just like in any other field, a farmer needs to have the ability to engage and connect with his customers and business community.”

After earning his IAA certificate, the elder Weaver went on to get his college degree and taught in the Carroll County school system for 25 years before retiring. He now serves as a Carroll County commissioner. In that role he admits to talking up the IAA every chance he gets. ”My education at the Institute was so valuable to me. I highly recommend it to young people and anyone else interested in an applied agricultural program to check out the IAA. I believe it is the best kept secret at the University of Maryland. For over fifty years now they have provided a personalized practical education to students, who in most cases, upon graduation have a job waiting for them,” says Richard.

 

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