Profiles: Howell and Snodgrass

Delaney Howell will serve as master of ceremonies for our education presentations and Eric Snodgrass will give a weather marketing presentation. Here are profiles on the two.

Delaney Howell

Howell

As a youngster, Delaney Howell thought the Market to Market show her dad and grandparents watched regularly was “really boring.” My, how times have changed. Now, she finds herself on camera as host of the long-running show that’s now in its 44th season.

She laughs as she recalls how far she’s come since her days of growing up on a southeast Iowa farm. She and her older brother were active on the family farm, but not nearly to the extent of their younger brother who had a love of raising bottle calves, taking care of chickens and just about any activity.

“My dad teases my older brother and me. We both work in ag now and our youngest brother doesn’t,” Howell says. “The tables have turned. Dad says out of all the kids, we were the last two he expected to go into ag.”

Howell says it was during her late high school and early college years that she realized she could get involved with a show like Market to Market for a career. She was named host last February and says it’s fun to host a show she grew up with and that has been watched by so many people she knows.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been the better part of a year. At first, it was a little bit of a whirlwind. Now I feel like I’m hitting my stride, making it my own show. I had big shoes to fill,” she says. “I’m excited to be the first woman to host it and definitely the youngest to host it. It was time to have a woman host.”

Her biggest fan might be her dad. He’s not the kind of guy who shows emotion often, but when she told him she had been hired to host the show he loves, “he got a little teared up.”

“It makes us a lot closer. I’m definitely a daddy’s girl. He has been my biggest role model and support system going through all this,” she says. “The first night I hosted the show, my mom texted and said, ‘I think your dad is crying.’ He definitely has been a big influence and has been super proud and always supportive of what I’m doing. He’s eager to give me new ideas and make suggestions.”

In her presentation during the South Dakota Corn Growers Association’s annual meeting, Howell plans to speak from a trade perspective and focus on the big picture–what’s going on with the trade scene and how it relates to commodity prices.  She says there are things farmers can do that play into the bigger global picture, including paying attention to what’s going on with the trade front and the farm bill. During challenging economic times, it’s important for farmers to know their input costs and their break-evens.

Snodgrass

Eric Snodgrass became fascinated with weather when he was in college, but he had no idea he would develop such a strong interest in agriculture, too.

That passion took root years later when he was a university professor teaching students about weather and meteorology. In late July 2012, a friend invited him to attend a Farm Bureau meeting and said farmers might have some questions for him. What Snodgrass quickly realized while talking with farmers was that the weather information they were provided wasn’t very beneficial.

That prompted Snodgrass and a colleague to start a company, Global Weather and Climate Logistics LLC, which specializes in providing short-term (1 to 15 days) and seasonal forecasts that affect the agricultural community throughout the growing season. It later merged with Agrible Inc., a precision farm management and predictive analytics company. Snodgrass continues to teach full-time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and runs the company on the side.

“I never would have thought I’d love learning about agriculture as much as I did. If you’d have told me 10 years ago that I’d be doing ag weather, I would have laughed at you. Now I sleep, eat and breathe this stuff,” he said.

Snodgrass said his presentation will be centered on South Dakota agriculture. He refers to South Dakota and North Dakota as the “the frontier of the Corn Belt.” Corn and soybean acres have increased enormously.

Those two states are “closest to the danger zone” because of the drier conditions of the High Plains, Snodgrass said.  Because the land has to be managed well to produce good yields, the rest of the Corn Belt watches the Dakotas “as kind of a litmus test on how the rest of the season is evolving.” He said crop scouting tours that used to start in Ohio now start in the Dakotas and head east.

Snodgrass noted that successful farming is all about efficiency with a focus on minimizing expenses and maximizing profits. Weather is the highest risk factor. Accurate historical weather information and 40 years of reliable yield data are a key to improving efficiency. Combine precision agriculture with weather data and farmers have a valuable tool.

Snodgrass says he can provide farmers with information that will help them make informed decisions and become more efficient. Plus, his business and farming have something a lot in common.

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