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After helping plan Classic, South Dakota farmer turns his attention to fieldwork

Brandon Wipf is on the American Soybean Association Board and is also on the committee that oversees putting on the Commodity Classic. The 2022 Classic was his first as a committee member, and to hear it from Brandon, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing the mammoth show, especially coming off the one-year hiatus that resulted from the global COVID-19 pandemic. “We were definitely challenged this year not knowing what the COVID situation was going to be. We’re fortunate that New Orleans just lifted their mask mandate,” Wipf, who farms near Huron, South Dakota, told Brownfield Ag News. “That was a really [big] boost to our show. We want to be together; we want to be in person and enjoy each other’s company. It’s just been a great week. We’re already looking forward to next year when we’re going to be in Orlando, Florida.”

Although a benefit for the ’22 Commodity Classic, Wipf says because of its timing, the lifting by New Orleans of its mask mandate likely resulted in only a slight increase in attendance. “If it had been lifted maybe two weeks sooner it would have helped even more because people can’t just, on a whim, jump on a plane and go to another city,” he said. “It takes a little bit of planning. You have to line someone up to take care of the farm while you’re gone and all that. And so, the very last-minute nature of it, the benefit was there, but maybe not as much as it could have been.” The 7,800 attendees at this year’s show are about 80 percent of normal, according to Wipf, who is one of several farmers on the Commodity Classic Committee that meets weekly during its busiest times.

“There’s just so much that goes on behind the scenes that you just don’t see until you’re really confronted with it,” said Wipf. “It’s just a real testament to the quality staff and the farmers that lead this show in providing a really good value for not only our exhibitors but all the attendees that come here as well.”

Now, like many of the soybean, corn, wheat, and sorghum producers and equipment manufacturers who take in the Classic, Wipf turns his attention to spring planting. Wipf has a high degree of concern that there’s been very little snow in South Dakota following last year’s severe drought. “We need substantial moisture going into spring,” said Wipf. “We could handle several wet weeks and I think it would all soak in, and I think there’s a lot of producers around South Dakota that are seeing the same thing.”

Because of the open winter, Wipf expects an early planting season. “Yeah, I would anticipate we’re going to plant a little spring wheat here, maybe in a couple of weeks [after Commodity Classic] if the weather allows, and then by mid-or-late-April, we’ll be chomping at the bit to go on corn.”

AUDIO: Brandon Wipf

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