Hello from the combine cab in southeastern Illinois. Until the very end of September, there had been no measurable rainfall here. The area received a much-needed shower the last week of the month, but it only amounted to around a half-inch.

This rain helped knock the leaves off some soybeans, along with giving the double crops one final drink. However, for most of the double-crop soybeans, it was too late. Most of the crops were done grain filling when the drought hit, so the lack of rain did not affect yield too much.

One thing I have noticed a lot this harvest season is the importance of tiling and conservation practices related to water runoff. The corn is yielding 15% to 20% less on nontiled ground.

I own and operate a tiling business, and have believed in the importance of tiling for some time, but what I am seeing on my yield monitor this year is proving my opinion true. We, as farmers, must continue to care for and nurture our ground so that it will be there for our children and grandchildren to farm. too. The investment in tiling and other nutrient loss reduction strategies is paying dividends on my farm. You should take a look at yours and see how you can improve your ground.

As I spend hours in the combine, I have a lot of time to think. Besides yields and farming practices, another matter that crosses my mind a lot is the upcoming election.

Nov. 3 is an important day for agriculture. We as farmers and the agricultural community must continue to be proactive in the conversations we have with our elected officials and candidates for office. We must tell our story and take a hands-on approach to telling them our positions on issues, what our industry needs and how items they are considering will help or hurt us.

If you are not involved, you need to get involved. If you are involved, you need to continue to stay involved. Getting involved could be as simple as putting signs on property you own telling people who you support or what positions you support. When your county Farm Bureau can interact with elected officials at all levels – local, state and national, you must do so. You can never tell the agricultural story too many times.

Here’s to a happy and safe harvest to all my fellow Farm Bureau members. Please remember to vote Nov. 3 or before. Your vote is important, and it does matter.

Seth Root farms in Edwards County and serves as Illinois Farm Bureau State Young Leaders Committee District 17 representative.