EDITOR’S NOTE — Every week, the National Corn Growers Association visits with the farmers who have opened their gates to Field Notes, a series that will follow a handful of corn farmers from across the country from planting preparations through harvest. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.

Today, Off the Cob speaks with Sam Hancock, an eigth-generation farmer in Fulton, Ky. Hancock combines farming techniques learned from his father with a formal business education to continually improve the sustainability of the family’s farm.

Hancock, like his father, pursued higher education including doctorate work prior to returning to the family farm. Like most farmers today, he places a high value on running a sustainable operation.

“The way I look at it, I am an eighth generation farmer who still uses the original 100 acre field the farm started on in 1823,” said Hancock.

“There is more wildlife and the environment is better around that plot now than it was 60 years ago, yet it is more productive in that we can feed more people per acre on that field now than we could then. If that’s not sustainability, than I don’t know what is.”

Additionally, Hancock is concerned about the ramifications of regulatory issues that are based in emotion rather than sound science.

“It sometimes keeps me up at night thinking about how, over the past couple of years, the EPA has not been especially friendly toward agriculture,” said Hancock.

“While I am a farmer who is not opposed to regulation, I put an emphasis on the data and practices that come from land grant universities as it is scientific and peer reviewed. The regulations that could be made law in the near future are based in non-scientific, emotionally-based models, and they could potentially be damaging to agriculture.”

Meet Hancock and learn about his family farm by clicking here for the full Off the Cob interview.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.