Appeals Court Suspends WOTUS Implementation

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

gavelA new ruling issued today by a federal appeals court places a nationwide stay on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Rule, better known as Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS).

The court agreed with petitioners that the treatment in the rule of tributaries, “adjacent waters,” and waters having a “significant nexus” to navigable waters is at odds with a previous Supreme Court ruling and that “it is far from clear that the new Rule’s distance limitations are harmonious with the instruction.”

In addition, the ruling called EPA’s rulemaking process “facially suspect” because it did not include any proposed distance limitations in its use of terms like “adjacent waters” and significant nexus.”

Agricultural organizations are supporting the ruling. “The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased the Sixth Circuit recognizes that this rule has serious flaws and cannot go forward until the courts have had an opportunity to understand its effect on farmers, ranchers and landowners of all kinds,” said AFBF president Bob Stallman in a statement. “The judges expressed deep concerns over the basic legality of this rule. We’re not in the least surprised: This is the worst EPA order we have seen since the agency was established more than 40 years ago. The court clearly understood our arguments.”

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), a long-time critic of WOTUS, also applauded the court ruling. “Due to the widespread confusion and frustration with the new regulations and pending litigation, this ruling should send a clear signal to the EPA that the rule should be scrapped altogether,” Roberts said. “The process was flawed from the beginning and I commend the court for this finding in particular: ‘Moreover, the rulemaking process by which the distance limitations were adopted is facially suspect.’”

A three judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Judicial Circuit voted 2-1 to stay implementation over concern that burden to state and federal government, as well as private parties and the public in general, from the implementation of the WOTUS rule outweighed any harm to the agencies in keeping the status quo.

AFBF, EPA, Government

Borlaug 101 Focus on Global Food Security

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

borlaug-101To celebrate the 101st anniversary of the birth Dr. Norman Borlaug, the 2015 Borlaug Dialogue has gathered an outstanding “faculty” of international leaders, experts and scientists for Borlaug 101 a 3-day “course” on The Fundamentals of Global Food Security. The Borlaug Dialogue is being held October 14-16 as part of the World Food Prize events next week at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown Hotel.

Referred to as the “premier conference in the world on global agriculture”, the 2015 Borlaug Dialogue will include the perspective of government leaders and policymakers, farmers and agribusiness executives, and scientific, academic and development experts from around the world. Kicking off the Dialogue this year is Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation.

Another big event is the release of the Global Harvest Initiative’s (GHI) 2015 Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report): Building Sustainable Breadbaskets. The launch event will include a panel of global food experts from industry, agriculture and government. This year’s report provides a focus on how the right policies, investments and partnerships can improve lives and build more sustainable and inclusive breadbaskets. One such way is precision agriculture and innovative technologies and practices that can help conserve resources and mitigate agriculture’s climate impact.

Each year, the GAP report is updated to highlight the process made toward sustainably doubling agricultural output through 2050. The 2015 report also analyzes productivity and water and soil conservation opportunities throughout the world.

We will be bringing you coverage of the Borlaug Dialogues thanks to our generous supporter John Deere.


First Chairwoman of CropLife America

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

CropLife AmericaAt the recent annual meeting of Croplife America some newly elected board leaders were announced. One of those is the first ever chairwoman, Diane Allemang, director of North America business development and global portfolio at FMC Corporation. Diane was elected to a two-year term and is the 46th chair of the board.

I spoke to Diane this morning to get to know her and learn about the priorities for the organization. As you might suspect environmental regulations are at the top list with concerns about EPA not only for existing products but ones in development.

Listen to my interview with Diane here: Diane Allemang - FMC

Other officers elected include the following. Susanne Wasson, commercial leader – U.S. crop protection of Dow AgroSciences, LLC, was elected to serve as the board’s treasurer and vice chair. Dave Tretter, vice president of procurement at Crop Production Services, Inc, will continue to serve as vice chair and will be joined by James Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience. Vern Hawkins, president and North America regional director of Syngenta Crop Protection, will serve as immediate past chairman. Eric Wintemute, CEO of American Vanguard, will also continue as a board officer, elected in the capacity of vice chair emeritus.

Ag Group, Audio, Crop Protection, CropLife America, FMC

RFS is Hurting Farm Income, Rural Communities

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The uncertainties around the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are threatening farm income and hurting the economic stability of rural economies. A new white paper from the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), using recent USDA data on net cash income for American farmers and ranchers, states that income is expected to decline by 26 percent in 2015 from peak 2013 levels. This, the paper argues, is proof that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current RFS proposal is negatively impacting the farm economy.

ncga-smaller “That devastating forecast is worse than originally projected, and it represents the lowest farm income levels in nearly a decade, and it could get worse,” says the paper.

During a press conference to launch the paper, NCGA President Chip Bowling of Maryland said, “There are factors other than the RFS. (But) it has changed the basis, the price received for our corn, it has changed the way we’re buying equipment … most of that is due to the uncertainty in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

nfu_logo2EPA is expected to release the final rule at the end of November and NFU president Roger Johnson says they have heard nothing to indicate they will change that time line. “They agreed to that in the court order,” said Johnson. “It’s hard to say what to expect from them.”

Johnson stressed that the so-called blend wall should not be included in any determination for volume requirements under the RFS. “When the RFS was put in place it was never intended that it would stop at ten percent,” he said. “It was always the intent that it would go way beyond ten percent.”

Bowling says corn growers have responded to the demand for more corn to produce ethanol and another record crop is expected this year. “We’re still expecting yields of 162 bushels per acre at minimum,” said Bowling. “We have carry over that’s growing and without a strong Renewable Fuel Standard demand for corn is going to decrease.”

Listen to the announcement from NCGA and NFU here: Press call on RFS/farm income white paper

Agribusiness, Audio, Biofuels, Corn, Ethanol, NCGA, NFU

Is TPP good for US agriculture?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Where or how do you hunt?”

I won’t lie. I was a bit surprised we had so many non-hunters out there. I personally don’t hunt, but have many friends and family that do. I don’t hunt simply because I don’t think I could actually sit still and quiet long enough to not scare away my target. But those that do hunt seem to focus their efforts on their own property. You may not know this, but Chuck is an avid hunter. If you have time to kill just ask him about Crystal Pig Hunt Club.

Here are the poll results:

  • Own property – 33%
  • Private property – 14%
  • Public property – 0%
  • Organized hunt – 0%
  • Don’t hunt – 53%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, Is TPP good for US agriculture?

Trade talks in Atlanta are a wrap, but we will continue to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and it’s impact on agriculture. And it seems like everyone has something to say about the agreement. What do you have to say? Is it good for all of agriculture, parts or bad news for everyone?


John Deere and DN2K to Further Develop Software

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

john_deere_logo_3623Deere & Company and DN2K are working together to form SageInsights, a joint venture to further develop DN2K’s existing cloud software.  The goal is to enhance the software, called MyAgCentral, to provide consulting services to growers.      and others who provide consulting services to growers.

“Through this initiative, John Deere expands its products and services for precision agriculture,” said John May, President, Agricultural Solutions and Chief Information Officer at Deere. “DN2K is uniquely positioned to help advisers and consultants use information from multiple sources to better serve growers.”

DN2K, Greenwood Village, Colorado, developed the MyAgCentral platform to help agriculture advisers collect, organize, and analyze machine-to -machine information and use it along with insights from other resources to help improve decision-making. Deere & Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural equipment and a leader in precision agriculture.

“The agriculture industry has significant opportunities to increase productivity by understanding and leveraging the operational intelligence that is already available,” said Susan Lambert, President and CEO of DN2K. “Creating SageInsights allows us to serve a broader range of the agricultural community.”

The partnership will involve integrating MyAgCentral with John Deere Operations Center and using the Deere API.  This This development will allowed the data management systems of both platforms to be available to producers and their advisors to enhance decision making.

“John Deere customers are faced with the challenge of feeding an increasing world population,” said May. “This joint venture aligns with our efforts to connect people, equipment, technology and insights to help farmers meet that challenge.” The creation of SageInsights, he added, allows for a nimble response to market needs and a continuation of DN2K’s innovative spirit in developing customer solutions.

The future could include applications for the construction industry and possibly other industries like energy, oil, gas and healthcare.

Agribusiness, data, John Deere

MachineryLink Becomes MachineryLink Solutions

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

MachineryLink SolutionsMachineryLink continues to better serve growers with new products and services.  Now they are announcing the addition of MachineryLink Sharing to that list.  The site is agriculture’s first peer-2-peer online sharing community.  Growers, retailers, and professionals can list their equipment for use during its idle-time and see what others are sharing when they need assistance.

“People helping people is what MachineryLink Sharing is all about,” they tell us.

Leading industry and non-industry news agencies, such as Farm Futures and Bloomberg Business News, recognize the enormous value the peer-2-peer sharing economy brings to the agricultural industry. The MachineryLink Sharing community goes live soon!

MachineryLink Combine Leasing will continue to operate has it has for the past 16 years.  Farmers can utilize a combine from the fleet of high-quality, meticulously maintained machines rather than handle the headaches of ownership.

FarmLink is committed to helping farmers and retailers be more profitable and productive by making data technology a reality in their businesses.  MachineryLink Solutions is an exciting new way to do that.

Agribusiness, Equipment, MachineryLink, Website

USDA Gives $17 Mil for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

John Davis Leave a Comment

usda-krystaMore than $17 million in grants to help America’s beginning farmers and ranchers is being given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This news release from the agency says the awards are through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“When new farmers and ranchers start their operations, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program can help them implement tested strategies and new ideas that in turn benefit all of us by reducing food insecurity, growing economic opportunities, and building communities,” said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. “Today, we are partnering with organizations who recognize that an investment in our beginning farmers and ranchers is also an investment in our future.”

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was first established by the 2008 Farm Bill and was continued in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides support to those who have farmed or ranched for less than 10 years. NIFA awards grants to organizations throughout the United States that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, which may take place through workshops, educational teams, training, or technical assistance.

The 2014 Farm Bill mandated that at least five percent of BFRDP funding must support veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. This year, 10 percent of the funding supports veterans and farming, while about 50 percent of the funding will serve socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

You can read the entire list of grant recipients here.

Government, USDA

Farm Bureau: Take Advantage of Fall Beauty for Photo Contest!

John Davis Leave a Comment

farmbureauThis is truly the most beautiful time of the year, and the American Farm Bureau Federation is reminding you not to let it go by without snapping some great pictures. And while you’ve got those great pics, you might as well enter them in the Farm Bureau Photo Contest, open to all state and county Farm Bureau members and staff above 18 years of age at the time of entry, including professional photographers.

“Fall is a great time to take photos of farmers and ranchers working safely during harvest, birthing calves, or even working at agri-tourism events such as pumpkin patches and corn mazes” said Kim Baker, AFBF’s assistant director, creative services. “The changing leaves in the fall offer a beautiful backdrop for agriculture-related pictures.”

Photo submissions will be used to accurately portray today’s agriculture and the safe practices of farmers and ranchers. Additionally, submissions will also be used for future publications, promotions and social media by AFBF and related companies. All photos submitted must exemplify safe practices on the farm or ranch.

The contest is open for submissions until March 31, 2016. Photos may be entered in four categories: Farm Families, Farm Labor, Technology and Consumer Outreach. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the top three placing photos from each category. First place winners will be awarded $150, second place $100 and third place $75.

Contest winners will be announced April 15, 2016, on Farm Bureau’s social media platforms and website.

Farm Bureau

USDA Breaks Down Benefits of TPP for Each State

John Davis Leave a Comment

USDAThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making its case on how the newly reached Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will benefit ag operations across the country. This news release says the USDA is releasing a series of fact sheets put together by the agency’s Foreign Agricultural Service that show how TPP will boost the U.S. agriculture industry, supporting more American jobs and driving the nation’s rural economy, state-by-state and commodity-by-commodity.

Trade ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam concluded TPP negotiations on Oct. 5 in Atlanta, Ga. Trade with these countries accounted for 42 percent of U.S. agricultural exports in 2014, contributing $63 billion to the U.S. economy.

“Increased demand for American agricultural products and expanded agricultural exports as a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement will support stronger commodity prices and increase farm income. Increased exports will support more good paying export-related jobs, further strengthening the rural economy,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “All of this activity benefits rural communities and keeps American agriculture on the cutting edge of global commerce. The TPP agreement will contribute to the future strength of American agriculture and helps to ensure that the historic agricultural trade gains achieved under President Obama since 2009 will continue.”

The United States runs an agricultural trade surplus which benefits farmers, ranchers, and all those who live, work and raise families in rural America. Agricultural trade supports more than one million American jobs. TPP will remove unfair trade barriers and help further the global expansion of American agricultural exports, particularly exports of meat, poultry, dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, oilseeds, cotton and processed products.

More information on TPP benefits is available here.

Trade, USDA