GROWMARK Visibility Project Honors Past, Looks to Future

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

GROWMARK is honoring the past and looking towards the future as a building visibility project brings changes to what employees and visitors see within the Bloomington-based company’s headquarters.

Several employee focus groups helped the project’s organizers to make decisions about how to best reflect GROWMARK’s noble purpose and how each interaction within the company supports feeding and fueling the world.

“We have a long, rich history in the Midwest, and part of that is that we want to honor our past but we also want to look towards our future and where we’re headed and the exciting things that we’re doing,” said Becky Ropp, GROWMARK communications director.

Visible changes within the building include montage shadowboxes highlighting company history, as well as individual employee stories that will be rotated a few times each year. The project began in public spaces of the building, but will eventually update conference rooms and other areas, as well.

Listen to Carrie’s interview with Becky here: Interview with Becky Ropp, GROWMARK

Audio, Cooperatives, GROWMARK

FMC Working on Soybean Gall Midge Control

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

A new pest is popping up in soybean fields across the country – the orange gall midge.

“It’s a very tiny fly that lays its eggs in the stem of a soybean plant,” said FMC Agricultural Solutions subject matter expert Bob Hooten during an interview at the annual NAFB Trade Talk last month in Kansas City. Bright orange maggots develop from the eggs and eventually kill the plant.

The pest was reported in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota this year and FMC is working with university researchers in those states. “The universities have done DNA mapping and are trying to figure out the species now and then we’re trying to figure out control measures and how to manage this pest to keep it from expanding further,” said Hooten.

Learn more in this interview.
NAFB18 Interview with Bob Hooten, FMC - Gall Midge

2018 NAFB Convention Photo Album

AgWired Precision, Audio, Crop Protection, FMC, Insecticides, NAFB

USGC Releases Latest Corn Harvest Quality Report

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

A warm and moist growing season resulted in near-record yields and good quality for the 2018 corn crop, according to the U.S. Grain Council’s (USGC) 2018/2019 Corn Harvest Quality Report.

The report revealed the majority of 2018 corn crop conditions were rated as good or excellent during the growing season, leading to strong plant health, good kernel size and a projected crop of 371.52 million metric tons (14.626 billion bushels), the third-largest crop on record. Nearly 94 percent of tested U.S. corn samples rated at U.S. Grade No. 2 or better, thanks to a warm, wet vegetative period and a moderate pollination and grain-filling period. The drier, moderate temperatures during the second half of the growing season promoted healthy plants, good test weights and low kernel damage.

Average test weight of 58.4 pounds per bushel (75.1 kilograms per hectoliter) was higher than the five-year average and indicates good kernel filling and maturation. Average 100-kernel weight of 35.07 grams was lower than 2017, but above the five-year average.

All but one sample, or 99.5 percent of samples, tested below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action level for aflatoxin (20 parts per billion). One-hundred percent of the samples tested below the FDA advisory level for deoxynivalenol (DON), or vomitoxin, for chicken, cattle, hogs and other animals.

The 2018/2019 Corn Harvest Quality Report provides timely information about the quality of the current U.S. corn crop at harvest as it enters international merchandising channels. This information will be supplemented by a second report, the 2018/2019 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, scheduled for early 2019, that measures corn quality at export terminals at the point of loading for international shipment.

AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Corn, Grains, USGC

Latest AEM Ag Tractor and Combine Report

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The latest Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM) Ag Tractor and Combine Report from November shows overall sales remained positive.

U.S. Sales of self-propelled combines gained 9.2 percent in November compared to last year, and U.S. sales of 4-wheel-drive tractors increased 60.7 percent month-over-month. November year-to-date U.S. sales showed a 16.6 percent growth for combines and 15.9 percent growth for 4-wheel-drive tractors.

Total November sales of 2-wheel-drive tractors declined .9 percent compared to last year: a 2 percent gain for under-40 HP tractors, a 7.8 percent drop for 40-100 HP tractors, and a 4.4 percent gain for 100-plus HP tractors.

November year-to-date growth for overall U.S. sales of 2-wheel-drive tractors grew 6.9 percent; under-40 HP tractors gained 9.3 percent; 40-100 HP tractors increased 1.4 percent; and 100-plus HP tractors grew 5.5 percent.

“Equipment sales overall have been resilient this year, but we are starting to see some softening s the year winds down. Trade issues remain a major concern, especially the uncertainty caused by tensions with China. On a brighter note, we are encouraged by the administration’s efforts regarding year-round availability of E-15 fuel. And we’re urging swift action on the farm bill to provide some stability for farmers dealing with uncertain markets and lower farm income,” said Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president, Ag services.

Click here to see the full report

AEM, AgWired Precision, Equipment, Tractor

Beltway Beef on Farm Bill, Water Rule, and Trade

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The latest episode of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Beltway Beef podcast features comments from the association on all the news that came down last week, including the new water rule and the new farm bill.

Allison Rivera discusses the final 2018 Farm Bill that is on its way to the White House for President Trump’s signature, Scott Yager discusses this week’s rollout of a new and improved water rule, and Kent Bacus reviews NCBA’s testimony on trade with Japan and previews his testimony about efforts to gain access to the European Union.

Beltway Beef is a weekly podcast from NCBA in Washington, D.C., giving an up-to-date summary of top policy initiatives.

AgWired Animal, Audio, Beef, Farm Bill, NCBA

USDA Launches ReConnect Program

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

USDA is offering up to $600 million in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s new ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service.

“High-speed internet e-Connectivity is a necessity, not an amenity, vital for quality of life and economic opportunity, so we hope that today rural communities kick off their rural broadband project planning,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Projects funded through this initiative must serve communities with fewer than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload. Approved projects must create access speeds of at least 25 mbps download and 3 mbps upload.

“When Congress wrote the 1996 Telecommunications Act, it promised rural America it would one day have broadband Internet service equal to the rest of the country. We’re not quite there, but 25-megabit downloads and 3 megabits up is the sort of speed we’ve been waiting for,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

To help customers with the application process, USDA is holding a series of online webinars and regional in-person workshops. The full list of upcoming public webinars and workshops can be found at the ReConnect Program’s resource portal at

AFBF, AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, Internet, USDA

Ten Years of Ethanol Market Growth

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Growth Energy is celebrating ten years of advocating for ethanol since it was created in 2008. This edition of the Driving Ethanol podcast is the final installment of our series on the 10 year anniversary of Growth Energy and how the market for U.S. ethanol has grown in the past decade.

When Growth Energy was first formed in 2008, U.S. ethanol exports totaled just 158 million gallons. Last year, the total was 1.37 billion gallons and this year exports had already surpassed that amount by the end of October. Meanwhile, domestic demand has continued to grow and more retailers are starting to offer E15, with higher blends up to E30 positioned to provide the octane needed for more fuel efficient cars in the future.

This podcast includes comments from Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Global Markets Craig Willis, and President Donald Trump.

Growth Energy Driving Ethanol podcast 12-17-18

Subscribe to the Driving Ethanol podcast

AgWired Energy, Audio, Ethanol, Growth Energy

Animal Ag Bites 12/17

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • The American Feed Industry Association is proud to announce the launch of its new website to better communicate the animal food manufacturing industry’s key legislative and regulatory priorities to policymakers and the public. The revamped, mobile-responsive website will also feature an optimized search function and resource center that allows its roughly 5,500 monthly web visitors quickly find and share content about the animal food industry.
  • Registration is open for the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2019 Stakeholders Summit, themed A Seat At The Table. The event, now in its 18th year, will be held May 8-9 at the InterContinental At The Plaza Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. Early registration discounts are available through February 1 (pending availability). To register, visit
  • The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C., is accepting internship applications for the Fall 2019 semester. Positions for the Fall semester (Sept. 3, 2019 – Dec. 13, 2019) include a public policy intern and law clerk. The deadline to submit an application for either position is March 15, 2019.
  • Dairy farmers and industry partners gathered in Boise for Dairy West‘s recent annual meeting. The group, formerly known as United Dairymen of Idaho, gave out several awards at the event to honor dairy farmers and industry leaders who have had a significant impact on the dairy community.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

Former Agriculture Secretaries Meet

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Just days after the passing of former Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland, four former secretaries met with current Secretary Sonny Perdue to discuss the latest agricultural issues.

Those in attendance included former Secretaries John Block (1981-1986), Dan Glickman (1995-2001), Ann Veneman (2001-2005), and Mike Johanns (2005-2008). The Secretaries discussed several issues including trade, wildfires, agriculture research, infrastructure, cell-based meat, and rural prosperity.

Former Agriculture Secretaries Bob Bergland, John Block, and Clayton Yeutter at 2012 NAFB Convention

The last time the four were together at USDA was in 2012 to celebrate the agency’s 150th anniversary. Three other former secretaries still living are Mike Espy (1993-1994), Ed Schafer (2008-2009), and Tom Vilsack (2009-2017). Espy recently lost his bid to replace retiring Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran in a high profile runoff election.

Bergland, a Minnesota farmer who served as secretary under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981 died December 9 at the age of 90. He also served as vice president and general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association until he retired in 1992.

In 2012, Bergland joined former secretaries Block and Yeutter at the NAFB Convention. Enjoy his opening comments here – Former ag secretary Bob Bergland at 2012 NAFB

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, NAFB, USDA

USFRA Announces New Chair, Board Members, and Podcast

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Maryland crop farmer Chip Bowling, representing National Corn Growers Association, is the new chair for the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) elected last month at the coalition fall board meeting along with new executive committee and board members.

Bowling, who is the fourth chairman of the group, is joined by a new executive committee:
• Vice Chair: Scott VanderWal, American Farm Bureau Federation
• Treasurer: Blair Van Zetten, American Egg Board
• Secretary: Anne Meis, representing Nebraska Soybean Board
• At-Large: Jennifer Houston, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
• At-Large Premier: Michael Parrish, Bayer
• Immediate Past Chairman: Brad Greenway, National Pork Board

USFRA also added two new members to its 15 member board – Joe Koss, president and chief executive officer of Culver’s Franchising System and Brody Stapel, President of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.

In addition, USFRA introduced a new “Farm, Food, Facts” podcast for food retailers, sustainability supply chain leaders and food trade media. The podcast, hosted by SupermarketGuru Phil Lempert, discusses top stories about today’s food.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, USFRA