IFAMA is a leading agribusiness nonprofit that brings together the best minds from all sectors of food production and consumption to improve the industry.
During his two-year term as IFAMA’s president, Simons says he will be specifically seeking to focus the organization’s efforts on global talent development for agriculture. I have interviewed Thad many times over the last several years and I can tell you that he is positively passionate about this organization and this mission.
“IFAMA – a very cool organization,” Grant began his address to some 450 attendees from 28 countries following an introductory video on the forum theme – The Road to 2050: The Talent Factor. “It’s a cool organization because you focus on solutions, you focus on the future, you look at innovation.”
Grant talked about the tremendous need for young people in the food and agribusiness industry, comparing it to last year’s historic drought in the United States. “Today we’re in a different kind of drought – and that’s a talent drought,” he said. “You don’t see plants withering, you see ideas withering and innovation gets starved.”
To help reverse that trend, Grant announced Monsanto’s commitment of an additional $3 million to the Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program (MBBISP), focused on training the next generation of global rice and wheat plant breeders.
Challenges facing the seed industry were the topic of discussion at Tuesday morning’s general session at the 130th ASTA annual meeting. The state of agribusiness panel was composed of Ross Harvey from Ad Farm, Blake Sieker managing partner at The Context Network and Kevin Ferguson farm management extension area specialist with the University of Tennessee. The panel was moderated by Lowell Catlett, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at New Mexico State University.
Harvey opened the panel by discussing issues facing seed companies related to marketing. He mentioned three major areas that the seed industry must address related to marketing including the impact of producer consolidation, the human talent challenge and data driven decision making. Harvey also talked about marketing execution and management issues. “Use fewer tactics and don’t do some things and stay the course,” Harvey said. “Annual planning cycles don’t mean we have to reinvent our marketing initiatives every year.” According to Harvey, great marketing groups are disciplined, consistent, and are great at execution.
Listen to Harvey’s remarks here: Ross Harvey
The focus of Sieker’s comments was the status and future dynamics of corn and soybeans. He discussed the evolution of the business, industry trends and drivers and key characteristics that will keep the agriculture sector strong. According to Sieker those keys were “managing volatility, keeping pace with velocity and creating and providing value.”
Listen to Sieker’s comments here: Blake Sieker
Ferguson rounded out the panel by talking to attendees about the challenges that the American farmer faces in the changing industry. He discussed the change over that is occurring especially related to the transition of resources and management from one generation to the next. Additionally, Ferguson spoke on the challenge farms have to plan during profitable times. “Planning during the good times is often much more successful than planning during the bad times,” Ferguson said.
Listen to Ferguson’s presentation here: Kevin Ferguson
I also caught up with Ferguson after the panel and you can listen to my interview with him here: Ferguson Interview
During the annual membership meeting a couple of legislative resolutions were discussed to change policies for producers across the country. Chuck talked with Chelsea Good, the new Vice President for Government and Industry Affairs for the Livestock Marketing Association. She works with legislative efforts at both national and state levels.
Four key policy issues came to the forefront for members. Chelsea shared that resolutions were made in regards to animal disease traceability, the updating of the Packers and Stockers Act, LMA’s discion to stay neutral in country of origin labeling and the choice to appose the releasing of producer information by the government.
Chelsea stressed the importance of staying engaged with regulatory agencies, now more then ever, due to the fact that many of their leadership are at least two generations removed from agriculture.
Hello and welcome to the ZimmCast. This is episode #400! Seems like a milestone in a weekly agricultural podcast.
Ensuring that the Truth About Trade & Technology is told, TATT is hard at work. It has been a while since I’ve had a TATT Chat. But I got my chance during last week’s Bayer 150th Anniversary Celebration. Thanks to Michael Zirkle for the photo of me with Bill Horan, TATT Chairman and Mary Boote, TATT CEO. We talked about the big issues that TATT is currently working on. Here’s one of the things I like about TATT. Bill says “We’re able to say what a lot of companies and organizations would like to say but for political reasons and others they can’t say it.” And they don’t pull any punches!
Maybe one of the most important things to take place during the event was the board of directors and membership meeting. LMA is led by its members from the ground up. During this session attendees heard reports on industry and service issues, discussed committee recommendations and developed association policy.
Chuck caught up with Dan Harris, Vice President of LMA from Holton, KS about hot topics discussed and what the future holds for the organization. “We will continure to work on the animal handling situation and animal welfare here in the United States. We are going to contract with a third auditor and stay on top of this situation.”
Dan also talked about the use of technology in livestock marketing auctions and how they are looking into how auctions can advance themselves to stay connected with the ever-changing world of agriculture.
“What LMA is here for is to protect the local auction markets and protect the auction method of selling livestock in a competitive setting and gain the maxium amount of money for our producers.”
As this busy week on the agriblogging highway continues, I am leaving the last day of the American Seed Trade Association convention in the young but capable hands of our summer intern Maggie Seiler while I head to the 23rd World Forum of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) in Atlanta.
Incoming president of IFAMA is a man we know very well – Thad Simons, President & CEO of Novus International – so we are very much looking forward to talking with him about this group and its focus on developing the talent and technologies needed to create sustainable food security solutions.
As always, I will be uploading photos and audio here on AgWired and on AgNewsWire which are available for download to use by the media. Should be some great content coming from this one!
Last week I got to work right along side a bunch of champions. Champion like Lex Madden, Torrington Livestock Market and 1998 World Livestock Auctioneer Champion. Lex is pictured next to me second from right. This is the group of judges for the 2013 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship interview judging. In addition to Lex and myself, from the left are Jess LaFleur, LaFleur Brothers, Mark Barnett, Kentucky-Tennessee Livestock Market and Debra Davis, Alabama Farmers Federation.
We judged the 31 contestants in this year’s contest who each had to answer three questions posed by 2012 WLAC Bailey Ballou. I feel very honored to have been chosen to be a part of this group. Making careful judgement of the cream of the crop of livestock auctioneers is a responsibility and one I fully enjoyed.
Lex is a great example for any aspiring auctioneer and I think you’ll enjoy his remarks in my interview with him. He’s been attending the LMA Annual Convention since 1990 and says it’s a place where you make lifelong friends. He talks about the changes he’s seen in the industry and mentions technology as one of the biggest with the use of computers and growth in internet auctions.
Andy LaVigne, ASTA President and CEO, opened the ASTA 130th annual meeting by welcoming everyone to Nashville and taking a look at what attendees would hear about and discuss over the next two days. His opening remarks surrounded the evolution of the seed industry. LaVigne said the seed industry has a great opportunity to bring its message to the world, and it comes with the responsibility to feed the world.
LaVigne said participants could look forward to hearing more about advocating their industry and their strategic plan to do so. “You will see our focus in the future in our strategic plan is intellectual property,” LaVigne said. “It’s a responsibility to tell a story.”
He concluded his comments by saying, “Your association’s in great shape, and it’s because of you.”
Kelly Keithly was awarded the Honorary Lifetime Member award at the ASTA 130th annual meeting. Keithly is the president of Keithly-Williams Seeds (KWS). He has been involved in the seed business since he graduated from college. Keithly began the company in 1981 with his partner, Walt Williams, and two employees, and it has since expanded to 150 employees and in 18 western states and more than three-quarters of Mexico. KWS is now the largest seed dealer in North America with over $110 million in sales.
As a member of ASTA, Keithly has served as the 2008-2009 ASTA Chairman, a Director-at-Large and the Western Regional Vice President. He got involved with ASTA and had the opportunity to meet many of his suppliers and people in the industry. He said he also had the opportunity to learn about seed beyond vegetables. “The future for the organization is great because the staff and the people involved will continue to figure out how to meet those needs and changes and be a part of them,” Keithly said.
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A first-of-its-kind Honey Bee Health Summit concluded at Monsanto Company’s Chesterfield Village Research Center. The three-day event hosted by Project Apis m. (PAm) and Monsanto’s Honey Bee Advisory Council (HBAC) included nearly 100 members of the bee community representing academics, beekeepers, industry associations and government sectors.
Summit attendees heard from some of the nation’s top apiculture researchers on the challenges facing honey bees, an important ecosystem service provider and natural pollinator.
“Healthy honey bees are essential for productive agriculture and the environment,” said Jerry Hayes, who runs Monsanto’s bee industry efforts as the Beeologics commercial lead. “As a company focused on sustainable agriculture, Monsanto has made significant investments in collaborations and R&D for the betterment of honey bee health, including the formation of Monsanto’s Honey Bee Advisory Council.”
Year-one results of a three-year partnership between PAm and Monsanto also were provided during the summit. The goal of the partnership is to educate and provide forage with growers and landowners in California about the value of planting honey bee forage on land they would otherwise leave unused. The selected flowering plants provide pollen diversity to keep pollinating bees strong.
You may be seeing and hearing new “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” advertising this summer. The beef checkoff has updated the popular campaign and rolled out new print and radio ads. Watch and learn more about the strategy behind the beef ad campaign and one of the beef producer-leaders involved.
The new campaign targets millenial and Gen-X consumers ages 25-44, and features radio ads with a new voice, actor Garrett Hedlund, who grew up on a Minnesota beef operation.
That’s the question each “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” print advertisement asks. It’s answered with bold copy highlighting the nutritional benefits of beef along with tantalizing food photography reminding the consumer that delicious can, and does go right alongside nutritious. Each advertisement calls out an individual essential nutrient, like protein: “The Strip steak has lots of protein…and your appetite’s attention.” Another ad reminds you that a dinner with beef “has iron. The most lean, delicious and tender iron known to man.”
Bayer has hit the road with an interactive exhibit celebrating 150 years of research in science. The exhibit set off on it’s long voyage in February 2013 and recently made it’s way to the one and only stop in the United States at the Bayer Crop Science Headquarters in North Carolina.
Chuck got the chance to visit the facilities and see the exhibit first-hand. He also interviewed Beth Roden, Bayer Director of Corporate Communications, who shared some more insight into the companies goal behind this worldly exhibition. “It’s a great way to get people to connect with Bayer and all it’s businesses and get a flavor of what we do and what we bring to society.”
The Anniversary Tour covers 22 components. Each component represents a letter from Bayer’s mission of, “Science For A Better Life.” Next stop on the tour is Latin America.
The interactive exhibition shows how the company has improved the quality of life for millions of people around the world has begun its tour of some 30 sites in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Bayer has chosen a highly creative way to portray these subjects. The Anniversary Tour brings to life the company mission, “Science For A Better Life.” The exhibition will focus on the topics of health care, agriculture and high-performance materials.
The current and incoming chairmen of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) are pleased with the state of the industry and looking forward to a bright future.
Blake Curtis, Curtis & Curtis, has served as the chairman of the organization for the past year, which he says has gone by very quickly. “It has been a year of successes,” he said. “A number of things our past chairman put into effect we’ve been able to finish up this year – the strategic plan, intellectual property rights protection bureau – these are on-going projects that we’ve been able to bring to fruition and implement.”
Newly-elected chairman Craig Newman, president and CEO of AgReliant Genetics, is especially excited about the future of the industry and ASTA’s Future Seed Executives (FuSE) program. “I’m one of the mentors of one of the students and actually our company has already hired three of that group already,” he said.
Nashville has been a great venue in the heartland for the convention and both Craig and Blake are really looking forward to racing into the future for next year’s convention in Indianapolis.
I caught up with Aidan Connolly, vice president of corporate accounts with Alltech, recently while he was in Des Moines, Iowa for the 25th Anniversary of the World Pork Expo. I peppered him with questions from feed prices to the importance of nutrients in the diet to some of the diseases the pork industry is addressing and got the low down on some key issues affecting hog producers across the U.S. and the globe.
The interview was kicked off with concerns about this year’s harvest – too much rain in the Midwest has caused many farmers to be quite late in planting – and how this might affect feed prices. Connolly explained that many things affect feed prices, but mainly it comes down to supply and demand. He believes the demand side will stay very strong and foresees continued growth in China. However, Connolly said from his view, he remains optimistic about the harvest.
He stressed the important of getting the nutrients out of the diet. He believes the industry needs to be very concerned about intestinal health, gut health – the need to keep the pig healthy. “We need to be looking at any technologies that can improve feed efficiency.”
Alltech has products to help just this, including various enzymes and Actigen™. They are also working with antioxidants – all things Connolly said help the pig absorb nutrients better. “Basically I would say to any hog producer today, spend the money to improve feed conversion. It’s money well spent.”
The 130th American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) annual meeting opened today with a look into the future of the seed industry provided by Dr. Lowell Catlett, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at New Mexico State University. Catlett is a self-professed “weirdo” who provided his perspective on what it takes to look to the future with optimism and to be prepared to face the challenges of a growing world.
Catlett painted a picture of a world that is searching for ways to live longer and more fruitfully. He pointed to agriculture as a wonderful place to be for this development. “You want to have healthy people you can’t separate them from plants and animals and people,” Catlett said. He emphasized that agriculture has the plants and the animals and the people the world needs to stay healthy. Many times throughout his presentation, Catlett called today the “golden age of agriculture” and challenged those in the room to embrace it and keep moving forward.
Doing it all with one piece of equipment is something both farmers and construction workers would like to do, which explains why one of the most interesting pieces of equipment at the New Holland Construction Media Event held recently at company headquarters in New Holland, Pa., was one of their tractor-loader-backhoes. Jon Hume, product specialist with New Holland, told Chuck about one of their most popular TLB models, the B95c.
“The reason it is very popular is it has a lot of unique features,” Jon said, including a straight-arm loader and the ability to put multiple attachments with quick couplers on the front. Moving back, he said you’ll notice a big roomy cab with air conditioning and heat and a four-speed transmission with a top road speed of over 22 mph. “And as you swing around to the backhoe, the important part, we have mechanical controls or this one has pilot controls [that] allow us to have different change patterns between backhoe and excavator,” so that different operators can change patterns with a flip of the switch.
Jon said it’s all these features and more that really separate New Holland from the competition.