Invite to 2014 ARC Annual Meeting

You are invited to the 2014 Agricultural Relations Council Annual Meeting. It will be held Tuesday, June 24 at 2:00 PM to Thursday, June 26 at 10:00 PM at the Madison Concourse Hotel in Madison, WI.

ARC Invite

Just two months remain before the annual ARC meeting and the agenda is complete.

The meeting will be held at the historic Madison Concourse Hotel. The downtown hotel is one of the nation’s premier independent hotels. ARC members will get a rate of just $149 per night.

The format for the meeting will now look like this:
Tuesday, June 24 – Board meeting and dinner. (Any members are allowed to attend the board meeting to present your ideas.)
Wednesday, June 25 – Registration at 8 a.m., with the meeting beginning at 9 a.m. Meetings will run throughout the day.
Thursday, June 26 – ARC business meeting, followed by Madison-area farm tours that will provide a unique flavor of Wisconsin agriculture. Upon returning from the tours, the evening banquet will feature the Golden ARC Awards presentation, along with the naming of the most recent inductees in the Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame.

For additional ARC meeting information, go to http://www.agrelationscouncil.org/ for agenda and registration information. Contact us at arc@gandgcomm.com for additional questions.

See you in Madison!!

Typo Keyboard for iPhone Review

Chuck's Typo KeyboardIf you wanted one I hope you ordered it in time.

After several weeks of using my iPhone 5S with a Typo Keyboard I’m ready to let you know what I think. But first you need to know that sales of the device are on hold right now. I guess this is due to a lawsuit filed by Blackberry. Hope that gets worked out soon. Right now you can sign up to their mailing list which I assume means you’ll be notified if/when it goes on sale again.

I got a lot of response when I first did a post about the new keyboard case. Many people, like me, loved the keyboard on our old Blackberrys. This looked like it might be a great accessory for our iPhones. It is. But maybe it’s too much like the old Blackberry keyboard although it is not exactly the same.

So, let’s get started. A very important feature of the Typo is that it’s powered by its own battery. It doesn’t use the phone battery. The Typo battery lasts a long time before needing charging. I was able to go almost a week before needing to recharge the Typo.

With a little use I became comfortable holding the phone vertically and resting the little ledge on the back of the Typo on two fingers while I typed with my thumbs. The keys have curved ridges so that your thumb fits onto the key you want to press easily. They curve for each thumb with the change right down the middle of the keyboard. You also get a click sound that let’s you know you pressed the key cleanly. An unusual multiple click lets you know you pushed more than one key. Those sounds are very helpful.

The keyboard can be backlit by clicking on a little light bulb image/button. This works great and is extremely handy.

Since the Typo covers the iPhone home button it has a key dedicated to that purpose on the bottom right corner of the keyboard. Here’s where we run into a problem. When I place the phone/keyboard into my pocket I often bump that button. This turns the keyboard on immediately to the iPhone home screen without having to do a swipe. That’s not good and it is annoying. However, by creating a password for the iPhone the Typo doesn’t take you directly to the iPhone home screen accidentally. This is the main negative I have found.

Something else that I found out on my first flight though is that when you place the phone in airplane mode you’ve just turned off Bluetooth and the keyboard is no longer functional. So if you still want to use the iPhone in airplane mode you have to take the Typo off to do so. This is simple and easy but it is still something I ran into that confused me at first.

When you use the Typo with apps like Messages you get a lot more screen real estate to see since the virtual keyboard is not being used. But if you still want to use the virtual keyboard with the Typo attached you can.

The Typo allows you full access to the iPhone controls and jacks and feels very sturdy. It does add to the length of the phone but that did not bother me at all. It affords as much protection as the case I was using before getting the Typo.

That’s about it. I like it. I use it a lot and can even still one hand type on it if I need to.

Pros: Physical keyboard that I can type on faster with less mistakes. Battery lasts forever.
Cons: Keyboard home key too easy to press when not being used and in your pocket. Pricey. Not available for sale at the moment!

Queen Bee of Germany Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-annetteWe already met the queen bee of the new Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center, now meet her counterpart at the first Bayer Bee Care Center in Monheim, Germany – Annette Schürmann.

The German center opened at the global headquarters for Bayer CropScience in 2012. “We built it upon the research work that had been over the last 30 years at that site,” said Annette, adding that they get visitors ranging from school children to diplomats.

She says that beekeeping is different in Europe compared to the United States. “The most important difference we have is that in Europe we mainly have hobbyists doing beekeeping,” Annette said. “They don’t make any money out of pollination.” That compares with the large scale beekeepers in the U.S. who will travel to pollinate crops across the country from almonds in California to oranges in Florida.

Still, Europe faces some of the same issues. “The varroa mite was introduced to Europe much earlier than to the U.S.,” said Annette. “So we do have a longer history in dealing with that pest.”

Listen to my interview with Annette here: Interview with Annette Schürmann, Monheim Bayer Bee Care Center


Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Syngenta Survey Confirms Ag Loves Digital Tech

Syngenta_BiotechA majority of growers and other agricultural professionals turn to online sources first for general information about their industry, and over half of them use mobile or handheld devices 10 or more times per workday. These are some of the key findings in a recent Syngenta survey, in which more than 300 readers of Thrive, the company’s production-focused magazine and website, responded to questions about their online habits and appetites.

Anthony Transou, Internet marketing manager at Syngenta, is not surprised that, like other industries, U.S. agriculture is embracing digital communications—from social media campaigns and blogs to precision farming and recordkeeping.

“Digital platforms give users a way to share and learn from others in the agricultural industry, whether they are around the corner in their communities or across the globe,” he said. “One of our key concentrations is to create optimized content that can spread across channels and be consumed anywhere, so there is a seamless experience from desktop to mobile users.”

Transou’s team has made several recent adjustments and additions to the Syngenta digital platform. For example, new websites like Tools to Grow More Soybeans and the Quilt Xcel®Fungicide Stress Management Training Module help growers locate information about specific issues or products more easily. Another recent online development is the Know More, Grow More agronomy blog, which features tips and local news updates from Syngenta agronomic service representatives. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels are also convenient ways for growers to interact with Syngenta via questions, comments, contests and general discussions. Continue reading

Book Review – Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale

Three Green Rats An Eco Tale book coverTru dat rat. Ok, so if you don’t have kids or hang out with kids, you may not have any idea what I just said. But the three green rat brothers of Tintown’s Broken Bottle Lane encourage us to walk softly and reduce, reuse and recycle in the children’s tale, “Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale“. Written by Linda Mason Hunter and illustrated by Suzanne Summersgill this rat tale is both fun and educational and the perfect book to review on Earth Day (April 22, 2014).

This wonderfully illustrated and highly clever book takes place in Tintown where the protagonist, Uppity Ethel Misrington, the richest rat in town, wants to build a big box store to sell stuff. Her itty, bitty niece Maybelline Burlingame Helena Stu discovers the green pastures and projects of the green brothers (Oliver, Wilbur and Tom, each with unique green skills) and becomes hooked on nature and green health. As a result, she starts to grow. When catastrophe strikes sickly Ethel, with the help of Maybelline and the green brothers, the day is saved and Ethel becomes a convert to living with less stuff and the city follows suit.

With the town saved, and the brothers heroes, shy brother Tom sums up the direction the town needs to take. “Look around, citizens. You are knee-deep in your own trash, held captive by technology, and so caught up in the rat race you don’t have time to think.”

“We are ruining our corner of Mother Earth, creating a place where no living being can thrive. We’ve cut down our tress, poisoned our air, and dumped sewage in our rivers and streams. Three Green Rats An Eco Tale book imageIt’s time to step back and ask ourselves, ‘Is this what we really want for our children?’ We must learn to live simply. We must walk softly upon Mother Earth and stop talking more than we need to survive.”

I luv it people! L-O-V-E it.

I highly recommend this book. Take some advice from the three green rats this Earth Day and learn to walk softly. This is a must read book for both children and adults to get you on the forward thinking path about how to reduce your impact and live more simply. In celebration of Earth Day, win an e-copy of Three Green Rats: An Eco tale. Email me your contact information with the subject line: Three Green Rats and the winner will be announced next week in the DomesticFuel.com newsletter.

Lilly to Acquire Novartis Animal Health

A $5.4 billion deal announced today will create world’s second-largest animal health company.

elanco-lillyEli Lilly and Company intends to acquire Novartis Animal Health in an all-cash transaction “to strengthen and diversify Lilly’s own animal health business, Elanco.”

The transaction will result in Elanco becoming the second-largest animal health company in the world in terms of global revenue, will solidify its number two ranking in the U.S., and improve its position in Europe and the rest of the world. “This deal creates a global animal health leader able to deliver even more innovation and value to our customers,” said Jeff Simmons, senior vice president of Eli Lilly and Company and president of Elanco Animal Health. “Combining these two great companies will enable us to provide more diversified brands, reach more market segments, expand our global footprint, and strengthen our pipeline, capabilities and expertise.”

Simmons joined Lilly’s chairman, president and chief executive officer John Lechleiter in making the official announcement this morning. Listen to their press availability here:
Lilly CEO John Lechleiter and Elanco president Jeff Simmons announce Novartis deal

Great Green Gadgets

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with some new gadgets?

Got an email this morning from an industrious PR person touting a book called “Fool’s Return” by Lynda Chervil, “a thought leader and green technology advocate.”

Chervil, who studies the science behind green technology, says environmental awareness has ramped up production of affordable goods that can shrink individuals’ carbon footprints. She shares four devices she says would make a nice gift for Mother Earth on her day.

water-clockAmong her suggestions is the Bedol Water Alarm Clock. “Imagine a water-powered alarm clock that’s loud enough to scare you out of bed! Bedol’s water clocks run strictly on tap water – no batteries, no nothing else.”

There’s also the HybridLight Solar Flashlight that never needs batteries, can be charged from any light source, and they always work. And the Pama Eco Navigator Satellite Navigation system that helps save gasoline by providing you with the most energy-efficient routes to your destinations, and feedback on your car’s performance.

Last but not least, the iGo Green Power Smart Wall that helps “cut the suck” of the power “vampires” that use electricity whether we’re using them or not – everything from coffee pots to laptops.

Go on – give your Mother Earth a hug today and get a green gadget!

Introducing MyNewHolland.com

MyNewHolland.comThere’s a new online community open to all farmers and of course customers of New Holland. Today is the launch of MyNewHolland.com. This virtual community is set up to provide a meeting place to share information, contribute to farming related discussions and access premium contents and services. It is very simple to create your account by visiting MyNewHolland.com. Then you’ll have access to the features currently active.

A list of features includes:

  • My New Holland: a new online community for all
  • The Spotlight: discussions on a variety of topical subjects in the farming world
  • The first Spotlight: ethanol and renewable energy
  • Valuable information resources: instructional videos, white papers and more
  • Premium content: owners of New Holland equipment and Precision Land Management products gain access to useful materials that will help them get the most from their machines
  • Easy registration and log in through social networks

The Spotlight discussion is a key feature of MyNewHolland.com. Each discussion will feature a guest farmer or industry expert who supports a farming-related topic. All My New Holland members are invited to contribute their comments, opinions, material or images, driving the conversation forward. Each discussion will be open for a number of weeks; subsequently a white paper will be produced and made available for downloading.

Ron Clauson MyNewHolland.comThe first Spotlight discussion topic is “Ethanol: Renewable Energy for America – Profit for American Farmers.” Our guest is Indiana farmer Ron Clauson. His farm has produced corn for ethanol production for the last eight years and he’s passionate about it.

“One hundred percent of the corn and soybeans we produce go into ethanol and biodiesel,” Clauson says. “It makes me proud to be able to say we market our crops to produce fuel that reduces dependence on imports.”

There are several questions being posed in this first Spotlight discussion for you to respond to and your feedback is highly appreciated.

  • Are you producing a crop for ethanol production? If so, what type and why?
  • How would a change in the Renewable Fuel Standard impact your community and you personally?
  • What do you think about the misleading claims against ethanol by critics and what can farmers do about it?

I am very proud to be assisting our long time sponsor in the daily management of MyNewHolland.com in this startup phase. To get some more perspective on it I spoke with New Holland Director of Marketing for North America, Mark Hooper, while visiting headquarters in Pennsylvania recently. He says there are many more features planned for MyNewHolland.com as the community grows and develops.

You can listen to Mark talk about MyNewHolland.com here: Interview with Mark Hooper, New Holland

So there you have it. The website is live and available for you to create your personal login and let New Holland know what you think, especially about the first Spotlight discussion. See you there.

Zimfo Bytes

    Zimfo Bytes

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a Veterinary Biologics License for Titanium 5 + PH-M, a new vaccine that protects cattle against the viruses and bacteria most associated with bovine respiratory disease.
  • Sakata Seed America, Inc. and Alf Christianson Seed Co. announce this week that the two companies will merge, effective immediately.
  • Aerial Precision Ag, Phoenix, AZ, announced that it has been acquired by RoboFlight Systems Inc., Greenwood Village, CO, a geo-referenced aerial data company that processes, analyzes, and manages multi-spectral aerial imagery data.
  • The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) is now accepting nominations for the Agricultural Retailer of the Year Award.

Queen Bee of Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-14-beckyDr. Becky Langer is the manager and queen bee of the Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center that just opened last week in North Carolina.

“It’s a dream to be able to share it with everyone,” said Becky on the big day last Tuesday. She explains that the center will serve as both a research and educational facility. “We’ll bring different groups in here and they’re able to get hands-on experience with the displays,” she said, noting they are able to adapt the information level to groups from school children to scientists in order to really “open the dialogue and the education among everyone who is interested in the honey bee.”

“I think people are really thirsty for knowledge and education of bees,” she said. “They’re critical to us, whether it’s your own backyard and little garden, whether it’s a farmer or a broad acre grower that has a lot of crops that need to be pollinated … they’re of interest to everyone,” Becky says. Interview with Dr. Becky Langer, Bayer Bee Care Center


Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

What do you do with your Easter eggs?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Has spring sprung for you yet?”

It looks like many across the nation are still shoveling snow. Good thing Easter weekend looks warmer for most. Here in Missouri the Dogwoods are in full bloom and the grass is getting greener by the day.

Our poll results:

  • Still snow on the ground – 27%
  • Still too cold – 24%
  • Seeing positive signs – 18%
  • Late spring for sure – 15%
  • Same as normal – 3%
  • Too wet – 9%
  • Too dry – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What’s your favorite use for Easter eggs?”

The incredible edible egg is in the spotlight this time of the year, but what do you do with all those hard boiled, multi-colored eggs on Monday? Eat them, toss them or watch them rot?

Farmland in the Big Apple

Director James Moll (3rd from left) and film editor Tim Calandrello pose with farmers David Loberg, Leighton Cooley, Sutton Morgan, Ryan Veldhuizen and Brad Bellah attend the Private New York Premiere of "Farmland" during the Tribeca Film Festival (Getty Images)

Director James Moll (3rd from left) and film editor Tim Calandrello pose with farmers David Loberg, Leighton Cooley, Sutton Morgan, Ryan Veldhuizen and Brad Bellah attend the Private New York Premiere of “Farmland” during the Tribeca Film Festival (Getty Images)

Farmland the movie was screened last night at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), which has been actively involved in promoting the film across the country, reports that the premiere of Farmland in the Big Apple was a huge success with two packed theaters screening the film.

In an age where most Americans have not stepped foot on a farm or ranch or even talked to those who grow and raise the food we eat, Farmland takes an intimate look at the lives of six young farmers and ranchers, all of whom are now responsible for running their farm operation. Before the showing, director James Moll and the six farmers and ranchers involved in the film took a moment to host a press conference with ag media.

The featured farmers are:
Brad Bellah – 6th generation cattle rancher in Texas
Leighton Cooley – 4th generation poultry farmer in Georgia
David Loberg – 5th generation corn and bean farmer from Nebraska
Sutton Morgan – 4th generation vegetable grower in California
Ryan Veldhuizen – 5th generation hog farmer
Margaret Schlass – CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) grower in Pennsylvania

Ways you can support the film are by going to farmlandfilm.com and with hashtag #farmlandfilm. There’s a list of showings by state and you can also expect to see Farmland on your own television via OnDemand in the future.

You can listen to the press conference here: Farmland the movie New York press conference

Summer Precision Ag Training

Insights WeeklyDid you know Ag Leader offers a variety of SMS training sessions to help answer your questions about the software? That’s right, whether you’re more comfortable listening in on a webinar from your home computer, or attending an in-person, hands-on classroom training session, Ag Leader has a variety of courses to fit your needs.

Jessica Ahrens, software training specialist, says the software is always changing and customers need to stay up-to-date on the new features in order to best utilize them for their operations.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Ahrens says Ag Leader provides a wide variety of training for customers. Find out what’s available to you.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Ahrens says the training enables customers to troubleshoot and answer questions on their own instead of spending time on the phone with software support specialists, even though they are always available as a resource.

Listen to Ahrens explain

Be sure and sign up today for your training!

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.

Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass

Real Easter GrassDoes it ever seem like you’ll never get all the plastic Easter basket grass out of your house when the holiday is over? Do you find it years later? Still in mint condition?

Solution: Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass

Here’s part of The Story:

Tim’s Easter Basket Grass was conceived of when I began collecting hay from the neighboring farm to fill my sons’ Easter baskets. I thought it added to the Easter basket experience as it seemed to make the Easter Bunny a more genuine creature. Being an animal, wouldn’t he/she be more likely to use fresh, fragrant hay rather than a manufactured, plastic product?

AdFarm Brings Ag to Kansas City’s Crossroads District

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 2.39.17 PMAdFarm, a full-service marketing communications agency, is the first tenant to inhabit the 1925-constructed building after the property’s transformation to a multi-use commercial space.

“Moving is not only refreshing for clients and AdFarmers, but the new office is also more welcoming and conducive for hosting industry events,” says Roger Reierson, AdFarm’s president and board chairman. “The location is close to the energy and creativity that brings people to the Kansas City Crossroads District – it’s fitting for AdFarm.”

Located in Kansas City, Mo., at 2101 Broadway Boulevard, the new 6,768-square-foot office space can accommodate future expansion in the agency’s Kansas City location. While the new address is only 1.8 miles from the old, relocating the AdFarm office proved to be a substantial process – which is captured in an one minute time-lapse video below.

The interior design uses AdFarm’s signature reclaimed barn wood throughout. Also, loyal to the agency’s agriculture foundation, is a silo-stylized lobby and grain bin-inspired boardroom. Now the office greeter, a weathered antique windmill – the AdFarm-Kansas City icon – is anchored to the floorwith dramatic ground-lighting.

AdFarm partnered with Kansas City-based architecture firm Finkle|Williams and 3D Development to create thework space. The three-level building, listed in National Register of Historic Places and expected to commission a LEED Gold certification, has been updated with high-efficiency systems and insulated glass in the original warehouse windows – maintaining unobstructed views of the downtown skyline. Other building tenants include Pezzettino Italian Deli and Market andValorem Consulting.

“AdFarm’s excited to relocate to a new space that represents aconfluence of agriculture tradition with the verve and pulse of Kansas City’s Crossroads District – we’re investing in the agency, agriculture and Kansas City; it’s very rewarding,” says Les Kahl, AdFarm U.S. managing partner.

Fix-A-Flat

20140414_085725Living in a small town most of my life, I’ve spent countless hours driving the back country roads whether they be rock or gravel. On Sunday afternoon when we were kids, dad would pile us in the old brown pickup that had a hole in the floorboard by the stick shift and take us for a drive. He’d show us this old place and that old house, we’d get stuck in mud as we learned to drive and I was always amazed at how he could get us out. I thought I was “big time” when I got to shift…he would tell me “up one and over one” to get to second gear.

But spending that much time on rock roads also meant flat tires. When the road grader would come by, he would loosen things on the road that may have bounced out of those old trucks we used for Sunday drives. Nails, screws, pieces of metal…whatever had been tossed in the beat-up old truck bed which also had holes in it!

The first flat tire I ever had was when I lived in Omaha and at the time, mom and dad had AAA so I called them, used mom’s name, and they fixed my flat and I went on my way. Since then, I’ve had numerous nails and slow-leaking tires, but I take them to the filling station for patching. I know back in Driver’s Ed I learned how to fix a flat and could probably do it in a pinch, but am thankful I’ve never had to.

Things were different back when Grandpa’s family owned their first vehicles. Listen as Grandpa recounts a story about this tire-patching kit and what all it entailed.

Listen to Grandpa explain

Makes changing a tire today sound easy!

Until we walk again …

Tour of Bayer Bee Center

bayer-bee-sarah1Meet Sarah Myers, the apiarist in charge of the North American Bayer Bee Care Center. She is our guide for this YouTube tour through the newly opened facility with a taste of what it has to offer for visitors. You can register for tours on the Bayer CropScience website.

You can also find lots of photos of the new center here:
Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center
Grand Opening Photo Album

Take it away, Sarah!

Congresswoman Visits Bayer Bee Center

bayer-bee-ellmersEven though she had to miss the grand opening ceremony due to a conflict, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) made it a point to make it out to see the new Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park.

“The research and development that they are doing here is going to help us grow more food into the future,” she said in an interview. “It is vital to the North Carolina economy but also to the world.”

Ellmers added that bees are an important part of the discussion about genetically modified crops. “It’s a discussion that’s being had on the national level,” said Ellmers. She is pictured here at the Bee Care Center with Bayer’s Robyn Kneen who was instrumental in the development of the center.

I also asked the Congresswoman about the new farm bill and why she is a strong supporter of immigration reform for farmers in her state. Interview with Rep. Renee Ellmers


Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

End of the USDA Telephone Newsline

r2rThis week will mark the end of an era as the USDA Radio Newsline will no longer be available via the telephone starting tomorrow. I can remember recording that newsline on a reel-to-reel machine just like this one when I first started in the business back in 1980. At that time, the newsline was also sent out on small reel-to-reel tapes. That soon gave way to cassettes, and then the internet came along and changed everything.

According to the USDA announcement out today:

It was in 1968 when the Department of Agriculture made its news stories accessible through phone lines. It was known then as The Spot News Service. Now 46 years later, thanks to technological changes and upgrades the telephone news service will end effective Friday, April 18, 2014.

The USDA Radio Newsline will still be available electronically through the USDA.gov website. For your convenience you will still get the daily email highlighting all of the stories produced for that day.

FYI, you can get the news line stories via iTunes as a podcast and/or an RSS feed in your email, as well as, the same way you get the weekly features.

You really have to give USDA credit for adopting new technology quickly and keeping that newsline as relevant as ever, especially to Gary Crawford who has been there for the whole evolution. I can’t say I miss recording newslines off the phone on reel-to-reel, but I do wonder what will come next!

Zimfo Bytes

    Zimfo Bytes

  • Archer Daniels Midland Company announced three significant actions in the company’s ongoing portfolio management: an agreement to sell the company’s South American fertilizer business, pursuit of the sale of the company’s chocolate business, and the acquisition of the remaining stake of Alfred C. Toepfer International GmbH.
  • More than 150 area member-owners and guests joined the Wheat Growers’ Frederick agronomy staff to celebrate the opening of the Wheat Growers Frederick Agronomy Center.
  • Since the purchase of the Sil-All range of forage inoculants in 2011, Lallemand Animal Nutrition’s team of forage experts have developed a new product formulation in the United States to best meet the needs of today’s producers.
  • Semex sire 0200HO00402 Mainstream Manifold reached the pivotal Millionaire Sire mark at Semex, joining 11 other elite Semex sires that have each produced over one million doses of semen.