America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Announces Final Four

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

The public will once again help to choose the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The National Pork Board honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs follow the We Care ethical principals and who is committed to sharing the farming story with the American public.

“The four finalists demonstrate how pig farmers embrace the We Care ethical principles as their daily standard of care,” said National Pork Board President Steve Rommereim, a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “They represent these principles by being the best in pig farming.”

The 2018 finalists are: Patrick Bane of Arrowsmith, Illinois; Bill Luckey of Columbus, Nebraska; Brad Lundell of Kiron, Iowa; and Kevin Rasmussen of Goldfield, Iowa. The four finalists will meet with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them. Through Aug. 29, the public can vote once a day per person per email address for their favorite finalist at The winner will be announced the week of Oct. 1 based on the judges’ scores and the online voting.

Patrick Bane – Arrowsmith, Illinois
Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Patrick Bane, whose family has been raising pigs for three generations. Bane raises 74,000 pigs on his farm in west-central Illinois, where he focuses on protecting public health, hiring the best people and maintaining herd health.

Bill Luckey – Columbus, Nebraska
Farming and raising pigs is a family tradition for Bill Luckey, who is a fourth-generation farmer. Luckey, along with his wife and three sons, market 10,000 pigs a year. They also raise cattle, corn and soybeans on their farm.

Brad Lundell, Kiron, Iowa
Being a good caretaker of the pigs drives Brad Lundell’s passion. Learning from five generations of family farming, Lundell hopes consumers see why pig farming is family-oriented. With the help of his wife Sarah, and four children, they also raise turkeys, corn and soybeans.

Kevin Rasmussen, Goldfield, Iowa
Employee care is important in providing a safe product at KLR Pork, where Rasmussen markets 26,000 pigs a year from his farrow-to-finish farm. As a fourth-generation Iowa farmer, he considers the employees who work for him as family, and that makes all the difference in the product they produce.

AgWired Animal, Pork

ACE Makes Case for Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) released a White Paper on “The Case for Properly Valuing the Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol,” coinciding with a general session panel at the 31st annual ACE conference in Minneapolis last week.

The panel highlighted the paper in a discussion on updates to lifecycle modeling and opportunities on the horizon for ethanol as a low carbon fuel. Members of the panel included Bill Hohenstein, Acting Director of the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA; Ron Alverson, member of ACE’s Board of Directors representing Dakota Ethanol and a chief contributor to the White Paper; and Brendan Jordan, Vice President of the Great Plains Institute.

“The ACE White Paper makes a compelling case that lifecycle GHG modeling must reflect the latest science if low carbon fuel programs are to achieve their desired results,” said Jordan. “The Great Plains Institute agrees there is a huge opportunity for existing corn ethanol plants to lower their carbon footprint through innovative technology and updated lifecycle modeling.”

“Since the direct effects on soil carbon stocks of each biofuel feedstock crop can have a very large impact on carbon intensity, it is crucial that this accounting is included in the modeling,” Alverson said. “The trend is biofuel’s friend — petroleum-based transportation fuel lifecycle GHGs continue to rise and biofuel lifecycle GHGs continue to improve.”

Click here to read the White Paper and listen to the panel and interviews with Jordan and Alverson below.

Low Carbon Fuel panel with Bill Hohenstein, USDA; Ron Alverson, Dakota Ethanol; and Brenden Jordan, Great Plains Institute –
ACE18 Low Carbon panel

Former ACE President Ron Alverson, Dakota Ethanol, talks about White Paper on Low Carbon Benefits of Corn Ethanol
Interview with Ron Alverson, Dakota Ethanol

Interview with Great Plains Institute Vice President Brendan Jordan
Brendan Jordan, Great Plains Institute

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE, Audio, Corn, Ethanol

Corteva Agriscience Making a Name at Ag Media Summit

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Corteva Agriscience continued the longstanding partnership of its legacy companies with the Ag Media Summit as a gold sponsor this year.

The company is working to ensure all agriculture stakeholders know the new business name and what it stands for.

“[It’s] very important for us as Corteva Agriscience in our first year to get our name out there and talk to a lot of these great ag journalists and explain to them who we are and what we’re going to be, and just get out there and make sure that we’re connecting with everyone,” said Gregg Schmidt, head of external communications.

The company’s name combines “cor” meaning heart and “teva” meaning earth, celebrating a rich agricultural history for both Dow and DuPont, the companies that merged to form the new venture.

“We’ve got a presence all around the world, but we are excited to connect with our consumers and customers and be the only pure play agriculture company in the world when we eventually spin off in 2019,” said Schmidt, who noted that senior leaders at Corteva have been meeting with farmers, customers and ag journalists to be sure the Corteva name is one everyone understands.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Gregg Schmidt here: Interview with Gregg Schmidt, Corteva Agriscience

2018 Ag Media Summit Photo Album

Ag Media Summit, Audio, Corteva Agriscience, DowDuPont

Animal Ag Bites 8/20

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • The IDEAg Group LLC announces a new partnership with Sioux Nation Ag Center at Dakotafest 2018. Dakotafest takes place Aug. 21-23 at Schlaffman Farm in Mitchell, South Dakota. Over 500 exhibitors will offer trade show booths, educational sessions and family-friendly offerings. Download the Dakotafest mobile app at for show information.
  • The challenges and questions generated by market and regulatory changes regarding the use of antibiotics in food animals will be discussed by industry stakeholders, policy makers, academics and federal analysts at a workshop Sept. 6-7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service is organizing this workshop in collaboration with Farm Foundation. There is no charge to participate in this workshop, however, registration is required by close of business on Aug. 30, 2018.
  • Horse owners are relying on their veterinarians more and more for vaccination and deworming program recommendations, according to the 2018 American Horse Publications online survey, sponsored by Zoetis. Survey respondents said equine veterinarians are the No. 1 influence on horse-owner product purchase decisions for both vaccines and dewormers.
  • A team of food science students from Brigham Young University won the 2018 Idaho Milk Processors Association new product competition Saturday. They earned $10,000 at IMPA’s annual meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, for their first-place-winning new product idea — Sparkling Scoops, a carbonated, hard-pack ice cream, sold in single-serve, pull-top cans.
  • The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and FAMI-QS, the Quality and Safety System for Specialty Feed Ingredients, renewed the strategic agreement of cooperation for the development of specific certification programs for the expansion of the FAMI-QS Code in the U.S. animal food manufacturing industry. For more information on the program, visit
  • The CattleFax Trends+ Cow-Calf Webinar on Sept. 12, 2018, will address escalating trade tensions with China, renegotiating NAFTA, and continued expansion across all three U.S. protein sectors, subjects which add to market uncertainty and shape market expectations for the future. Producers and industry leaders can visit to access program details and register for the webinar.
  • Arizona native Chad Page has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Sheep Heritage Foundation‘s Memorial Scholarship.
AgWired Animal, Animal Agriculture, Animal Bites, Dairy, Food Safety, Horses, Sheep

Pork Checkoff Makes Big Pig Impression

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The National Pork Board is making a big impression with a new “virtual pig experience” – first debuted at World Pork Expo and on display last week at Ag Media Summit.

“Our pig experience includes about 1100 pounds of a display and the pig head comes down and it gives you the Google “nap pod” experience,” said Kylee Deniz, NPB Director of Marketing and Producer Outreach, who came up with the idea and had it developed. Once participants settle into the pod they get to view short, informational and totally adorable video featuring a little boy talking about how pig farmers care for their animals.

Deniz says there are two of these pig heads, which they affectionately call Kelly and Dan, after the designers who developed them.

Learn more about Kelly and Dan in this interview: Interview with Kylie Deniz, National Pork Board

2018 Ag Media Summit photo album

Content creation at Ag Media Summit is sponsored by
Coverage of the Ag Media Summit is sponsored by FMC
Ag Media Summit, Audio, Pork Checkoff

Ethanol Industry Loses Pioneer Merle Anderson

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Merle and Lee Anderson at 2012 ACE Conference

Back in 1987, a man by the name of Merle Anderson saw the need for a grassroots organization to support a new use for corn that would help farmers as well as the entire country. His vision became the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and members of the organization are celebrating Merle’s long and wonderful life this week at the 31st annual meeting after his passing just days ago.

Some of us were hoping to see him one last time this year, since it was back in his home state of Minnesota, but he passed away Monday August 13 at his home in Climax, Minnesota with his sweet wife Lee by his side. He was 96 years old.

Besides being an ethanol industry pioneer and visionary, Anderson was a local and national leader for the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association and The Red River Valley Potato Growers Association, with appointments to the National Potato Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Potato Advisory Committee. He served 42 years on the Red River Valley Cooperative Power’s board of directors. He is also a recipient of the Nikola Tesla Award for his service to the electric power industry and most recently, he received the Meritorious Service Award from Farmer’s Union.

Among the many honors he received in his lifetime from numerous organizations, Merle had the distinction of having the highest award given by the American Coalition for Ethanol named after him. The Merle Anderson Award was first given in 1997 and has been bestowed on presidents, members of Congress, and many others who have helped promote ethanol. This year it was presented to one of Merle’s long time friends in the industry, Owen Jones.

We interviewed Merle several times over the years, but my favorite was in 2012, when I interviewed both him and Lee. Listen to that here: Interview with ACE Founder Merle Anderson

Services for Merle will be at Climax Lutheran Church in Climax, MN.
Visitation: from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm with a 6:30 pm prayer service on Sunday, August 19
Funeral Service: 10:30 am on Monday, August 20

Read more from the Grand Forks Herald.

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE, Audio, Ethanol

Zimfo Bytes 8/17

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • Three sponsors will be honored with the Distinguished Service Citation during an onstage ceremony at this year’s National FFA Convention & Expo, held in Indianapolis Oct. 24-27. Culver Franchising System of Prairie Du Sac, Wis.; DFA – Dairy Farmers of America of Kansas City, Mo.; and Lincoln Electric/The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio, will receive the citation for their outstanding contributions to FFA and agricultural education on the national level.
  • If you’re thinking about how to pay for college next year — Think Rice — because the National Rice Month Scholarship video contest is here. Entries are due October 31. For more information and to submit an entry, visit the NRM scholarship page.
  • Potatoes USA welcomes its newest team member, Kendra Keenan, as an Assistant Marketing Manager. Kendra brings a background in food marketing to her role at Potatoes USA including time at Sun World International, The Spice Way San Diego and at Fresh Origins Microgreens.
  • The Iowa Biodiesel Speakers Bureau is now live on the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website. It is a collection of biodiesel experts from across the state who share the goal of educating Iowans about the benefits of using biodiesel.
  • Start making your plans for the 2018 NAFB Convention today. Join more than 650 agricultural industry leaders November 7-9 in Kansas City for three days of learning, newsmaker sessions, networking, and more.
  • Hemp Geo Institute will host “Growing Hemp for Yield,” their seventh Industrial Hemp Symposium, on August 25 in Oklahoma City, OK.
  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced further reorganization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), intended to improve customer service, strengthen offices and programs, and save taxpayer dollars. The Economic Research Service (ERS), currently under USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area, will realign once again with the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) under the Office of the Secretary. Additionally, most employees of ERS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will be relocated outside of the National Capital Region. The movement of the employees outside of Washington, DC is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
  • Kris Folland, Pat Sullivan and Craig Bangasser are ready for their close-ups. The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council directors (Bangasser’s term ended in 2017) will appear on the second of a pair of episodes of Discovery’s “Diesel Brothers” show. The second episode chronicling the build of “Indomitus” will air 9 p.m. CDT on Monday, Aug. 20.
FFA, NAFB, Potato, Rice, USDA, Zimfo Bytes

2018 ACE Conference Kicks Off

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) kicked off its 31st annual conference at the Renaissance Depot Hotel in Minneapolis discussing some of the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

The theme of the 2018 conference is “Grit Wins” and ACE CEO Brian Jennings commended attendees for staying strong in the face of attacks oil refiners have launched on ethanol this year. “Wrangling over market share with the most profitable companies in the world has always required our industry to be resourceful — to punch above our weight,” Jennings said. “But we have leverage before the midterm election. Candidates need your vote. Rural America needs to speak out about the fact that farmers are losing money while refiners have the best of both worlds — fat profit margins and minimal RFS compliance costs.”

“Enlisting the help of our allies in the Senate, the many Governors who support us, and through candidates who need our vote this fall, we must keep grassroots pressure on the White House and EPA to make good on President Trump’s promises to maintain 15 billion gallons in the RFS, which means reallocating the small refinery exemptions, and to issue a clean RVP rulemaking for E15 and higher blends,” Jennings added.

Listen to Jennings’ comments here: ACE18 Opening remarks from CEO Brian Jennings

You can also watch the opening general session in this video:

2018 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE, Audio, Ethanol, Video

Saving the Orange

Carrie Muehling 1 Comment

The American Seed Trade Association and CropLife International have launched the first video in a new series about gene editing in plants.

The video focuses on the very-real challenge of citrus greening—a devastating disease which has led to a nearly 80-percent decrease in Florida citrus production over the past 12 to 15 years.

Profiled in the video, Dr. Fred Gmitter, University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center, calls citrus greening “the worst possible nightmare imaginable.” By using innovative breeding methods like gene editing, Dr. Gmitter and his team are working to improve orange trees, making them more resistant to the disease.

Click here to watch the video.

AgWired Precision, ASTA, Citrus, Video

Case IH Improves Steiger and Magnum Series Tractors

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Case IH announces updates to both its Steiger® Series and Magnum™ Series tractor lines for 2019.

The Steiger® Quadtrac® and Rowtrac™ tractor lineup includes new features that reinforce the series’ already proven performance. Several drive system advancements, including a new high-speed Rowtrac design, join a factory-fit enhanced telematics offering that increases management capability and flexibility. In addition, all Model Year 2019 tractors used in agriculture applications now include an industry-exclusive warranty and a one-year advanced subscription to Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Connect™. These innovations help ensure that Model Year 2019 Steiger tractors will deliver even more power, productivity and efficiency for producers.

“For more than 20 years, we have been relentless in refinement of our track technology, giving us a head start and allowing us to lead the pack,” said Mitch Kaiser, Case IH Steiger tractor marketing manager. “This series of tractors is already strong, smart and simple, and these advancements are helping producers get even more power, performance and productivity that leads to lower total cost of ownership.”

Model Year 2019 Steiger tractors also feature an improved track design for high-speed roading, capable of up to 25 mph.

Model Year 2019 Magnum tractors also include a new warranty program, factory-fit telematics, and advanced subscription to Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Connect™ farm management system, along with a new 21-inch track option and factory-installed Goodyear® LSW® tire options.

For more information, visit your local Case IH dealer or

AgWired Precision, Case IH, Equipment, Tractor