4R is Right for @GROWMARK Award Winner

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

growmark-4r-jasonJason Wesslund, area manager for the eastern half of Heritage FS in central Illinois, was one of five crop specialists recently named as the first recipients of the new GROWMARK Endure 4R Advocate award. Wesslund supervises four agronomy locations and four energy territories and also leads education and training of sustainable best management practices at Heritage FS.

Wesslund uses the 4R approach to make recommendations because it’s the right thing to do. “The 4Rs are the four basic principals – right source, right rate, right time, and right place,” Wesslund says. “When we make recommendations for our growers … we want to do everything we can with what we’re given so the crops can use the products effectively.”

Wesslund says the concept has been around for a long time but it has grown in recent years and GROWMARK has been strongly promoting it. “We’re leaps and bounds beyond where we were ten years ago,” he said. “Everyone is moving in the right direction.”

Listen to Jason talk more about the award and his commitment the 4R concept here. Interview with Jason Wesslund, Heritage FS

Agronomy, Audio, Award, Fertilizer, FS System, GROWMARK

Tickets on Sale for Farm Aid 2016

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 10.39.21 AMFarm Aid 2016 tickets are officially on sale today, Monday June 27th beginning at 10:00 am EDT. This year’s will be in Bristow, Virginia, on September 17th.

Farm Aid will feature Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Alabama Shakes, Sturgill Simpson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and many more artists.

“Folks are educating themselves about where and how food is grown – they’re hungry for the truth. Family farmers bring us good food, protect our soil and water, and strengthen our country. The Farm Aid concert is a day for us to honor that truth and keep working for family farmers.” — Willie Nelson

Farm Aid’s annual concert is an all-day music and food festival, featuring a unique lineup of artists and genres and family farm-identified, local and organic foods with its own HOMEGROWN Concessions®. In Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village, attendees will have the chance to meet farmers, engage in hands-on food and farm activities, and learn about the ways family farmers are enriching our soil, protecting our water and growing our economy, in addition to bringing us good food for good health.

Ag Group, Entertainment, Food

Syngenta Honors Women in Ag with RFD-TV Series

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

FarmHerThe world “farmer” generally conjures up the image of a man, but Syngenta is helping to change our perceptions with a new television series on RFD-TV.  Airing this fall, “FarmHer” will showcase the women in agriculture and the impact they have on the industry everyday.

“Syngenta recognizes how valuable women are in agriculture all across America,” said Dan Burdett, head of Customer Marketing, Syngenta. “From driving tractors on the farm to discovering innovations in the lab, women continue to make major contributions to our industry.”

The series will showcase real women, highlighting the theme, “love the land, care for the community and feed the people.”  The episodes will tell their stories using still photography, video and insights from the women to help others understand the impact they are making.

“I founded ‘FarmHer’ in 2013 to begin changing the image of agriculture—to include women in that image through photographs and stories,” said founder Marji Guyler-Alaniz, who is also a professional photographer. “This partnership with RFD-TV and Syngenta takes what I started with ‘FarmHer’ and launches it to the next level.”

The series will begin in September.  Check your local listings for the RFD-TV channel in your area.  Take a sneak peak at  www.syngentathrive.com.

Agribusiness, Syngenta, Women

ADC Appoints Farmer Advisory Board

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

ADCThe Agricultural Data Coalition (ADC) is adding a ten person farmer advisory board to help the organization as it develops a  data management reponsitory.

“The full potential of our agricultural data is not currently being realized because of management, storage, portability and delivery challenges,” said Joe Luck, Assistant Professor and Precision Agriculture Engineer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a founding member of the ADC.  “The mission of the ADC is to build a farmer-friendly product that will aid farmers in getting the most out of the vast amounts of data they collect every day, and the expertise this group of producers brings to the coalition will prove to be essential to that mission’s success,” he added.

Members come from diverse backgrounds, geographically representing seven states and also representing growers of corn, soybeans, cotton, sorghum, wheat and potatoes.   Providing a well-rounded board was important to ADC, to insure the group is meeting the needs of all growers.

“As we go across the country and see different production systems for different commodities, we want to create tools that can be utilized for a broad set of needs,” said Coble, who is a W.L. Giles Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at the school. “We are excited to have a diverse group of producers from across the Midwest, the Plains, the West and the South to provide invaluable insight into the unique needs of these different regions and their various crops.”

ADC’s mission is to create a neutral, independent warehouse where farmers can securely store and control the data generated by their tractors, harvesters, aerial imaging and other devices. Over time, that information can be scrubbed, synchronized and transmitted in an efficient and uniform way to third parties — whether they be researchers, insurance agents, government officials, farm managers, input providers or anyone else the farmer chooses.

During the first phase many of these advisory board members will be working with ADC to help drive user needs.

“Producers are excited about the era of data-driven agriculture, but they have significant short-term data management burdens and concerns about controlling the data that represents their ‘trade secrets,'” said Matt Bechdol, ADC’s interim executive director. “Henry Ford is famously quoted that his customers could have ‘any color car they wanted, so long as it was black.’ Getting feedback from farmer leaders is key to building functionality and control that growers will use while making sure it’s the ‘color’ they need.”

Other ADC founding members include: The American Farm Bureau Federation, AGCO, Auburn University, CNH Industrial, Crop IMS, Ice Miller LLP, Purdue University, The Ohio State University, Raven Industries, and Topcon Positioning Group.

Ag Group, data

What Does #Brexit Mean for Ag?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Did/do you have a summer job on a farm?”

Growing up on a beef cow/calf operation in Southwest Missouri meant my summers were spent in the hay field or showing my Herefords at local, state and national livestock shows. I was thrilled to see such a diverse response to this week’s poll. No matter the type of farm work, it teaches young people what hard work and dedication is all about. Even though my farm work experiences were year round and sometimes I wasn’t a big fan, I wouldn’t trade lessons learned on the farm for the world.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes, feeding cattle – 17%
  • Yes, hauling hay – 20%
  • Yes, on a dairy – 6%
  • Yes, building fence – 15%
  • Yes, in row crops – 20%
  • No – 20%
  • Other – 2%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What does Brexit mean for ag?

The United Kingdom has voted themselves out of the European Union. Markets around the globe are down and it seems time will only tell the complete global impact. What does this mean for agriculture. With the value of the Euro in question, will this reduce agricultural trade and impact the agricultural economy?


35 Years Experience Advocating at #ASTAannual

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

asta-16-fastToday’s news might make you believe the fight against agriculture technology is a modern issue, but Katie Fast of Oregonians for Food and Shelter told an audience at the American Seed Trade Association annual meeting, her organization has been dealing with consumer misinformation since 1980.

This grassroots network of farmers and foresters began focusing on the responsible use of resources, crop protection products, and biotechnology when a local county faced a ban on aerial application of a pesticide.  Since then they’ve been working to educate consumers as they attempt to pass food labeling initiatives and other farming and forestry regulations.

But educating the consumer isn’t the only thing they’re working towards.  “In Oregon we’re a specialty crop state, very different from the midwest,” Fast explains.  “And so we see a need to educate our farmers who are using the technology on [advocacy] more, because they want to advocate …, but they need more information as well.”

In fact, currently OFS is partnering with CropLife to develop messaging and tools for growers to be better advocates for themselves.  Fast sees growers as their own best offense, but it is her job to help them do it successfully.  With more than 35 years of experience behind them, it seems OSA is in the right place to give that support.  But Fast admits things today are very different than they were when the organization was founded.

“I would say we are dealing with the same issues from the 80s but its been piling on top. And there are more challenges. There are more challenges on the farm for the operators in terms of new regulations and we’re trying to hold some of that back.”

Listen to Cindy’s full interview here: Interview with Katie Fast, Oregonians for Food and Shelter

2016 ASTA Annual Meeting photo album

Ag Group, ASTA, Audio

#Ethanol Markets Outlook from @Novozymes

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Current market conditions affecting the ethanol industry today were a big topic of discussion at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Milwaukee this week.

Jack Rogers, global marketing manager in charge of Novozymes bioenzymes portfolio, says one of the challenges the ethanol industry is facing today includes a big dip in few-16-8commodity prices so oil, corn and ethanol prices have come down dramatically.

We also see the supply demand balance. It’s very delicate at this point so margins for the producers are certainly compressed. As we look toward the near term outlook, margins are going to be tight. There will be a big emphasis on efficiency for the plants,” explained Rogers.

Like a great company should, Novozymes is responding to the market changes with keeping their customers’ needs top of mind. One way Novozymes is doing business during this time of lower commodity prices is working the different channels whether it be governmental or straight talk with the consumer.

Novozymes is certainly very active and dedicated in promoting the good messages we have with ethanol,” Rogers said. “So one of the key things we do want to do with ethanol is make sure that consumers understand the benefits. And when they do, we can actually grow the market. We’ve got a great product and the more we can grow the market the more room we can create for everyone and what we’re doing here.”

Novozymes is continually innovating the ethanol market. Rogers noted that going back to the aforementioned conditions, producers really have to find new ways to optimize using technologies and tools that weren’t before available. “What we’ve done is broaden our product portfolio to make sure we have products that are finetuned to whatever process conditions, to whatever performance and cost targets that our customers have.”

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Jack Rogers, Novozymes

You can find photos from the 2016 FEW here: 2016 FEW Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes
Audio, Corn, Ethanol, Novozymes

Industry Pleased with #GMO Labeling Compromise

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee Thursday announced a bipartisan compromise on GMO labeling legislation in advance of the pending implementation of a state law in Vermont.

“Our marketplace – both consumers and producers – needs a national biotechnology standard to avoid chaos in interstate commerce,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) about the compromise reached with Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “I urge my colleagues to support this approach. It is a far better alternative than Vermont’s law with its destructive ramifications up and down the supply chain.”

CFSAFIndustry organizations reacted with support for the Senate compromise. “This is the solution needed for the entire food chain in our nation from farm to fork: consumers, farmers, food producers, manufacturers, retailers and small businesses,” said Coalition for Safe Affordable Food co-chairs Pamela Bailey of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Chuck Conner with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “This solution increases consumer access to additional product information without stigmatizing a safe, proven technology that is relied on by American farmers. While Vermont’s GMO on-package labeling mandate is set to take effect on July 1, we remain confident that a national solution can be passed into law by Congress before the negative impacts of Vermont’s law become pervasive.”

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) urged the Senate and House to act swiftly to pass the legislation.

“The introduction of this solution comes at a critical time when Congress must act to restore sanity to America’s food labeling laws,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “It is imperative that the Senate and House both take up this issue immediately to avoid a situation in which all American consumers pay a high price and gain little actual information.”

Other groups coming out in favor of the compromise include the American Soybean Association and National Farmers Union. American Farm Bureau expressed some reservations, however. “We are reviewing this legislative proposal, and over the next few days will determine how it fits with our policy,” said AFBF president Zippy Duvall. “”The mandatory feature holds significant potential to contribute to confusion and unnecessary alarm. Regardless of the outcome, we continue to believe a national, voluntary standard remains the best approach.”

GMO labeling was a big topic of discussion at the American Seed Trade Association annual meeting this week in Portland, Oregon. ASTA president and CEO Andy LaVigne says the full Senate and House will still need to take action on the compromise. “They can get the law passed after July 1 but companies now have to start making decisions on what they’re going to do in case that doesn’t happen,” he said. “The thing we don’t want is for Vermont to run the country. We need to have a federal law.” Interview with Andy LaVigne, ASTA

AFBF, Biotech, Government, NCGA, NFU

Make Plans to Attend InterDrone 2016

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

285x90InterDrone’s debut event in 2015 brought in an impressive 2,797 delegates from 48 nations and returns to Las Vegas Sept. 7-9 in a premier location: The Paris Las Vegas Hotel. The ZimmComm family of agricultural news sites is once again a media sponsor and wanted to share how this year’s event will top the debut just a year ago.

Three distinct tracks define the event in 2016: Drone TechCon for builders; Drone Enterprise for those using drones for commercial activities including precision agriculture; and Drone Cinema: where image quality and range are paramount. In total it will feature 120 sessions for engineers, software developers, executives, investors, regulators and commercial drone “buyers and flyers” in more than a dozen vertical market segments. 4,000+ attendees from 6 continents and 125+ exhibitors.

InterDrone also has a partnership with CTIA Super Mobility 2016, being hosted less an one km away, in which InterDrone attendees get free expo access (a $200 value) to visit 1,000 mobile infrastructure exhibitors, with shuttle buses running between the sites. Receive a $150 discount off the prevailing rate of the 3 day InterDrone pass by inserting the code FLYIT or a $25 discount off any InterDrone expo pass with code EXPO when prompted at www.interdrone.com.

aerial, Ag Group, Technology, UAV

Get to Know Emily Skor, CEO, @GrowthEnergy

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ZimmCast 515After meeting Emily Skor during the recent EPA RFS hearings in Kansas City I got to sit down and visit with her at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Milwaukee, WI. Emily is the new CEO of Growth Energy. At her very first FEW event she was the keynote speaker. You can listen to her speech here.

Emily SkorPrior to joining Growth Energy Emily was vice president of communications for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. While there she had much success in building strategic communications plans where you harness the support of consumers, thought leaders of stakeholder groups and basically a broad coalition of voices. She says you can harness that support in a way that affects policy.

The position with Growth Energy intrigued her because as a Minnesota native she loved the idea of working for an industry that is so important to the heart of America. She sees that the ethanol industry has built a megaphone to champion issues and the cause in the marketplace. Now the conversation needs to expand beyond the corn belt and the beltway to all consumers.

Emily says there are three key areas of focus for Growth Energy. One is continue to make sure the regulatory and policy environment is pro-ethanol. Another is helping build the marketplace, the infrastructure. And finally to drive consumer demand for ethanol.

Learn more about Emily and her work for Growth Energy in this week’s program: ZimmCast with Emily Skor, Growth Energy

Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here.

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Audio, Biofuels, Ethanol, Growth Energy, ZimmCast