USDA Deputy Provides Farm Bill Update

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing Thursday to hear from USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky regarding implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.

“At the Secretary’s direction, our implementation cadence and priorities corresponded to the conditions testing the resilience of the American farmer,” Censky told the committee. He gave updates on implementation of the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, conservation programs and the Hemp Production Program in advance of the 2020 planting season.

Listen to his opening remarks below and read full testimony.

Senate Ag Hearing - USDA Deputy Steve Censky (5:14)

The announcement out of EPA this week regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) came up during the hearing. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) was first to ask about it. “I can just assure you directly from conversations with the president and the president is insistent that EPA administer this to make sure we achieve 15 billion gallons,” said Censky. Listen to that exchange:

Sen. Smith and USDA Deputy Censky - EPA RFS proposal (3:07)

Audio, Biofuels, Ethanol, Farm Bill, USDA

Zimfo Bytes 10/18

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • Novus International, Inc. announced that François Fraudeau plans to retire as President and Chief Executive Officer after 28 successful years with the company. Novus’s Board of Directors will hire a former Novus Executive, Dan Meagher, to be the next President and CEO, effective April 1st, 2020.
  • Ringneck Energy of Onida, S.D. has joined the Renewable Fuels Association as its newest producer member, with CEO Walt Wendland being elected to the RFA Board of Directors at the association’s recent annual meeting in Minneapolis.
  • Swanson Russell welcomes Michael Bartsch, Heather Caha, Stephen Geiser, Leah Giess, Lisa Schumacher and R.J. Shrimpton.
  • The Western Growers Board of Directors has unanimously selected Dave Puglia as the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. Puglia will succeed current President and CEO Tom Nassif, who is retiring after 18 years as a forceful and effective leader in the nation’s agriculture industry, on February 1, 2020.
  • The Farm Credit Administration board has selected Roger Paulsen to serve as FCA’s chief examiner and director of the agency’s Office of Examination. Mr. Paulsen succeeds Robert Coleman, who was named FCA’s chief operating officer in August.
  • The American Feed Industry Association’s Board of Directors has officially appointed Constance Cullman as president and chief executive officer of the association and the president of the industry’s public charity, the Institute for Feed Education and Research.
  • The American Farm Bureau Federation supports the Seeding Rural Resilience Act sponsored by Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which is designed to help farmers respond to stress and decrease the stigma associated with mental health care in rural communities. The full text of the Seeding Rural Resilience Act is available here.
  • The Board of Directors of Rodale Institute, the global leader in regenerative organic agriculture, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeff Moyer as Chief Executive Officer.
Zimfo Bytes

Global Ag Innovation Program Launched

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

During the World Food Prize activities this week in Des Moines, America’s Cultivation Corridor™ announced the launch of the Cultivo Global Ag Innovation Program™ for startup companies and entrepreneurs. The new program will bring international start-ups to Iowa for a 10-day immersion experience, training and networking.

“Iowa producers feed and fuel the world, making us the perfect host for the 2019 World Food Prize,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. “We know that the solutions to global food security and sustainability challenges can only be solved by a combination of innovations, technologies and new practices developed by the best and brightest minds around the world. The Cultivo Global Ag Innovation Program is an exciting new opportunity to bring global entrepreneurs and innovators to Iowa to share their ideas and engage with world-renowned researchers, industry leaders and farmers.”

America’s Cultivation Corridor will host and coordinate the Cultivo Global Ag Innovation Program in partnership with its investors and supporting organizations.

America’s Cultivation Corridor is working to accelerate the development of new technologies to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population in a sustainable way. Stakeholders include Iowa State University, Corteva Agriscience, Deere & Company, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Pork Producers, Kent Corporation, MidAmerican Energy Company, Ames Economic Development Corporation, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Farm Bureau, ISG, Kemin, REG, Sukup Manufacturing, Sukup Manufacturing, Co., Summit Agriculture and Vermeer Corporation.

Technology, World Food Prize

Precision Ag Bytes 10/16

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • Aaron Magenheim, CEO of AgTech Insight welcomes John Jefferson to his consulting team. John Jefferson is the Managing Partner of Sage Synergies, which he founded shortly after over 20 years at AT&T.
  • Bayer’s digital agriculture division, The Climate Corporation, announced a partnership between its industry-leading FieldView™ digital farming platform and Tillable, a first-of-its-kind digital marketplace connecting farmers and landowners.
  • September was a fairly solid month overall for retail sales of tractors and combines in the United States and Canada, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Total farm tractor sales in the U.S. increased 18.7 percent in September compared to last year, while self-propelled combine sales increased 12.3 percent. Year to date, total U.S. tractor sales are up nearly 5 percent, while sales of self-propelled combines are up 1.8 percent.
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes

Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Southeastern Farmer of the YearWe couldn’t attend Sunbelt this year but thanks to their staff we’ve got this big announcement from the show this week.

Michael H. McDowell of Vernon Hill, Virginia has been selected as the overall winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award for 2019. He is a fourth generation Halifax County farmer and cattleman who grows mixed grass hay, annual hay, and alfalfa and raises award-winning registered Angus cattle. McDowell was named overall winner at the Willie B. Withers Luncheon held during the opening day of the 2019 Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show. He was chosen as Farmer of the Year over nine other state winners who were finalists for the award.

This is the thirtieth year for the Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. It recognizes excellence in agricultural production and farm management, along with leadership in farm and community organizations. The award also honors family contributions in producing safe and abundant supplies of food, fiber, and shelter products.

As the Southeastern Farmer of the Year, McDowell will receive a $15,000 cash award plus $2,500 as a state winner from Swisher International. He will also receive the use of a Massey Ferguson product for a year from Massey Ferguson North America, a $500 gift certificate from the Southern States cooperative, a Columbia jacket from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply, a smoker-grill from Hays LTI, and a Henry Repeating Arms American Farmer Tribute edition 22 rifle from Reinke Manufacturing Co., Inc., the irrigation company, through its partnership with Henry Repeating Arms.

The other state winners this year include: Hank Richardson of Centre, AL, Chris Isbell of England, AR, Charles Obern of Clewiston, FL, Robert L. Dickey of Musella, GA, Danny Cunningham of Murray, KY, Ted E. Parker of Seminary, MS, Johnny Wishon of Sparta, NC, Sidi Limehouse of Johns Island, SC, and Jerry Ray of Tullahoma, TN.
Read more in the release here.

Farming, Sunbelt Ag Expo

2019 World Food Day

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

2019 World Food DayWelcome to World Food Day 2019. This isn’t just a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations event but they put a lot of effort into it. Let’s take for example their suggestions for farmers and agribusinesses to make diets healthier, available and affordable.

The women and men who work in agriculture play a vital role in providing nutritious, affordable food. Whether they work on small family farms or in small food enterprises, their decisions will help shape the future of food and nutrition. Their knowledge and traditional practices are vital in a world where food production faces many challenges such as climate change and limited natural resources. These actions are a starting point for farmers and agribusinesses who want to make healthy diets available and build a #ZeroHunger world.

If you have time to check it out, feel free to comment with your thoughts on their ideas. They also offer a variety of diet choices in their Take Action section. We all want to end hunger but it is a very complicated issue with no simple solution in my opinion.

fao, Food, International

Biofuels Groups Disappointed With EPA Proposal

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Less than two weeks ago biofuels organizations and stakeholders were praising the Trump Administration agreement to promote biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Now that the details have been made public, not so much.

The notice released by EPA on Tuesday “does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated.”

Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way we calculate renewable fuel percentages.

“If the Oct. 4 announcement from EPA was a big step forward, today’s supplemental proposal is a step backward,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Geoff Cooper. “It falls short of delivering on President Trump’s pledge to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard and leaves farmers, ethanol producers, and consumers with more questions than answers. It is baffling to us that the proposal sets the three-year average of exempted volume using the very same DOE recommendations that EPA blatantly ignored over and over.”

EPA proposal reaction from Geoff Cooper, RFA

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) notes that the “supplemental notice contains a never-before-discussed proposal to estimate small refinery exemptions for 2020, with no assurance that the estimate will come close to actual future exemptions. The biodiesel industry does not believe the proposal meets President Donald Trump’s October 4 promise to American farmers and biodiesel producers.”

EPA proposal reaction from Kurt Kovarik, NBB

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings says the details of the plan fail to live up to the hype generated by the announcement. “The White House made it very clear on October 4 that in 2020 there would be at least 15 billion gallons of ethanol blending,” said Jennings. “This proposal and the approach they are taking to account for small refinery exemptions would absolutely NOT ensure that 15 billion gallons of ethanol gets blended in 2020.”

EPA proposal reaction from Brian Jennings, ACE

EPA will hold a public hearing on Oct. 30, 2019 followed by a 30-day comment period from the date of the hearing to receive public input on these issues. The agency will finalize this action later this year.

ACE, Audio, Biodiesel, Biofuels, Ethanol, RFA

ZimmCast 627 – Commercial UAV Expo Americas

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Drones, drones and more drones!

In this week’s program you will hear Jeremiah Karpowicz, Executive Editor of Commercial UAV News, talk about this year’s Commercial UAV Expo Americas. This trade show and conference focuses on commercial drone integration and operation in a variety of industries, including agriculture.

Here’s some more information about the conference.

Commercial UAV Expo AmericasIn the Conference Program, UAV industry experts share key insights into the issues asset owners face when implementing unmanned aerial systems, including systems selection and integration; developing enterprise workflows, guidelines and policies; data management and integration; and legal, safety and regulatory considerations. Plenary sessions and panels cover topics of interest to all end-users regardless of industry, while breakout sessions focus on UAV technology, applications and opportunities in the vertical markets listed above.

The International Exhibition includes drone airframe manufacturers, component and sensor manufacturers, software developers and service companies. Commercial UAV Expo Americas has more exhibitors than any other commercial drone show.

AgWired is a supporter of the conference again this year and I hope we’ll be able to bring you some news from the event even though I can’t attend. But if you would like to attend you can register here.

Listen to the ZimmCast here: ZimmCast 627 - Commercial UAV Expo Americas
Subscribe to the ZimmCast by clicking here.

Audio, Drones, Precision Agriculture, Technology, UAV, ZimmCast

President Trump Addresses Farmers Through NAFB

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) worked with officials from the White House to share remarks from President Donald J. Trump that he recorded from the Oval Office to the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and agriculture community through NAFB broadcast members.

In his remarks, the President talked about a number of different topics important to the agricultural community as harvest is underway around the country. He expresses his deep appreciation for farmers and ranchers and makes note of recent actions he has taken to help them, including trade efforts, tax cuts, the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, ethanol, disaster assistance, and more.

Click the player below to hear President Trump comments from NAFB.
President Trump addresses farmers through NAFB

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, NAFB

Animal Ag Bites 10/14

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • Cattle producer record-keeping can be improved and simplified through the Redbook, a pocket-sized recordkeeping tool from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Redbooks can be purchased for $7.00 each, plus shipping and handling. To order, visit
  • The National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, through Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff, annually awards $2,500 scholarships to 11 students. In addition, the NDB awards a $3,500 James H. Loper Jr. Memorial Scholarship to one outstanding recipient. Kathryn Lyne Gardner, a University of Arkansas student who is double majoring in agribusiness and agricultural communication with a minor in agricultural leadership, has earned the 2019-20 James H. Loper Jr. Memorial Scholarship. Students earning $2,500 scholarships are: Sanne de Bruijn (South Dakota State University), Ariel Graveen (University of Wisconsin-River Falls), Cynthia Hamlett (Iowa State University), Theodore Jacoby (South Dakota State University), Gloria Koester (Purdue University), Ashley Maus (South Dakota State University), Brianna McBride (Iowa State University), Jessica Mehre (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Jessica Schmitt (Iowa State University), Margaret Socha (South Dakota State University) and Collin Weltzien (University of Wisconsin-River Falls).
  • The 2019 World Forage Analysis Superbowl winners were announced during the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin where FS InVISION DairySelect and W-L Alfalfa had outstanding performances.
  • Two members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association joined President Trump at a White House event spotlighting past federal overreach by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. During the event, the President signed two Executive Orders that will provide more clarity and transparency to often-daunting and complicated federal regulatory processes.
  • A new course on Organic Dairy Compliance is now available in the free, online Organic Integrity Learning Center. The course provides an overview of the USDA organic livestock standards with a special focus on dairy operations.
  • A seasonal flu vaccination is a public health recommendation and part of the One Health approach to protect people, pigs and the global environment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against seasonal influenza.
  • Harriet Hageman, Senior Litigation Counsel with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Casper, Wyoming, representing the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) and four ranchers from Wyoming and South Dakota, to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s effort to eliminate all animal identification options other than radio frequency identification (RFID) devices and premises registration for adult cattle and bison moving interstate.
  • The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for 2020-2021 beef industry scholarships sponsored by CME Group. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry. Online applications should be submitted by Nov. 8, 2019 at midnight Central Time. To apply, or learn more about the scholarship, click here.
  • After nearly two years of planning, development and implementation of a cattle disease traceability infrastructure, CattleTrace is inviting all beef industry stakeholders to attend the first-ever CattleTrace Industry Symposium on November 22, 2019, in Manhattan, KS, at the Kansas State University Student Union.
  • The National Pork Producers Council have unveiled a commemorative painting in honor of Kay Christian, a highly respected pork producer who contributed to the industry in countless ways before her passing on Nov. 4, 2018.
  • Novus International, Inc. announced that François Fraudeau plans to retire as President and Chief Executive Officer after 28 successful years with the company. Novus’s Board of Directors will hire a former Novus Executive, Dan Meagher, to be the next President and CEO, effective April 1st, 2020.
  • Global animal health company Huvepharma®, after receiving FDA approval in July 2019 for Monovet® 90, the first-available generic monensin in the United States, continues to expand the list of approved feed combinations with which Monovet can be fed.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites