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  • Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America (CLA), announced that Dr. Janet E. Collins will join CLA as senior vice president of science and regulatory affairs, effective January 5, 2015.
  • The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failure to issue the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
  • The official opening of Bayer CropScience’s Weed Resistance Competence Center (WRCC) in Frankfurt on 19 November is a major step forward in tackling weed resistance, as it will develop new weed control strategies, and share knowledge within the global community of farmers, agronomists and scientists.
  • AGCO, Your Agriculture Company, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and infrastructure, is proud to announce a recent highlight in the Harvard Business Review for the company’s work in developing smart farm equipment and solutions.
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Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Do you think the new coalition agreement addresses ag data privacy concerns?”

Time will tell if the big data coalition will ease the minds of concerned growers when it comes to privacy and security issues. However, the majority of those polled feel that the agreement addresses these ag data issues. We for sure will keep you posted.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes – 47%
  • No – 26%
  • Maybe – 7%
  • I don’t know – 20%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

In year’s past we have asked your favorite Thanksgiving protein. Does your family go for the traditional turkey or maybe a ham? Or do you have your own traditional meat of choice? This year in honor of Thanksgiving, we want to know your favorite side dish. Do you prefer dressing, mashed potatoes or do you love something different? At my family’s table gravy is a side all it’s own. It covers everything but the salad.

ZimmPoll

Corn and Soybean Groups React to EPA Decision

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced they will not be finalizing the 2014 applicable percentage of standards under the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) until next year. They also announced that the compliance deadline for 2013 RFS standards will also take place in 2015. Both corn and soybean groups reacted to the announcement, which impacts ethanol and biodiesel production and demand.

NCGA-Logo“Today’s announcement by EPA shows the Administration recognizes the proposed rule was inherently flawed and based on an unworkable methodology,” said National Corn Growers Association president Chip Bowling in a statement. “Corn farmers have produced a second record crop in two years, resulting in corn prices that have fallen below the cost of production in many parts of the country. Our members have been frustrated by the uncertainty and delays surrounding the RFS.”

ASAlogo1“The continued delays create great uncertainty for the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers and limits the industry’s ability to invest and expand,” said American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser. “The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have taken biodiesel backward from the amounts produced and utilized in 2013. However, ASA believes that EPA can and should finalize a 2014 rule that sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons that were produced and consumed in the U.S. in 2013.”

The EPA cites major consumer concerns as the reason for the delay. “The proposal has generated significant comment and controversy, particularly about how volumes should be set in light of lower gasoline consumption than had been forecast at the time that the Energy Independence and Security Act was enacted, and whether and on what basis the statutory volumes should be waived. Most notably, commenters expressed concerns regarding the proposal’s ability to ensure continued progress towards achieving the volumes of renewable fuel targeted by the statute.”

ASA, Biodiesel, Biofuels, Corn, EPA, Ethanol, Government, Soybean

COOL is a Big Issue for NFU

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

nafb14-nfu-gouleI had the opportunity to sit down and chat with National Farmers Union Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule last week at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention. We discussed a variety of policy issues where NFU is actively involved on the federal level, and one big one is Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).

Goule says strongly supports COOL and they believe the United States should maintain the law despite the recent WTO ruling against it. “When you really read (the WTO ruling), it narrowed the scope so the U.S. is taking the steps in the right direction to become compliant,” he said, stressing that there is no need for Congress to take any immediate action. “If everything went perfect at the WTO, we’re looking at the end of 2015 before anything can happen.” By anything, Goule is referring to potential trade retaliation against the United States by Canada and Mexico, and he says there are a number of appeals processes that would have to take place before that would occur.

Another issue NFU has a strong stance on is the Secretary of Agriculture’s proposal for a second beef check off. Goule says they support get rid of the current 1985 beef check off and forming a new one under the 1996 generic check off act. “If we would move to the ’96 act, it would be more flexible, it would be more cow-calf producer friendly,” he said. “We will do everything we can to write a good checkoff, but we can only have one checkoff running at the same time.”

In this interview, Goule also talks about NFU’s policy regarding the Waters of the U.S., the Renewable Fuel Standard, the lame duck session, the new dairy program, and trade. Interview with Chandler Goule, NFU
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

NAFB Convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by BASF
Ag Group, Audio, NAFB, NFU

No Agriculture in Obama Immigration Action

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

obama-whitehousePresident Obama made good on his promise to make changes in the nation’s “broken” immigration system, but there’s no mention of agriculture or farm workers in his plan.

“In practical terms, we do not expect the president’s initiative to help America’s farmers deal with the real labor challenges they face,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman in a statement after the president’s address from the White House. “Our nation loses millions of dollars in fruit and vegetable production every year because farmers cannot find labor to harvest everything they grow. This order will not change that.”

A statement from the Agriculture Workforce Coalition stressed that “the only way to permanently fix agriculture’s labor shortage is through legislation” and without it “farmers will continue to be unable to find the workers they need to pick crops or care for livestock; more food production will go overseas; local economies across the country will suffer; and the American consumer will pay more for the food they eat.” The AWC includes Farm Bureau and some 70 other agricultural organizations.

However, United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez commended the president’s action and said it “will allow at least 250,000 of America’s current professional farm workers who feed our nation to apply for temporary legal status and work permits.” UFW says half of that total would come from California alone.

AFBF, Government, labor

BASF’s Gator Intern

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

nafb14-basf-markWe met Mark Kaplan when he was working for BASF at the Farm Progress show, but we did not realize he was an intern at the time, and certainly did not know he was a University of Florida Gator! When I saw Mark running around getting BASF set up in the NAFB Broadcaster Center last week wearing a Gator sweatshirt, I had to get an interview with him and find out his story.

“I’m still a student at the University of Florida,” Mark says. “I’m actually a marketing major and I’m minoring in German, so BASF being a German chemical company seemed like a natural fit.”

When Mark signed up for the internship and he got his assignment in agriculture, the suburban kid from New Jersey said, “What the heck is agriculture?!” But he has learned quite a bit over the last few months and he loves it. “It’s been a great learning opportunity, flown me out to the Midwest a couple of times, got to go on some herbicide plot tours, visit some growers,” said Mark. “It’s really opened my eyes.”

Mark says he chose the University of Florida because “why not?” and because it was actually more affordable than attending college in New Jersey. When he graduates next year, Mark already has a job with BASF and he hopes to see us all more down the road in his career.Interview with Mark Kaplan, BASF intern
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Coverage of NAFB Convention is sponsored by
Coverage of NAFB Convention is sponsored by BASF
Audio, BASF, Intern, NAFB

Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

thanksgiving-dinnerYour turkey dinner this year with all the fixings is just a little bit higher this year, but still under $5 per person – something to be thankful for, indeed!

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 29th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.41, a 37-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.04.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.65 this year. That’s roughly $1.35 per pound, a decrease of less than 1 cent per pound, or a total of 11 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2013.

“Turkey production has been somewhat lower this year and wholesale prices are a little higher, but consumers should find an adequate supply of birds at their local grocery store,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. Some grocers may use turkeys as “loss leaders,” a common strategy deployed to entice shoppers to come through the doors and buy other popular Thanksgiving foods.

Farm Bureau’s shopping list included turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk. Foods showing the largest increases this year were sweet potatoes, dairy products and pumpkin pie mix.

Read more here.

AFBF, Food

Oh, the irony!

Melissa Sandfort Leave a Comment

shoesWhen ZimmComm gave me the creative liberty back in 2010 to write a weekly column on AgWired, I began to brainstorm ideas for a “category title” for my posts. I knew I wanted it to be about agriculture and the life of a farm girl, back on the farm. That day, I took a walk … and thus the brainchild for my AgWalks.

Little did I know that four years later, “walking” would be such an important aspect of my life. For those of you who don’t know, a couple of years ago I started walking almost every day. I needed a change, a release, a reprieve from work, some fresh air, and some solitude alone with my thoughts. That turned into a walk/jog and to this day, I still try to get out about three to four times per week. I even took running shoes to a trade show for work, and actually USED them!

The irony? My Aunt Jeanette, another critically acclaimed AgWalk-er, also walks. She will email or text me during the week and report back about her 5.5 mile walk around the grain elevator while waiting on trucks.

Together, we’ve put a lot of miles on the gravel roads of Nebraska. And I’d like to think that just as important as a good pair of walking shoes, this AgWalk column has been a hidden treasure as it has taught me lessons about my family history, brought me closer to my grandparents, and allowed me to share the love of writing (and walking!) with my Aunt.

So, until we walk again …

AgWalk

AFBF Talks Policy Issues at NAFB

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

nafb14-afbf-mooreNew congress, WOTUS, second beef checkoff, and what to do about COOL were a few of the topics that American Farm Bureau Federation executive director for public policy Dale Moore discusses at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting last week.

“We are excited that we have a lot of new leaders – seasoned leaders – coming in,” said Moore of the new Congress, mentioning Mike Conaway from Texas as the new chair of the House Agriculture Committee, just officially named yesterday. “What we’re looking for is those friends of Farm Bureau outside the ag committees that can work on issues like Waters of the U.S., immigration reform, tax reform…these issues are the kinds of things that can put farmers and ranchers out of business.”

When it comes to WOTUS, Moore says he does not expect any further action from Congress in the lame duck session, but he also does not expect EPA to back off on the proposed rule. “It’s going to take legislation to push them back, it may take litigation,” he said. “They don’t ditch the rule on their own, we’re going figure out a way to help them do it.”

Listen to my interview with Dale here: Interview with Dale Moore, AFBF
2014 NAFB Convention Photos

NAFB Convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by BASF
AFBF, Audio, NAFB

Slovakian Journalist Wins IFAJ Star for Ag Journalism

John Davis Leave a Comment

ifaj-star-deere1Slovakian journalist Jozef Sedlák was recently named the winner of the coveted IFAJ Star Prize in Agricultural Journalism for his story, “Food Does not Come from Supermarket Shelves,” which was published in the weekend edition of the Pravda daily newspaper.

Judges said they were captivated by the entrepreneurial story of a young Slovak farmer Pavel Petránek, a turkey breeder from Čremošné village, and by the journalistic mastery of the author.

The Star Prize was presented to Sedlák by IFAJ Executive Committee member Dana Večeřová, and Arpád Szabo of John Deere, the company that sponsors the worldwide competition. Sedlák, through the course of his professional journalistic career has “never changed his jersey“ and has remained loyal to the prestigious Slovak daily Pravda, where he is one of the last Slovak agriculture-minded journalists dedicated to agriculture, nutrition, wine and gardening.

IFAJ, International, John Deere, Journalism