Michigan State Wins IFAMA Global Student Case Competition

John Davis Leave a Comment

IFAMA1Students at Michigan State University have taken first place in a competition to demonstrate analytical and problem solving skills. This article from the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), a nonprofit of industry, students, academics, government leaders and other key stakeholders across the value chain of food production and consumption, says the school’s Tatevik Avetisyan, Kendra Levine, Andrea Leschewski, and Leonard Polzin were among 20 teams taking place in the 10th annual international Student Case Competition.

“The student case competition is the most difficult challenge I’ve faced while in graduate school!” says, Andrea Leschewski, from Michigan State. “Attempting to solve a real-world business problem and convince others that our solution is pragmatic in four hours is not easy.”

Students were asked to develop a plan as to how Monsanto and The Climate Corporation could leverage new acquisitions to help farmers maximize their net return per acre while better utilizing scarce land and water resources in order to feed a growing world population.

“It took countless hours of practice for our team to develop the intuition, organizational structure, teamwork, and presentation skills to successfully participate in the competition,” said Leschewski. “Through preparing for the case competition, I feel my teammates and I gained invaluable insight into our individual strengths in strategic problem solving that will prove valuable as we enter our professional careers.”

“Investing in the next generation of agriculturists is the primary focus of CHS Corporate Citizenship and the CHS Foundation,” said William Nelson, president, CHS Foundation and primary sponsor for the Student Case Competition. “Partnering with the colleges and universities participating in the IFAMA World Forum is an exceptional example of how CHS works on behalf of its farmer and rancher owners. Talent is a key to unlocking the potential of agribusiness globally.”

The conference took place last month in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, IFAMA, University

What Will Fill Your Grill on the 4th?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Will EPA change RFS volume proposal?”

The EPA recently released a new proposal for biofuels volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard – one that has made no one happy but particularly corn farmers and ethanol producers who note that the agency is not implementing the law as intended. EPA held a public hearing to get comments on the proposal but will it lead to a change? Half of those who took our recent poll believe that the EPA won’t change RFS volumes. Time will tell.

Here are the poll results:

  • No – 50%
  • Yes – 29%
  • Maybe – 21%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What’s on your grill this 4th of July?

Beyond fireworks, grilling seems to be a top priority when families and friends gather to celebrate Independence Day. July is also known as National Hot Dog Month. So, will you be joining the tradition by eating hot dogs on the 4th or will you be grilling up something else?


Corn Growers in Cuba

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ncga-cubaNine farmer leaders and staff members from the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Grains Council and the North Dakota Barley Council traveled to Cuba last week to see first-hand opportunities for expanding U.S. coarse grain exports if trade is fully normalized with the island nation.

The mission was part of an ongoing effort by the grains industry to assess and build plans to address marketing, financial and educational barriers to increase sales to Cuba. As the overseas market development organization for corn, barley, sorghum and grain co-products, the Council is considering how best to engage the Cuban market with partnerships and programs.

“The Cubans are excited to engage with the United States and want to learn more from the U.S. agriculture industry about poultry and dairy production in particular,” said Rob Elliott, NCGA first vice president. “Hopefully we can continue this dialogue and exchange of ideas that will be beneficial for both countries.”

Cuba has purchased corn from the United States since the early 2000s, with market share varying widely from as high as 100 percent to just 15 percent last marketing year. The country has purchased distiller’s dried grains with solubles, a byproduct of the ethanol manufacturing process, from the United States since 2005. If Cuba purchased all of its imported corn from the United States, it would be the 12th largest overseas market for the product.

The grain industry groups visited with government officials in the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investments. Stops also included a Cuban port and visits to rice and corn operations.

“This mission reaffirmed that it’s time for a new U.S. policy toward Cuba, and now is the time to act,” Elliott said.

Listen to an interview with Elliott on the trade mission here: Interview with Rob Elliott, NCGA first VP

Audio, Corn, Grains, International, NCGA, Trade, USGC

World Food Prize Awarded for Enhanced Food Security

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Sir_Fazle_Hasan_AbedSir Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh has been awarded the 2015 winner of the World Food Prize, the most prominent award for individuals whose achievements alleviate hunger and promote global food security.  The announcement was by Tom Vilsack who made remarks at an event by the U.S. State Department.

“I offer my sincerest congratulations to Sir Fazle and appreciation for the progress he has made in improving people’s lives, alleviating hunger, and providing pathways out of poverty. Sir Fazle’s and his organization’s recognition that engaging women in STEAM fields—science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and math—benefits our local and global communities is a vision that we share at USDA.” said Vilsack.

World Food Prize1Awarded by the World Food Prize Foundation, the $250,000 prize honors Sir Fazle’s unparalleled achievement in building the unique, integrated development organization BRAC, which is headquartered in Bangladesh and operates programs in 10 other countries around the globe. Since he created it over 40 year ago, Sir Fazle’s organization has provided the opportunity for nearly 150 million people worldwide to improve their lives, have enhanced food security and follow a pathway out of poverty through its dynamic and effective development programs.

BRAC, which was formally known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, has been hailed as the most effective anti-poverty organization in the world. Its agricultural and development innovations have improved food security for millions and contributed to a significant decline in poverty levels through direct impacts to farmers and small communities across the globe. Today BRAC operates 18 financially and socially profitable enterprises, across health, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, education, green energy, printing and retail sectors, and has been responsible for extraordinary advancements in the poultry, seed, and dairy industries in Bangladesh and other countries in which it operates in Africa.

“At a time when the world confronts the great challenge of feeding over nine billion people, Sir Fazle Abed and BRAC, the organization he founded and leads, have created the preeminent model being followed around the globe on how to educate girls, empower women and lift whole generations out of poverty. For this monumental achievement, Sir Fazle truly deserves recognition as the 2015 World Food Prize Laureate,” commented World Food Prize President, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn.

This announcement comes on the heels of applause for Bangladesh by the United Nations for meeting the Millennium Development Goal, to halve hunger by the year 2015.

Sir Fazle will receive his award at a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa on October 15, 2015.  The celebration is part of a international symposium to discuss issues in global food security. Also included in the World Food Prize events is the three-day Global Youth Institute, which includes 400 participants from the U.S. and abroad and is designed to inspire the next generation of high school students to explore careers in agriculture and fighting hunger.

#Feedthe9, Award, USDA

Florida’s Agritourism Soars

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

University_of_Florida_logoIf you think “tourism” in Florida you’ll likely bring to mind images of sunny beaches, Disney characters, or movie-themed rides, but from October to November agritourism abounds.  Families line up for Sweet Season Farms’ eight acre corn maze in Milton and spend weekends at Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery.

“It used to be, even just 20 years ago, that all that Florida offered in agricultural tourism was u-pick farms where visitors could pick their own fruits,” said Taylor Stein, associate professor of ecotourism in the School of Forest Services and Conservation, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “Now, we have small, family-owned farms offering fall festivals, corn mazes tours, wine tastings and other activities. Agritourism in Florida is growing every year.”

“Florida’s top two industries are tourism and agriculture,” said Edward “Gilly” Evans, associate professor and associate director of IFAS Global. “It just made sense to combine the two to create an even bigger economic impact for farmers and the state, reduce the friction between farmers and urban dwellers by demonstrating how agriculture can conserve natural resources, and provide more recreation for the public,” he said. “Farmers can no longer concentrate on only growing crops; they also have to think about how to grow their revenues.”

The future of agritourism in Florida is bright, Evans said. “When we first studied agritourism, we truly underestimated the success that would come,” he said. “Now, it’s anyone’s guess on how much of an economic impact this will make on the state and on local farmers. All the necessary components are there to help farmers keep their land, help the public understand the importance of locally grown food and help the state increase revenue.”

Agribusiness, Agritourism, University

Agri-Pulse Open Mic with Rep. Ron Kind

John Davis Leave a Comment

Agri-Pulse Open Mic this week features Rep. Ron Kind.

open-micAs a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Wisconsin Democrat supports free trade and explains why it was such a difficult vote for many Democrats, who largely opposed President Obama. Kind shares his thoughts for the Obama administration in the latter stages of the TPP negotiations, especially in regard to his home state’s dairy industry. He also discusses EPA’s proposed waters of the U.S. rule. As a long-time farm bill critic, he also talks about further changes he’d like to see in crop insurance and other farm programs.

Click here to listen to Agri-Pulse Open Mic with Rep. Ron Kind.

Agri-Pulse, Audio, Government

Zimfo Bytes

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

Zimfo Bytes

  • National Sorghum Producers is pleased to announce StollerUSA has committed as a Bronze Level sponsor of the National Sorghum Producers through its Industry Partner program.
  • Buddy Deimler of Salt Lake City, Utah; Jason Hughes of Ravenswood, W.Va; and Jonathan Ulmer of Lubbock, Texas have recently been named to the National FFA Board of Directors.
  • Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. of Ames, Iowa announced their intent to merge their crop inputs businesses.
  • Dr. Rajiv Shah, former head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, has joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs as a Senior Advisor to the Council.
Zimfo Bytes

New Holland Appoints New VP of North America

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Bret Lieberman_headshotNew Holland is excited to announced the appointment of Bret Lieberman as Vice President of North America. Bret will be based in New Holland and will assume the role of Vice President immediately.

Bret has an accomplished resume at CNH Industrial and New Holland spanning 25 years in various roles which will bring a multi-faceted perspective and a passion from within to the brand’s top leadership position. Most recently, Bret has held the position of head of North America Manufacturing, where he has been responsible for all agricultural and construction manufacturing plants since 2009.

Bret joined the company in 1990 with a position in service parts. Bret continued to expand his experience with various roles in purchasing, human resources, quality management and haytools production.

“Bret has brought strong leadership to each role he has held and has a deep understanding and passion for New Holland and the equipment that makes us a world-class leader in agriculture and construction,” said Brad Crews, COO of CNH Industrial NAFTA. “We are focused on the future and given Bret’s proven ability we see a great opportunity for continued growth through close partnerships with our dealers and customers.”

“I am excited for this new opportunity to lead the brand as I have spent a significant portion of my career here on the New Holland campus,” said Bret. “I deeply understand the importance of the quality and performance of the equipment that our dealers and customers rely on everyday for their success.”

Bret Lieberman holds a Master Degree in Business Management from Saint Francis College in Loretto, Pa. and received his Bachelor’s degree in Business, Management and Administration from Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pa. He currently resides in Lititz, Pa. where he enjoys spending time with his three children as well as a variety of outdoor sports such as bicycling, snowboarding and motorcycling.

Agribusiness, Company Announcement, New Holland

A Different Approach to Nutrient Management

Jamie Johansen 1 Comment

Michelle redGrowers who are interested in reducing crop inputs and increasing profits can learn more about a program to achieve both from Crop Health Labs. This nutrient management tool is plant sap analysis and they are hosting webinars throughout July to educate growers about this different approach to very common nutrient management problems.

I spoke with Crop Health Labs Executive Director, Michelle Gregg, to learn more about the benefits of plant sap analysis and whats sets it apart from traditional methods. “Plant sap analysis differs from traditional tissue analysis in that we are collecting the liquid portion of the plant instead of the structure of the plant. By collecting a ‘blood sample’ of the plant we are able to detail and predict nutrient deficiencies three to four weeks prior to traditional tissue analysis.”

Growers can then proactively apply nutrients instead of waiting until visible signs of the plant suffering are apparent. Gregg said that from what they have collected from real users of the technology, growers have reduced their total input costs between 15-40%.

RedingGaryPicGary Reding, Crop Consultant for Advancing Eco Agriculture, a distributor for Crop Health Labs, also spoke with me about the 21 different nutrient parameters for testing in a lab environment. Crop Health Labs is the only company that offers this, along with a customized analysis for each grower’s operation.

He shares an example of one of the most common parameters tested. “The potassium and calcium ratio is one of the 21 data points. We look at the parts per million of potassium in the plant sap and then how much calcium is in the plant sap and then we look at the relationship between the two.”

Listen to my complete interview with Michelle and Gary to learn more about the webinars they are offering and how your operation could benefit from plant sap analysis. Interview with Michelle Gregg & Gary Reding, Crop Health Labs

Agribusiness, Audio, Crop Science, Nutrition

Biggest Hot Dog Holiday to Kick Off Hot Dog Month

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

hero_bumperAmericans are expected to eat more than 150 million hot dogs over the July 4th weekend, appropriately kicking off July as National Hot Dog month.  Independence Day will be celebrated with fireworks and more hot dogs than any other time of the year– enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.

“There’s no better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with the all-American hot dog,” said Janet Riley, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council president and ‘Queen of Wien.’ “No matter how you top it, the hot dog is the food that everyone craves to make the Independence Day weekend complete.”

To celebrate the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) is offering fans and chance to win hot dogs and other prizes by creating a bumper sticker slogan.  Hot Dog enthusiasts can submit up to three clever slogans to contest@hot-dog.org by Junly 10.  Finalist slogans will be featured on the Facebook page, where fans will vote for their favorite.  The winner will be announced on July 22, National Hot Dog Day.

“Hot dogs aren’t just great for backyard barbecues, they’re also great road trip food, so we decided to combine these two American pastimes,” said Riley. “With the bumper sticker, people can share their hot dog love wherever they go.”

The person who submits the best bumper sticker slogan will win a $100 gift card for their favorite hot dogs plus a Curl-A-Dog spiral hot dog slicer. Second place wins a $50 gift card for their favorite hot dogs. The top three choices will all win NHDSC t-shirts and a bumper sticker with the winning slogan. Full contest guidelines and rules are available at http://www.hot-dog.org/media/contests.

To see how hot dogs are made, review an etiquette guide, read hot dog history, and learn trivia visit the website.

Agribusiness, Contest, Food