Astronaut Stresses Need for Science at Bayer Forum

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

bayer-aif15-jemisonAmong her many accomplishments Dr. Mae Carol Jemison is a dancer, a doctor, an actress, an astronaut and a strong advocate for “Making Science Make Sense.” She’s done more in her life so far than most of us even think about doing!

Jemison talked to the Bayer CropScience 10th annual Ag Issues Forum on Tuesday about why scientific literacy is critical to the future of farming, but also offered a great motivational message, especially for young women.

“I was raised by parents who recognized the importance of imagination and moving forward,” she said. “I always assumed that I would go into space. It wasn’t a dream. It was a reality.”

Jemison stressed the importance of making science interesting to kids. “We’ve always used the sky to plant, grow and innovate. Science matters,” said Jemison. “Science literacy applies to almost everything we do.”

Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, #AIF2015 remarks Interview with Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, Making Science Make Sense

2015 Ag Issues Forum Photo Album

Audio, Bayer, Science

Sec. Vilsack Addresses 2015 Commodity Classic

Taylor Truckey Leave a Comment

vilsackSecretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke to over 7000 agricultural producers and industry members during his 6th appearance at Commodity Classic on Friday. Sec. Vilsack began by stating that he “was in the presence of greatness” and went on to thank farmers for all that they do on a daily basis. He also thanked farmers for their work on the Farm Bill when it came to grassroots support and involvement in motivating legislation.

Vilsack then addressed concerns surrounding the Farm Bill and announced a one-time extension by the USDA for producers to reallocate base acres and update yields for 2014 Farm Bill programs ARC and PLC. The final day to update information is now March 31, 2015. For more information, growers can contact local FSA offices.

Secretary Vilsack went on to discuss trade agreements and concerns surrounding TPA and TPP. “Trade is important for stability, income, and for jobs.” he says. “We’re currently negotiating with countries in Asia to extend our trading opportunities to lower tariffs, to improve standards, to improve stability and decision-making based on science and rules.” Vilsack stressed the importance “…for the USA to balance the Chinese influence in Asia, ensure that agreements have high standards that allow us a level playing field, and allow us to compete effectively and fairly in this emerging and great market opportunity.”

Sec. Vilsack ended the trade conversation by delivering a call to action to Commodity Classic attendees: “I’m asking you today to get engaged, to help us convince this country that it’s in our economic and national security interests to get these trade agreements passed.”

He was met with applause when he went on to address water conservation concerns, “American farmers have done an amazing job with stewardship, they have cared deeply about the land, they know the condition of every acre of soil they farm. They understand and appreciate the impact and importance of water better than anyone else because their livelihood depends on that soil and that water.” Vilsack referenced the number of producers engaged in conservation programs, the acres enrolled, and knowledge and commitment that producers have to taking care of the land.

Secretary Vilsack closed by addressing RFS: “There is an opportunity for us here to send an amazing message for corn production and to highlight the greatness of American agriculture. We need to work together to embrace higher blends of fuel.”

Listen to Secretary Vilsack’s complete remarks and press conference here: Vilsack Addresses Commodity Classic Vilsack Press Conference

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

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Agribusiness, Commodity Classic, Corn, NCGA, sorghum, Soybean, Trade, USDA, Wheat

Commodity Classic Groups Meet the Press

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

classic15-asa-1 Trade, taxes, biotechnology, farm policy and government regulations are the main issues of concern to the commodity organizations who make up the Commodity Classic. Leadership of the American Soybean Association (ASA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), and National Sorghum Producers (NSP) all held press conferences Thursday to talk about their top priorities.

Under the category of biotech, ASA president Wade Cowan of Texas says they plan to promote a national certified non-GMO label for consumers who want to know. “It doesn’t help consumers if they have a label that says from one tenth to 100% is GMO – 99% of things on the shelf would have a GMO label,” he said.

ASA chairman Ray Gaesser got into more details about their ideas on GMO labeling and first Vice president Ray Wilkins discussed the organizations trade priorities. Classic ASA press conference

classic15-ncga-chipNCGA president Chip Bowling also talked about biotechnology and trade issues. “We will fight to remove trade barriers and expand overseas markets for US corn. We will support trade promotion authority legislation and normalization of trade with Cuba, a market with great potential for US corn and corn products.”
Classic NCGA press conference


The new president of NAWG is Brett Blankenship of Washington who stressed the importance of trade to wheat farmers particularly in his region of the country. “I farm in the Pacific Northwest and the PNW states are trade dependent, and the percentage of wheat exported out of the PNW is closer to 90% of production,” he said, compared to the 50% average nationwide. “The Pacific Rim countries are vital.”

Classic NAWG press conference


National Sorghum Producers discussed the increased demand for sorghum in export and food markets; export markets represent 52% of the total market share for sorghum. NSP and Sorghum Check-off representatives stressed the importance of increasing sorghum acres to fulfill demand, and the opportunities that creates for growers. Speaking on behalf of the NSP board, CEO Tim Lust says “The demand today far exceeds the supply. From a checkoff standpoint, our goal is to continue to create these opportunities.” Sorghum usage in today’s food market is also a rapid growth area for the sorghum industry.
Classic NSP press conference

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

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ASA, Audio, Commodity Classic, Corn, NCGA, sorghum, Soybean, Wheat

Zimfo Bytes

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

Zimfo Bytes

  • David Korbelik has joined Beck Ag as Director of Business Development.
  • The winner of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet announced at the American Farm Bureau Federation FUSION Conference in Nashville earlier this month is Levy Randolph of California.
  • A group of 10 outstanding young farm and ranch leaders was honored by the American Farm Bureau Federation as graduates of the organization’s seventh Partners in Agricultural Leadership class.
  • Syngenta introduced the Enogen Value Tracker, a new tool for Enogen® corn growers designed to simplify grain tracking.
Zimfo Bytes

Iteris’ ClearAg Crop Protection Beta Testing Program

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

iteris-logoIteris, Inc., a leader in providing intelligent traffic management and weather information solutions, announced the opening of its ClearAg™ Crop Protection application programming interfaces (API) beta testing program.

Chuck spoke with Bob Stern in the Iteris booth during the 2015 Commodity Classic allowing him to share more information about their next step in the evolution in our family of precision ag weather data delivered through APIs. Interview with Bob Stern, Iteris

ClearAg Crop Protection APIs will provide leading agriculture retailers, manufacturers and growers access to the latest Iteris product capabilities for field-level analytics and visualization tools. The ClearAg Crop Protection APIs feature new endpoints for advisory services around planting and harvest timing, pest and disease emergence, crop nutrition, crop canopy conditions, and irrigation for integration into precision agriculture applications. Iteris’ ClearAg Mobile application offering is also available through the beta program.

“ClearAg Crop Protection is an exciting next stage of our ClearAg decision support tool set,” said Tom Blair, senior vice president of Iteris’ iPerform division. “Through our ClearAg solution set, agribusinesses will have access to real-time content and agricultural models that can enhance decision-making for all stages of crop production. From planning to planting, growing and harvesting, the latest ClearAg Crop Protection APIs will enable users to have the right information for the right field at the right time, providing the best information available to make the right decisions.”

ClearAg Crop Protection is the latest release in the ClearAg API decision-support and modeling-as-a-service product tool set. It follows the recent product launches of ClearAg Select field-level weather APIs and ClearAg Prime soil condition information, which are also designed to empower third-party precision ag applications with field-level analytics information for data-driven farming.

ClearAg Select and Prime API releases featured the application of historic field-level climatological information in context to current weather and soil conditions, combined with data science and scalable infrastructure. ClearAg Select and Prime also included API endpoints around field-level weather, accessibility index, growing degree days, and crop growth modeling. With the information ClearAg API solutions provide, agribusiness staff from crop consultants to agronomists can make better, faster and more informed decisions around everything from seed selection, to planting, and harvesting, through to commodity-based pricing decisions.

The ClearAg adaptive modeling solution is an intuitive application set that expands the power of agronomic models to solve complex agricultural challenges. Iteris’ patent-pending technology leverages ensemble modeling of weather conditions and agronomic models, multi-sensor, science-based analysis of current and past weather and soil conditions, all curated by a staff of degreed meteorologists. The ClearAg solution set provides real-time information where and when you need it.

To participate in the ClearAg Crop Protection beta program, please contact Iteris at

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Task Force to Make Case for Investment in Nutrition

John Davis Leave a Comment

chicagocouncilA task force made up of policy, business, civil society and scientific leaders will make the case for investing in nutrition and lay out opportunities for those working in agriculture and food to make healthy foods more widely available and affordable. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs announced the convening of the group ahead of the Global Food Security Symposium 2015 on April 16 in Washington, D.C.

The study is global in scope but will focus on low- and middle-income countries, where rates of stunting and malnourishment are highest and incidences of diet-related chronic disease are growing most rapidly.

“Virtually every country in the world is dealing with health issues that are linked to nutrition,” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “As we consider how to feed a more populated and affluent world sustainably, it is essential that the food produced be nutritious.”

The task force is cochaired by Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas, and Douglas Bereuter, former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska and president emeritus of the Asia Foundation. It is led by Catherine Bertini, distinguished fellow, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Generous support for the study is provided by Abbott at the lead level and National Dairy Council at the supporting level and by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Stuart Family Foundation. A full list of task force members is below.

“People’s diets largely determine their health,” said Dan Glickman. “In spite of this, making nutritious foods more available and affordable is rarely seen as a tool to prevent diet-related chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. This has to change.”

Ahead of the Washington symposium, the council has launched a blog series to explore themes around the role of the food system in nutrition and health. Check out the “Global Food for Thought” blog here.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Nutrition

Propane Power Pays at #Classic15

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

classic15-perc-tomIf you are a farmer at Commodity Classic this week and you might be in the market for propane-powered equipment, you definitely should stop by the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) booth at the trade show and get incentivized.

When I visited with PERC opening day, I met Tom Uhlman of Nebraska who took advantage of the propane incentive program when he was in the market for a new irrigation motor. “We were looking at replacing some 30 year old diesel irrigation motors and our local dealer recommended looking at propane,” he said. “It worked out really well as we got a tremendous amount of money back for the motors we bought.”

Visiting Husker Harvest Days in Nebraska last year, Tom happened to stop by the PERC booth and entered a contest to win a trip to Commodity Classic and won. “This is the first time I’ve ever been,” Tom said. “It’s been very interesting.”

Tom says he has found the propane motors to be quiet, clean, efficient and economical. “The propane price has been real stable the last year and they’re forecasting it to be lower,” he said. “I already bought my propane for next summer’s irrigation at below a dollar a gallon, so it makes good economic sense.”

What really makes good economic sense is to stop by booth 2126 and get up to $6,000 towards equipment purchases through the Propane Farm Incentive Program – that’s $1000 more than the normal incentive, just for Commodity Classic attendees!

Listen to my interview with Tom here: Interview with Tom Uhlman, Nebraska farmer and propane user

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

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FARMLAND at Walmart March 3

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

classic15-usfra-lisaThe U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) was pleased to announced at the 2015 Commodity Classic this week that the feature-length documentary FARMLAND will be available on DVD beginning Tuesday, March 3rd, at Walmart and

“It’s been available on iTunes and other ways to download or stream it but now you can physically own and have your own DVD,” said USFRA board member Lisa Lunz of Nebraska during the Classic trade show on Thursday.

Lisa says the film, which was supported by USFRA to help educate the public about farming and ranching, is proving to be a great investment for the agriculture industry. “It’s a tool to start a conversation,” she said. “As producers we need to have those conversations.”

Plans are to get the film into the classroom through the “I am FARMLAND” effort. “They’re developing a curriculum, a 44 minute version, so we can tell the story about producers in schools,” said Lisa. She encourages individual producers who would like to help make that happen to go to and make a donation.

Listen to my interview with Lisa here: Interview with Lisa Lunz, USFRA board member

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

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Phoenix Welcomes 2015 Commodity Classic

Taylor Truckey Leave a Comment

classic15A record number of farmers and exhibitors from all over the country have descended on Phoenix for the 20th Commodity Classic – the annual event for corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum producers.

The massive trade show at the event is the largest ever with 355 booths – a record by a large margin according to the Commodity Classic officials. Attendance has already broken the record on the first day with 7759 registered so far and more are expected.

“The Commodity Classic Trade Show is always a popular event, and this year is no exception with a sold out event that offers attendees a chance to see the most cutting edge technology while interacting with industry leaders,” said National Corn Growers Association Joint Venture Committee 2015 Co-Chair Bart Schott. “Those searching for new ideas and a better picture of what is now and soon will be available to farmers will find the most extensive, comprehensive offering to date while exhibitors reach a larger audience than ever.”

Commodity Classic runs through Saturday night.

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

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Ag Group, Commodity Classic, NCGA, sorghum, Soybean, Wheat

BASF Awards SOY, Corn and Wheat Scholarships

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

classic15-basf-scholarshipsBASF Crop Protection made 10 students pursuing agricultural degrees very happy today with the presentation of scholarships at the 2015 Commodity Classic, in partnership with the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the National Wheat Foundation (NWF).

“Investing in the future is how the agricultural industry can sustain success,” said Neil Bentley, Director of Marketing, U.S. Crop, BASF. “As BASF celebrates its 150th anniversary, we are pleased to provide scholarships to bright, agriculture-passionate individuals to invest in that future and assure the sustainability of the industry in the years to come.” Interview with Neil Bentley, BASF

The winners are:

The 2015-2016 ASA Secure Optimal Yield $5000 (SOY) Scholarship – Maria Kuhns of Mason, Illinois – Interview with 2015 SOY Scholarship winner
National Corn Growers Association Scholarships

Caleb Brannon of Puryear, Tennessee
Deja Jackson of St. Helena Island, South Carolina
Amber Pickard of Hastings, Michigan
Faith Wendte of Urbana, Illinois
Elizabeth Wittenbach of Belding, Michigan
Interview with 2015 Corn Scholarship winners and NCGA representative

National Wheat Foundation Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarships
JD Rosman of Creston, Washington
Matthew Stubbs of LaCrosse, Washington
Maya Wahl of Lind, Washington
Faith Wendte of Urbana, Illinois – double award winner!
Interview with 2015 Wheat Scholarship winners and Wheat Foundation rep

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

2015 BASF Science Behind Photos

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