Queen Bee of Germany Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-annetteWe already met the queen bee of the new Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center, now meet her counterpart at the first Bayer Bee Care Center in Monheim, Germany – Annette Schürmann.

The German center opened at the global headquarters for Bayer CropScience in 2012. “We built it upon the research work that had been over the last 30 years at that site,” said Annette, adding that they get visitors ranging from school children to diplomats.

She says that beekeeping is different in Europe compared to the United States. “The most important difference we have is that in Europe we mainly have hobbyists doing beekeeping,” Annette said. “They don’t make any money out of pollination.” That compares with the large scale beekeepers in the U.S. who will travel to pollinate crops across the country from almonds in California to oranges in Florida.

Still, Europe faces some of the same issues. “The varroa mite was introduced to Europe much earlier than to the U.S.,” said Annette. “So we do have a longer history in dealing with that pest.”

Listen to my interview with Annette here: Interview with Annette Schürmann, Monheim Bayer Bee Care Center


Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Lilly to Acquire Novartis Animal Health

A $5.4 billion deal announced today will create world’s second-largest animal health company.

elanco-lillyEli Lilly and Company intends to acquire Novartis Animal Health in an all-cash transaction “to strengthen and diversify Lilly’s own animal health business, Elanco.”

The transaction will result in Elanco becoming the second-largest animal health company in the world in terms of global revenue, will solidify its number two ranking in the U.S., and improve its position in Europe and the rest of the world. “This deal creates a global animal health leader able to deliver even more innovation and value to our customers,” said Jeff Simmons, senior vice president of Eli Lilly and Company and president of Elanco Animal Health. “Combining these two great companies will enable us to provide more diversified brands, reach more market segments, expand our global footprint, and strengthen our pipeline, capabilities and expertise.”

Simmons joined Lilly’s chairman, president and chief executive officer John Lechleiter in making the official announcement this morning. Listen to their press availability here:
Lilly CEO John Lechleiter and Elanco president Jeff Simmons announce Novartis deal

Great Green Gadgets

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with some new gadgets?

Got an email this morning from an industrious PR person touting a book called “Fool’s Return” by Lynda Chervil, “a thought leader and green technology advocate.”

Chervil, who studies the science behind green technology, says environmental awareness has ramped up production of affordable goods that can shrink individuals’ carbon footprints. She shares four devices she says would make a nice gift for Mother Earth on her day.

water-clockAmong her suggestions is the Bedol Water Alarm Clock. “Imagine a water-powered alarm clock that’s loud enough to scare you out of bed! Bedol’s water clocks run strictly on tap water – no batteries, no nothing else.”

There’s also the HybridLight Solar Flashlight that never needs batteries, can be charged from any light source, and they always work. And the Pama Eco Navigator Satellite Navigation system that helps save gasoline by providing you with the most energy-efficient routes to your destinations, and feedback on your car’s performance.

Last but not least, the iGo Green Power Smart Wall that helps “cut the suck” of the power “vampires” that use electricity whether we’re using them or not – everything from coffee pots to laptops.

Go on – give your Mother Earth a hug today and get a green gadget!

Queen Bee of Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-14-beckyDr. Becky Langer is the manager and queen bee of the Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center that just opened last week in North Carolina.

“It’s a dream to be able to share it with everyone,” said Becky on the big day last Tuesday. She explains that the center will serve as both a research and educational facility. “We’ll bring different groups in here and they’re able to get hands-on experience with the displays,” she said, noting they are able to adapt the information level to groups from school children to scientists in order to really “open the dialogue and the education among everyone who is interested in the honey bee.”

“I think people are really thirsty for knowledge and education of bees,” she said. “They’re critical to us, whether it’s your own backyard and little garden, whether it’s a farmer or a broad acre grower that has a lot of crops that need to be pollinated … they’re of interest to everyone,” Becky says. Interview with Dr. Becky Langer, Bayer Bee Care Center


Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Tour of Bayer Bee Center

bayer-bee-sarah1Meet Sarah Myers, the apiarist in charge of the North American Bayer Bee Care Center. She is our guide for this YouTube tour through the newly opened facility with a taste of what it has to offer for visitors. You can register for tours on the Bayer CropScience website.

You can also find lots of photos of the new center here:
Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center
Grand Opening Photo Album

Take it away, Sarah!

Congresswoman Visits Bayer Bee Center

bayer-bee-ellmersEven though she had to miss the grand opening ceremony due to a conflict, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) made it a point to make it out to see the new Bayer CropScience North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park.

“The research and development that they are doing here is going to help us grow more food into the future,” she said in an interview. “It is vital to the North Carolina economy but also to the world.”

Ellmers added that bees are an important part of the discussion about genetically modified crops. “It’s a discussion that’s being had on the national level,” said Ellmers. She is pictured here at the Bee Care Center with Bayer’s Robyn Kneen who was instrumental in the development of the center.

I also asked the Congresswoman about the new farm bill and why she is a strong supporter of immigration reform for farmers in her state. Interview with Rep. Renee Ellmers


Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

End of the USDA Telephone Newsline

r2rThis week will mark the end of an era as the USDA Radio Newsline will no longer be available via the telephone starting tomorrow. I can remember recording that newsline on a reel-to-reel machine just like this one when I first started in the business back in 1980. At that time, the newsline was also sent out on small reel-to-reel tapes. That soon gave way to cassettes, and then the internet came along and changed everything.

According to the USDA announcement out today:

It was in 1968 when the Department of Agriculture made its news stories accessible through phone lines. It was known then as The Spot News Service. Now 46 years later, thanks to technological changes and upgrades the telephone news service will end effective Friday, April 18, 2014.

The USDA Radio Newsline will still be available electronically through the USDA.gov website. For your convenience you will still get the daily email highlighting all of the stories produced for that day.

FYI, you can get the news line stories via iTunes as a podcast and/or an RSS feed in your email, as well as, the same way you get the weekly features.

You really have to give USDA credit for adopting new technology quickly and keeping that newsline as relevant as ever, especially to Gary Crawford who has been there for the whole evolution. I can’t say I miss recording newslines off the phone on reel-to-reel, but I do wonder what will come next!

Importance of New Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-ncagThe new Bayer CropScience North America Bee Care Center is important for the future of one of the most critical little contributors to keeping the engine of agriculture running.

“They’ve been called the spark plug of agriculture,” said North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler at the grand opening of the center on Tuesday. “If the spark plug’s not functioning, neither is the car, so we’ve got to pay particular attention to our pollinators.”

bayer-bee-ncuTroxler stressed the vital role that research has in protecting pollinators and ultimately feeding the world. Dr. Richard Linton, Dean College of Agriculture and Life Sciences North Carolina State University, is pleased that the center will provide opportunities for students to achieve the goals of a land grant university. “It’s all about producing students for a very important industry of agriculture and it’s also about working with our stakeholders on research and outreach efforts,” he said.

Listen to my interview with the commissioner and the dean here: Interview with NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler and NC State Ag College Dean Rich Linton


Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Open

bayer-bee-14-ribbonBayer CropScience today celebrated its more than 25 year commitment to pollinator health with the grand opening of the North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP, front and center here cutting the ribbon to officially open the new facility is thrilled to see this dream fulfilled. “This is an absolutely great day,” he said proudly. “We’ve been dedicated to bee health, it’s an important part of who we are, and we’re very serious about finding the science behind what the interactive functions are here so we can come up with some solutions.”

The $2.4 million center brings together significant technological, scientific and academic resources, with goals of promoting improved honey bee health, product stewardship and sustainable agriculture. A 6,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, the Center will complement the Eastern Bee Care Technology Station in Clayton, N.C., and a Bee Care Center at the joint global headquarters campus of Bayer CropScience and Bayer Animal Health in Monheim, Germany.

Listen to my interview with Jim here: Interview with Jim Blome, Bayer CropScience

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Bayer Bee Care Buzz

bayer-bee-cupcakesBayer CropScience is fulfilling a dream today with the opening of a brand new North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The new center will complement the European Bayer Bee Care Center in Monheim, Germany. Plans for the center were announced in 2012 and ground was broken just a little over a year ago. Since then the Bayer folks have been busy as bees getting it ready for the big debut.

The celebration started last night with a reception that brought Bayer CropScience folks from all over the globe together to prepare for the main event. We are going to find out much more about this new center and its purpose shortly and will share it with you.

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Tax Day is AAEA Awards Deadline

aaea-awardsWhile you are wrapping up your taxes, hopefully you are also wrapping up your entries for the the AAEA Communications Awards for Design, Photography, Writing and Digital & Social Media.

aaeaEntries have the same deadline as the IRS, postmarked by midnight April 15. Entry forms for each category are on each category’s specific web page. You need to be a current AAEA member in order to enter. That means renewing your dues and/or joining as a new member by the entry deadline if your dues are not up to date. You can pay online for either one.

There is a different deadline for the MarComm Awards program, which recognizes excellence in marketing and communications by companies and agencies. Entries for those awards are due on April 30.

Cal Poly Wins NAMA Student Competition

nama14-student-winnersSix outstanding student NAMA teams made it to the final round of the competition last week and the final winner was California Polytechnic State University – Cal Poly.

Congratulations to the teams from Illinois State University, Michigan State University, Iowa State University, University of Florida, and to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was a great competition this year as always with lots of up and coming talent for the agri-marketing industry!

The students had some fun before the awards ceremony began, until the adults broke it up – watch the video below and find out what order the other five finalists in the competition finished.

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

BASF Confirms New Fungicide Mode of Action

Specialty crop producers can take advantage of a new unique class of fungicide that provides two modes of action to manage fungal resistance.

BASFBASF researchers have confirmed the discovery of a unique binding mechanism in Initium® fungicide, a key component of Zampro® fungicide, currently available for sale in the U.S.

This means that Zampro fungicide is the first, and currently only, fungicide in this classification. Zampro fungicide is not cross-resistant with other commercial fungicides, making it an ideal tool for managing fungal resistance in specialty crops. The classification has been accepted by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC).

“Zampro fungicide provides two modes of action, one of which is a completely unique class of control,” said Jennifer Holland, Ph.D., Product Manager, BASF. “The fungicide is a superior solution for vegetable growers seeking control of downy mildew and late blight.”

Read more from BASF.

NASS Census Division Director at NAMA

nama14-nassThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced it will publish the 2012 Census of Agriculture full report on May 2. The announcement was made this week as NASS Census and Survey Division Director Renee Picanso was attending the National Agri-Marketing Association conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Agribusinesses are highly represented here and they are definitely big users of the data,” she said during an interview. The complete data series will be available in multiple formats, including Quick Stats 2.0 – an online database to retrieve customized tables with Census data at the national, state and county levels.

Picanso says the census data is being released a little later than normal this time around. “Usually we release in early February, but with the government shut down last fall, we got a little bit behind,” she said. Interview with Renee Picanso, USDA-NASS

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

NAMA Honors Marketer and Leader of the Year

nama14-beckThe NAMA Marketer and Agribusiness Leader of the year were honored today at the NAMA conference in Jacksonville.

Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids, was named the 2014 Agribusiness Leader of the Year, NAMA’s highest honor.

As the largest family-owned seed company in the United States, Beck’s Hybrids is now the sixth largest seed company in the U.S. Under Sonny’s leadership, Beck’s Hybrids has experienced a 20 percent increase in sales each year for the last 20 years, doubling in size every four years. Interview with Sonny Beck, Beck's Hybrids

nama-14-8Wyffels Hybrids’ director of marketing, Jeff Hartz, was named the 2014 NAMA Marketer of the Year.

As the marketing director, Hartz oversees all strategic marketing efforts including advertising and public relations and the development of the Wyffels brand. He works closely with growers, the sales force and the National Sales Director to develop programs and materials that meet their needs and reinforce Wyffels’ position as one of the leading independent seed corn companies in the industry. Interview with Jeff Hartz, Wyffels Hybrids

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Best of NAMA Winners

nama14-best-2The stars were out last night in Jacksonville, Florida as the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) presented its annual Best of NAMA Awards for excellence in agri-marketing at the annual convention.

The Best of Show winner in the advertising category was Wyffels Hybrids and agency O&H Brand Design, Musta/Melzer, In-House – Travis Hopper (O&H Brand Design), Tim Musta & Jim Melzer – (Musta/Melzer).

Jeff Hartz, front and center here with his team, was also named the 2014 NAMA Marketer of the Year. Congratulations to Wyffles!

nama14-best-1In the Public Relations category, the winner was the National Pork Board and agency NewsWorks. Big congrats there to our friends Leah Daniels and Cindy Cunningham, well deserved!

This is the 55th year for the annual competition and a total of 65 awards were presented. Among the companies that won multiple first place awards were Bayer CropScience and Zoetis with five each; DuPont Pioneer, U.S. Apple Association, and WinField with three each. Agencies that won multiple top awards included MacClaren McCann with five; Bader Rutter, Colle+McVoy, and The Meyocks Group with four each.

Congrats to everyone!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Happy Birthday ZimmComm!

nama14-boothZimmComm New Media is officially ten years old at this year’s NAMA conference so we are happily celebrating with all of our agri-marketing friends.

Here to help us at the booth are (LtoR) niece Hayley DeRuiter, Google Glass Guru Bruce Rasa, me and Chuck, intern Kristin Liska, sales guy Dave Larson, and nephew Hunter DeRuiter. We have birthday cake, Glass demos, and giveaways. People are taking a quiz on how well they know ZimmComm for a chance to win a 10th anniversary t-shirt and we’re giving away gold styluses and microfiber glasses sacks.

google-birthdayWe are also getting lots of congrats on our anniversary and we were surprised when we opened our Google page today and had a birthday greeting! I thought that was pretty bizarre, but Chuck says he thinks it’s because it must be our anniversary of our Google account.

Whatever – it was a pretty timely message. Thanks Google!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Brownfield Goes Honky Tonk for NAMA Party

nama-14-brownfield-inviteThe famous Brownfield Ag News NAMA party will be a Honky Tonk affair here in Jacksonville this evening after the trade show closes.

The venue is Mavericks at The Landing, which is just a short walk from the hotel. The fun starts at 9:00 pm and goes until midnight and of course the ZimmComm photo crew will be there to document the festivities.

So grab your boots and hat and we’ll see you there!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Fresh From Florida NAMA Farm Tour

nama14-blueskySince it’s usually in Kansas City, the annual NAMA conference rarely has a farm tour, so getting to see and hear about some agriculture outside the Midwest was a treat this week. Thanks to the Florida NAMA chapter for setting it up and to sponsors Ag Net Media and Vance Publishing for making it possible.

Our tour stops included a cracker cattle ranch, a potato farm, and a sod farm, finishing with a gourmet and locally source lunch at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center.

Fourth generation farmer Danny Johns was our host at Blue Sky Farm which grows specialty potatoes and onions and is very active in promoting agriculture to the public. “Farming is a constant evolution…always a challenge, that’s part of the fun of being a farmer,” he said. “It’s so important for the rest of the country to realize what agriculture looks like and the challenges we face.” Interview with Florida potato farmer Danny Johns

nama14-rancherMost people are aware that St. Augustine is the oldest continuous settlement in the new world (Pensacola was actually first but it got wiped out by a hurricane) – but you may not know that it is also the birth place of the United States cattle industry.

Alan Roberts of St. Augustine has a herd of pure Florida Cracker cattle, direct descendents of the original animals brought to Florida from Spain in the late 1500s. “They came over with Pedro Menendez in 1565 when he founded St. Augustine,” and Alan says they have had his herd DNA tested to confirm the bloodline.

nama14-crackersAlan says the cattle are more resistant to horn flies and worms than any other type of cattle and he likes their gentle dispositions. “They’re such a pleasure to raise,” he said. “They’re smarter for one thing, low maintenance and easy to handle.”

And so many of the mommas and babies in the herd looked just like each other with such unique coloring and markings. Watch the video below and be sure to check out the photo album where I took LOTS of cow pictures!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

NAMA Group Trip to St. Augustine

nama-trip-groupWe were supposed to go deep sea fishing on Monday but that got blown out by 5-6 foot waves so instead we arranged a fun, factual, and filling trip to St. Augustine.

Ag Net Media and ZimmComm hosted the few and happy that were able to come in a day or so early on a Savory Faire Walking Food Tour which left us very satiated. We had several stops in old town St. Augustine at great little restaurants and specialty shops to sample local cuisine, wines and other yummy things.

Check out our photo album and if you ever get to St. Augustine, this tour is a fabulous way to get some of the rich history of this great city.

St. Augustine Tour Photos

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News