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

AEM Analysis of Ag Equipment Economic Impact

aem_logo2The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has just released a new in-depth analysis of of the impact of the agricultural equipment industry on the American economy.

The white paper quantifies the many economic impacts of the manufacturing, distribution, and use of agriculture equipment and machinery from 2011 and figured the total economic footprint of the agricultural industry – including upstream and downstream industries – at $51 billion.

“The purpose of this white paper is to provide a better look at the agriculture equipment industry’s effect on U.S. workers and our economy as a whole, with an eye toward better arming our policy makers in Washington with the information they need to make sound policy decisions that impact this critical sector,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “This kind of information is vital to accurately assessing the potential long-term consequences of decisions being weighed as we are debating issues such as the renewable fuels standard and international trade agreements that directly impact the future of American agriculture.”

Among the Top Ten Takeaways of the paper:

In 2011, 78,200 people were directly employed in U.S. farm equipment manufacturing, while another 52,300 were indirectly employed in other manufacturing activities to support materials and parts used by the industry.

Overall, the agricultural equipment cluster employed almost 377,000 workers in 2011, representing a footprint of more than half of the total population of Washington, D.C.

View the Top Ten Takeaways and the full Report here.

Ag Journalists Meet in DC

naajThe North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) annual meeting is wrapping up today in Washington, D.C.

Last night was the NAAJ-Sonja Hillgren Scholarship and Writing Awards Banquet at the National Press Club where the best of the best were honored after a full schedule of hearing from administration officials and lawmakers. Receiving the Agricultural Journalist of the Year award was Shannon VanRaes of the Manitoba Co-operator.

Among the officials the group heard from yesterday was EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy who talked about both the Clean Water Act and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Agri-Pulse has a great story about her comments, as well as those from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Check out the NAAJ photos here.

Sen. Thune Talks Rail Delays and Livestock Aid

Rail delays are impacting shipments of ethanol and grains, among other commodities, thanks in part to the long, cold winter – but also due to increased transport of crude oil from North Dakota.

thune“The railroads are going to have to do a better job,” said Sen. John Thune during an interview in Washington DC last week after meeting with biofuels supporters from the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE). “It’s important that the railroads recognize that agricultural commodities need to be shipped too.”

Thune, who is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is looking forward to seeing the farm bill finally passed by Congress getting implemented quickly, especially for livestock producers in his part of the country still waiting for disaster aid after the deadly blizzard last fall. “Normally once they get the rules out and the sign up period starts…it’s a couple of weeks to get the money out there, so we hope that if the ag department is correct and they can get it done by the middle of April, that by the end of April-first part of May we’ll be getting some assistance in the hands of livestock producers,” he said. “It can’t come soon enough.”

The senator from South Dakota also discusses the EPA proposal lowering the Renewable Fuel Standard and getting expired tax credits for renewable energy extended. Interview with Senator John Thune (R-SD)

2014 ACE Biofuels Beltway March photo album

Coverage is sponsored in part by Patriot Renewable Fuels

Novus International Names New CEO

novus-signThe Board of Directors for Novus International has named François Fraudeau as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective immediately. He replaces Thad Simons who is officially retiring as CEO and will become the Senior Executive Advisor to the Board.

“The Board is grateful for the tremendous leadership and guidance provided by Thad over his many years with Novus,” said Mr. Katsurao Yoshimori, Senior Vice President of Mitsui & Co. (USA), Inc. “Novus has achieved unprecedented success under his direction and we are proud to have had his leadership.” Novus is privately owned by Mitsui & Co. and Nippon Soda Co., Ltd.

novus-francois“Going forward there is no better leader for Novus than François Fraudeau,” noted Thad Simons, member of the Board of Directors. “François is a proven leader with extensive experience in the feed additive industry and ability to bring people together.”

During his career with Novus, Fraudeau has held various positions in Europe, Asia and the USA and has extensive knowledge of methionine and other core Novus technologies. “Novus is a unique company with a truly global footprint in the animal nutrition space, and I am honored to be chosen to lead this company forward,” said Fraudeau. “We have great opportunities in front of us as we deliver on the next chapter in Novus’s continuing legacy of helping to feed the world affordable, wholesome food and achieve a higher quality of life by making a clear difference in sustainably meeting the growing need for nutrition and health.”

USDA Forecasts Record Soybean Plantings

According to the USDA 2014 Prospective Plantings report released today, farmers are intending to plant an estimated 81.5 million acres of soybeans in 2014, up six percent from last year and an all-time record high if realized, surpassing the previous record of 77.5 million acres planted in 2009.

USDA-LogoPlanted acreage intentions for soybeans are up or unchanged in all states except Missouri and Oklahoma. The largest increase is expected in North Dakota with a record high 5.65 million acres, an increase of one million acres from 2013. If realized, the planted area of soybeans in Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin will also be the largest on record.

Corn growers intend to plant 91.7 million acres in 2014, down 4 percent from last year and if realized the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Expected returns for corn are anticipated to be lower in 2014 compared with recent years. Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts and Utah are expected to increase planted acreage from last year. If realized, planted acres in Idaho will be a record high.

Wheat planted acres are expected to be down one percent from last year at 55.8 million acres while cotton acreage is anticipated to be up seven percent to total 11.1 million acres.

Also released today was the Grain Stocks report, which showed corn stocks up 30 Percent from March 2013. Soybean stocks are one percent lower and all wheat stocks are down 15 percent.

The Minneapolis Grain Exchange crop call on the reports today featured commentary from Mike Krueger of The Money Farm. Listen to or download here: MGEX Prospective Plantings Report call

Conversation with Sen. Mike Johanns

ace14-dc-johannsDuring the American Coalition for Ethanol Biofuels Beltway March last week, I was fortunate to be able to tag along on a few Congressional office visits – and pushy enough to get a few interviews with some lawmakers!

One of those was Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) who will be retiring this year after serving for more than 30 years in public office – starting at mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska, then governor of the state, Secretary of Agriculture, and finally the U.S. Senate since 2009.

I asked Sen. Johanns about ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the problem farmer face with over regulation, and what his vision is for the future of agriculture. Interview with Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE)

2014 ACE Biofuels Beltway March photo album

Coverage is sponsored in part by Patriot Renewable Fuels

Happy 10th Anniversary to Agri-Pulse

al-sara-10Just like us, our friends at Agri-Pulse started their company in 2004, so we are celebrating our tenth anniversary together!

Also like us, Agri-Pulse is run by a husband and wife from a home office in a nice vacation spot, so we have a place to wind down when not on the road – which is more often than not! Where we rely on freelancers, however, Agri-Pulse has expanded over ten years to include a staff of ten that keep the business running from Washington DC to world headquarters at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

ZimmCast 433In this week’s ZimmCast, we talk to Agri-Pulse president Sara Wyant and her husband and right hand man Allan Johnson. We did this interview last week, just after the kick off of National Agriculture Day, which they passionately support.

Check out the photos from their portion of National Ag Day here:
Agri-Pulse Ag Day Photo Album

You can listen to this week’s program here. ZimmCast with Agri-Pulse

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsor, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong, for their support.

Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here.

Little Ethanol Lobbyist

ace14-dc-ethan1Wearing a tie and sporting a “Don’t Mess with the RFS” button, 10-year-old Ethan Fagen was the youngest of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Biofuels Beltway marchers last week on Capitol Hill.

Ethan came along with his grandfather, Ron Fagen of Fagen, Inc., and he was right in the trenches with him handing out materials and talking about the benefits of ethanol, like how good it is for the environment compared to fossil fuels. “Think in 200 years if you run ethanol there will be cleaner air for the next generation,” said Ethan, who is part of that next generation.

ace14-dc-fagensSitting in the front as the ACE Fly-in participants heard from government officials, Ethan caught the attention of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who thought it was “pretty cool” he was there for the event.

In my interview with Ethan, he told me that he would like to be a farmer someday and grow corn and have cattle. It’s interesting that if you add two letters to Ethan’s name, it becomes ethanol. Interview with Ethan Fagen, ACE Fly-in Participant


2014 ACE Biofuels Beltway March photo album

Coverage is sponsored in part by Patriot Renewable Fuels