About Jamie

I recently took a chance of a lifetime and moved to the hills of Southwest Missouri. Here we started an embryo transfer business with a good friend. Full-time farming is the life I now live and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Syngenta Survey Confirms Ag Loves Digital Tech

Syngenta_BiotechA majority of growers and other agricultural professionals turn to online sources first for general information about their industry, and over half of them use mobile or handheld devices 10 or more times per workday. These are some of the key findings in a recent Syngenta survey, in which more than 300 readers of Thrive, the company’s production-focused magazine and website, responded to questions about their online habits and appetites.

Anthony Transou, Internet marketing manager at Syngenta, is not surprised that, like other industries, U.S. agriculture is embracing digital communications—from social media campaigns and blogs to precision farming and recordkeeping.

“Digital platforms give users a way to share and learn from others in the agricultural industry, whether they are around the corner in their communities or across the globe,” he said. “One of our key concentrations is to create optimized content that can spread across channels and be consumed anywhere, so there is a seamless experience from desktop to mobile users.”

Transou’s team has made several recent adjustments and additions to the Syngenta digital platform. For example, new websites like Tools to Grow More Soybeans and the Quilt Xcel®Fungicide Stress Management Training Module help growers locate information about specific issues or products more easily. Another recent online development is the Know More, Grow More agronomy blog, which features tips and local news updates from Syngenta agronomic service representatives. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels are also convenient ways for growers to interact with Syngenta via questions, comments, contests and general discussions. Continue reading

What do you do with your Easter eggs?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Has spring sprung for you yet?”

It looks like many across the nation are still shoveling snow. Good thing Easter weekend looks warmer for most. Here in Missouri the Dogwoods are in full bloom and the grass is getting greener by the day.

Our poll results:

  • Still snow on the ground – 27%
  • Still too cold – 24%
  • Seeing positive signs – 18%
  • Late spring for sure – 15%
  • Same as normal – 3%
  • Too wet – 9%
  • Too dry – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What’s your favorite use for Easter eggs?”

The incredible edible egg is in the spotlight this time of the year, but what do you do with all those hard boiled, multi-colored eggs on Monday? Eat them, toss them or watch them rot?

AdFarm Brings Ag to Kansas City’s Crossroads District

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 2.39.17 PMAdFarm, a full-service marketing communications agency, is the first tenant to inhabit the 1925-constructed building after the property’s transformation to a multi-use commercial space.

“Moving is not only refreshing for clients and AdFarmers, but the new office is also more welcoming and conducive for hosting industry events,” says Roger Reierson, AdFarm’s president and board chairman. “The location is close to the energy and creativity that brings people to the Kansas City Crossroads District – it’s fitting for AdFarm.”

Located in Kansas City, Mo., at 2101 Broadway Boulevard, the new 6,768-square-foot office space can accommodate future expansion in the agency’s Kansas City location. While the new address is only 1.8 miles from the old, relocating the AdFarm office proved to be a substantial process – which is captured in an one minute time-lapse video below.

The interior design uses AdFarm’s signature reclaimed barn wood throughout. Also, loyal to the agency’s agriculture foundation, is a silo-stylized lobby and grain bin-inspired boardroom. Now the office greeter, a weathered antique windmill – the AdFarm-Kansas City icon – is anchored to the floorwith dramatic ground-lighting.

AdFarm partnered with Kansas City-based architecture firm Finkle|Williams and 3D Development to create thework space. The three-level building, listed in National Register of Historic Places and expected to commission a LEED Gold certification, has been updated with high-efficiency systems and insulated glass in the original warehouse windows – maintaining unobstructed views of the downtown skyline. Other building tenants include Pezzettino Italian Deli and Market andValorem Consulting.

“AdFarm’s excited to relocate to a new space that represents aconfluence of agriculture tradition with the verve and pulse of Kansas City’s Crossroads District – we’re investing in the agency, agriculture and Kansas City; it’s very rewarding,” says Les Kahl, AdFarm U.S. managing partner.

More Then Just Barns

nh-pavilions-39 -editedThe Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI is growing thanks to New Holland Agriculture. The expansion is underway and during the groundbreaking ceremony last week I spoke with Mark Clarke, director of the Alliant Energy Center.

“We’re partaking on a project that we started a little over 18 months ago and to see it finally come to together is really exciting for me. We are going to have some really neat buildings when this is all said and done.”

“What you are going to see is two brand new state-of-art building facilities and I don’t know if anywhere else in the United States is going to be able to compete with these when we are done. We designed these from an animal standpoint. We had the representatives from World Dairy Expo and Midwest Horse Fair at the table last summer when we were designing these buildings. We are going to have 290,000 square feet of exhibition space and they are really versatile.”

Listen to or download my interview with Mark here: Interview with Mark Clarke

nh-pavilions-33-editedAnother big player in this expansion is Ben Brancel, Secretary of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

“The state of Wisconsin is recognizing the value of the livestock industry and World Dairy Expo is an international exhibit that brings people from around the world.”

Ben explains that they already have had inquires about using the New Holland Pavilions for catering and sporting events along with many trade show type conferences.

They all know that the deadline is tight, but have great confidence in the endeavor. The Dane County Fair Grounds are accommodating with the use of tents for other activities held there throughout the summer. I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait for the ribbon cutting this fall.

Listen to or download my interview with Ben here: Interview with Ben Brancel

Checkout photos from the event here: New Holland Pavilion Groundbreaking Ceremony

Wheat Harvest Film Debuted at Ag Day Festivities

ag-day-14-barry-conradThe debut of The Great American Wheat Harvest was seen by many during Ag Day activities this year in Washington D.C. Chuck took time to chat with Barry Nelson, John Deere, who was a huge sponsor of the production. He also spoke with the director, Conrad Weaver. Both couldn’t have been more excited with how the film turned out and can’t wait to get it out for the whole world to see.

“It exceeded my expectations.” Barry said, “After being able to see the final cut of the film, seeing the reaction from the crowd, but also how Conrad Weaver the producer was able to tell the story of these different custom cutters going on the harvester trail and how difficult it is. Boy, I think it’s a great story and now we are excited to see where the film is going to be debuted and shown across the US.”

Barry believes this film sets itself apart from other documentaries because it really tells the story of the families involved in this and how hard it is to predict the weather, manage the equipment and make sure they are in the right place at the right time.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Barry here: Interview with Barry Nelson

Conrad said, “It’s kind of like giving birth. You have all the toil for years and now you have birthed this thing called a movie and it’s exciting, it’s thrilling and it’s a relief to be done. But now the real work begins of getting the message out to the people.”

For the next two years Conrad said he will be busy making sure the world sees this production. They are also still looking for sponsorships to help fund marketing dollars to help get this in theaters everywhere. In the future Conrad is toying with some other project ideas all relating to agriculture. We should expect to continue to see and hear his name mentioned as a true advocate for the agricultural community.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Conrad here: Interview with Conrad Weaver

Coverage of National Ag Day is sponsored by BCS Communications

New Holland VP Shares Smiles for Pavilion Expansion

nh-pavilions-58-editedDemolition is already underway in Madison, WI at the Alliant Energy Center, home to World Dairy Expo and Midwest Horse Fair. Abe Hughes, Vice President of New Holland North America, was all smiles during the groundbreaking ceremony late last week. New Holland is partnering with Dane County to build the New Holland Pavilions which will include a 290,000 square foot expansion and replace the aging barns.

I spoke with Abe after the groundbreaking and he was more than excited for the opportunities this new facility will bring to Wisconsin and beyond.

“Well, I’ve got this huge smile on my face for a couple of reasons. Not only is it a gorgeous day here in Wisconsin and are farmers need some sunshine. It has been a long winter, but it is also a historical time for New Holland as we do the groundbreaking for the New Holland Pavilions here at the Alliant Energy Center. There was a real need here in this community to have a better facility. Our producers, our customers had to have better facilities in order to keep their animals and families coming to these shows. The decision was very easy for us to come fund this and help make this dream possible.”

Listen to or download the press conference here: Interview with Abe Hughes

Checkout photos from the event here: New Holland Pavilion Groundbreaking Ceremony

An Interactive Directory For Agriculture

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 12.09.34 PMTechnology start-up company Agribite has just launched an innovative interactive directory website aimed to help the agriculture community. Agribite has been built with the sole purpose of connecting the agriculture community with vendors, clients, organizations, and friends in one place. It provides an easy-to-use platform for all ag industry members to have a free web and mobile presence and to be listed in a growing directory without cost.

Agriculture is a multibillion-dollar industry that creates millions of jobs in the U.S. alone. However, there is a widening gap between consumers and producers due to a lack of awareness. Agribite aims to be the face of the ag industry to stand alongside other networks but with the more focused goal of empowering agriculture.

Strong Sense of Optimism for Future of Farming

ag-day-14-seth Seth Pratt, a 5th generation cattle/livestock rancher and student at the University of Idaho, served as one of the panelists during USFRA’s latest Food Dialogues. Seth is a former National FFA Officer from Blackfoot, ID. and talked with Chuck after the dialogues to share his personal perspective on the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers.

“Overall, there is a strong sense of optimism. We’ve got a burgeoning middle class across the entire globe that is pushing agriculture product demand in a way we haven’t seen. I think back to my father’s generation who came through college during the farm crisis of the 80′s and the experience he had in school as compared to the experience I now have. And while there may be less farmers overall those that are here today are excited, passionate and optimistic about the career they are beginning.”

During the dialogues, panelists discussed ways to bridge the gap between so many consumers who are at least twice removed from a family farming operation and how to limit the amount of misconceptions. Seth shared one simple idea is to invite people out to your farms and ranches. Let them see the equipment used and let them ask questions about how things are done. Another easy way Seth mentioned is the use of media and especially social media.

“There are two groups of young aspiring producers out there. The ones that say they would love to get back to the family farm or ranch and then there are those who can say they would love to begin. Reaching the needs of those two groups of students is different. Those going back to the farm know what it is like, they know the resources that are available. Those that are new maybe see more closed doors then they do opportunity. There are lots of opportunities provided through government programs administered through the USDA that do give a leg up to beginning producers.”

Seth goes on to say how important it is to connect these students interested in farming with current farmers. A mentor system would go a long way in informing them on the in’s and out’s of life as a farmer or rancher.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Seth here: Interview with Seth Pratt

Coverage of National Ag Day is sponsored by BCS Communications

Groundbreaking for New Holland Pavilions

nh-pavilions-68-editedGround was broke to mark the start of construction on the New Holland Pavilions at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI. The 290,000 square foot expansion will create a state-of-the-art multi-use space, replacing again barn facilities.

“We are proud to partner with Dane County to build and provide what will be the premium livestock facility in the country, a tremendous upgrade that will benefit world class dairy, livestock, horses and other livestock throughout the year,” says Ade Hughes, Vice President New Holland North America. “This opportunity is a perfect fit for New Holland, considering the smart haymaking technologies we have brought to the marketplace that benefit so many animals across North America.”

The Alliant Energy Center is home to the World Dairy Expo and Midwest Horse Fair, as well as many livestock and equine shows. The new pavilions will have capacity to house more than 2,000 head of cattle and be versatile enough to include show rings for cattle and horse shows. They can be cleared to create open space accommodating for trade shows, a factor that will allow New Holland to conduct training activities. New Holland equipment will also be featured in the front reception area of the building.

Mark Clarke, Alliant Energy Center general manager, said, “The new space will enhance our ability to conduct world class activities here at the Alliant Energy Center. We’re excited to have New Holland Agriculture as a significant partner in our success moving forward.”

Construction on the project begins today and their goal is to have a ribbon cutting in just 30 weeks. Just in time for World Dairy Expo in early October.

Listen to or download the press conference here: New Holland Pavilions Groundbreaking Press Conference

Checkout photos from the event here: New Holland Pavilion Groundbreaking Ceremony

Where Your Marketing Dollars are Going

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What’s the largest percentage of your 2014 marketing budget?”

It looks like the old faithful form of print marketing tops this week’s ZimmPoll. But what is interesting is that rest of the choices were almost evenly spread across the board, with the newer trends of social media and digital marketing right up there with broadcast and direct mail.

Our poll results:

  • Broadcast – 10%
  • Digital – 15%
  • Direct mail – 10%
  • Print – 25%
  • Social media – 15%
  • Trade show/promo items – 15%
  • Other – 10%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Has spring sprung for you yet?”

If you haven’t got a case of Spring Fever, then you must be living in Florida with Chuck and Cindy. Here in the Midwest we had an 80 degree weekend and now are back into the 30′s. I think Mother Nature is a little confused. Are you seeing any signs of spring in your neck of the woods?

USPB Elects New Leadership

image001The United States Potato Board (USPB) grower membership elected new leadership during its Annual Meeting held in Colorado Springs, CO, March 11-13.

Brett Jensen from Idaho Falls, ID will serve as Chairman. Committees include Domestic Marketing, Finance, International Marketing and Industry Communications & Policy. Immediate Past Chairman is Rob Davis from Connell, WA.

You can find the complete listing of USPB’s Executive members here.

For more information on the USPB as the nation’s potato marketing organization, positioned as the “catalyst for positive change,” and the central organizing force in implementing programs that will increase demand for potatoes, please visit www.uspotatoes.com.

The USPB Executive Committee: (Seated, Front Row, from left to right) Chris Wada, Carl Hoverson, Mike Pink, Marty Myers, Brian Kirschenmann. (Standing, Back Row) Kurt Holland, Rob Davis, Blair Richardson, Brett Jensen, Bruce Richardson, Mike Carter, John Meyer

New Climate Report Findings

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 6.27.17 PMThe Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) today released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The 1,062-page report, published by The Heartland Institute, contains thousands of citations to peer-reviewed scientific literature — and concludes rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels are causing “no net harm to the global environment or to human health and often finds the opposite: net benefits to plants, including important food crops, and to animals and human health.”

Craig Idso, Founder and chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and the lead author of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, said “Whether the subject is the effects of warming and rising CO2 on plants, animals, or humans, the latest UN report invariably highlights the studies and models that paint global warming in the darkest possible hue, ignoring or downplaying those that don’t.”

“It is most fortunate, therefore, that the NIPCC report provides tangible evidence that the CO2-induced global warming and ocean acidification debate remains unsettled on multiple levels. There are literally thousands of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that do not support a catastrophic, or even problematic, view of atmospheric CO2 enrichment.”

Publisher of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, Joseph Bast and President of The Heartland Institute, said “This new report from NIPCC makes it clear that there is no scientific consensus on the human role in climate change. It further makes it clear that future warming is likely to produce more benefits than costs. Global warming is not a crisis. It’s time to start repealing unnecessary and inexpensive policies that were adopted at the height of the global warming scare.”

The Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or NIPCC, is a panel of scores of climate scientists from around the world that act as independent auditors of the work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC.

The full report in digital form (PDF) can be found here. An 18-page Summary for Policymakers is available here. Individual chapters of the full report can be downloaded at the Climate Change Reconsidered website.

These reports have been endorsed by leading scientists from around the world, been cited in peer-reviewed journals, and are credited with changing the global debate over climate change. No corporate or government funding was solicited or received to support production of these reports or NIPCC.

Submit Nominations for Andy Markwart Horizon Award

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 5.23.50 PMThe Andy Markwart Horizon Award, presented by the AAEA Professional Improvement Foundation (PIF) and John Deere in a matching grant partnership, is an annual award given to an AAEA member who embodies the youthful vigor, energy, passion, dedication and creativity shown by Andy in his volunteer work for AAEA for many years. Andy, editor of The Furrow, died in 2006 from heart problems.

Award winner must meet the following criteria. Details can be found on the nomination form.
– Open to any AAEA member age 35 and younger.
– References. Two professional references (one from current employer).
– Essay: 500 words or less which describe your interest in receiving the stipend,
– Why you believe you are deserving, your professional goals, etc.
– Resume

Each year, the award’s winner receives a $2,500 stipend, which can be used for attending the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) annual Congress, the Agricultural Media Summit or a professional development class, seminar or workshop.

The Andy Markwart Horizon Award is being funded with a $25,000 grant over five years by John Deere (Andy’s employer for many years prior to his death) and matching funds to be raised by PIF.

Christy Couch Lee received the 2013 Andy Markwart Horizon Award. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in agricultural communications. While in Stillwater, she was OSU’s outstanding agricultural communications student and one of the top 10 graduating students in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Since then, she has held positions with The Quarter Horse Journal, Homestead magazine and the National Swine Registry before heading her own company, Cee Lee Communications, in Wellington, Ill. Her company provides feature and news writing, photography and copy editing for agricultural publications and groups.

2nd Syngenta Photography Award Call for Entries

SyngentaSyngenta announced that the second Syngenta Photography Award is now open for entries. The Award aims to stimulate dialogue and create awareness around significant global challenges through powerful photography.

The Syngenta Photography Award invites professional and amateur photographers from all over the world to submit applications in two categories – the Professional Commission and the Open Competition. The Award offers total prize money of $65,000, including a $25,000 professional commission. Images from the Award will be exhibited in March 2015 at Somerset House, one of London’s most celebrated arts and culture venues.

The theme of the second Award is “Scarcity-Waste”. It draws attention to arguably the greatest challenge the world faces: how can we ensure there is enough land, food and water for future generations? The resources we use and the waste we create today means we already need the equivalent of one and a half planets.

Mike Mack, CEO of Syngenta, said: “The success of the inaugural Syngenta Photography Award has demonstrated that photography is a powerful medium to foster a deeper understanding of global challenges, and has the ability to inspire us to find ways to create a more sustainable future.”

Entries will be judged by a distinguished international panel chaired by author and curator William A. Ewing. “I am delighted to have been invited for the second time to chair the jury sessions of the Syngenta Photography Award and be part of the inspiring jury discussions,” said Mr. Ewing. “I was deeply impressed with the quality of work submitted for the inaugural Award, and I now look forward to discover more outstanding work from professional and amateur photographers under a new theme.”

The application deadline for both the Professional Commission and Open Competition is September 15, 2014.

Launched in 2012, the Syngenta Photography Award was created to stimulate dialogue around key global challenges and to establish an important platform to explore issues of global significance through photography. For the inaugural competition, exploring the theme of Rural-Urban, 2,500 applicants from all over the world submitted their photographs to the Open Competition, including 450 submissions from professional photographers for the commission. The Rural-Urban exhibition is available online: http://ruralurban.syngentaphoto.com

Iowa Corn Board Receives Nitrogen Gene Patent

IowaCornPromotionBoard_CMYK_4F1DB6BE3EF0DThe Iowa Corn Promotion Board is the recipient of a newly issued patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This is the first U.S. patent that the Board has received for its work in nitrogen use efficiency in corn and related to transgenic plants that have increased nitrogen use efficiency, and/or increased yield using a patented gene. Specifically, patent 8,692,070, Plants with Improved Nitrogen Utilization and Stress Tolerance demonstrates Iowa Corn’s commitment to improving farmer productivity even to the gene level.

“The Iowa Corn Promotion Board collaborated with Strathkirn Inc. and Athenix Corp. to develop improved corn plants that are more efficient in using nitrogen fertilizer,” said Larry Klever, a farmer from Audubon and chair of the Iowa Corn Research and Business Development Committee. “This new trait could result in improved economics on the farm, reduced impact on the environment and reduced energy requirements to grow a corn crop.”

The objectives of the research are either to increase yield without increasing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer or obtain the same yield with less fertilizer. Data indicates this patented gene assimilates more nitrogen and increases kernel number, which could translate to greater yields for Iowa farmers.

By patenting this technology, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board is able to provide protection for partners who would like to license this technology. “The goal is to get this trait licensed and commercialized by seed companies for commercialization so that farmers, like me, can benefit,” said Klever.

The Plants with Improved Nitrogen Utilization and Stress Tolerance patent number is 8,692,070 and was issued on April 8, 2014. A patent for this technology has also been awarded to the Iowa Corn Promotion Board by South Africa. Patents for this gene in other countries are still pending approval of the respective patent offices.

Alliance Stakeholders Summit Asks: “Who is Big Ag?”

AAA 2014 Stakeholders SummitGrowing weary of the buzzword bonanza and juxtaposition of jargon, the Animal Agriculture Alliance announced today an interactive panel at Summit that will tackle the myths surrounding “big agriculture.” At the Alliance’s 13th annual Stakeholders Summit, themed “Cracking the Millennial Code,” panelists from Monsanto, Ray-Lin Dairy, Zweber Farms and the Illinois Farm Bureau (ILFB) will discuss how agriculture can move past negative name-calling and drill down to the heart of agriculture: farming.

“For too long we’ve sat idle and let others—who don’t grow crops or raise animals—sling barbs and try and drive a wedge between farmers and consumers by using catch phrases like ‘factory farm’ or ‘big ag’,” said Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith of the Summit, to be held May 8-9, 2014 in Crystal City, VA. “We’ve gathered panelists with unique perspectives, who can help us move past school-yard-type bullying—both inside and out of agriculture—and determine how we support each others’ production choices while positively advocating for all of ag.”

Panelists will include two dairy farmers: Emily Zweber (Zweber Farms) and Ray Prock (Ray-Lin Dairy). Zweber and her husband are raising their three young children on their fifth generation organic dairy farm, while Prock is a 2nd generation dairy farmer from Denair, CA where he and his family milk 550 cows. Both Zweber and Prock are actively involved in sharing their families’ stories on social media; Zweber serves as the Executive Director of the AgChat Foundation, while Prock is a member of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board and the Dairy Management Inc. Board of Directors.

Janice Person (Monsanto) and Tamara Nelson (ILFB) will round out the panel. Nelson, who currently serves as the Senior Director of Commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau, will provide attendees with insights from the ILFB’s recent media tour of farms in the United Kingdom—and the U.K.’s perspective on farm size, best practices and sustainability. Having grown up a city girl, Person became involved in agriculture through cotton and still carries a passion for it. Person is now a member of Monsanto’s corporate engagement team doing outreach both within agriculture and broadly with society.

All four panelists will help answer the tough questions about “big ag” versus “family farm” and how farm size impacts animal care and public perception.

To learn more about these, and other Stakeholders Summit presenters and panelists, be sure to visit the Alliance website. Early registration for the Alliance’s Stakeholders Summit ends April 8th, 2014—so register today to take advantage of discounted rate.

Deputy Sec. of Ag Stresses Need for Communication

ag-day-14-hardinThe Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Hardin addresses the crowd during the Ag Day banquet. Her words push us to communicate beyond ourselves and connect the dots for those across the country who have yet to hear the good news about agriculture.

“Most of you who know me, know that I am a farmers daughter. That is my first identity. That’s where I get everything, my motivation, my inspiration. It comes from that farm in Southwest Georgia. We do a good job talking about agriculture I’m afraid to often with each other. We have great dinners and great programs with each other, which is great. But we also need to branch out. This is something I have learned so well from Secretary Vilsack. I think most of you know he does an hour of press everyday and it’s not just agriculture press. He talks to other people. People who don’t know they should be interested in agriculture.”

She shares Secretary Vilsack’s passion for wanting people to understand why it is so important that we all support farmers and ranchers nationwide. Deputy Hardin also issued a challenge to all present for the banquet. That challenge was for everyone to bring someone not involved in agriculture to next year’s Ag Day creating an overflow room for the banquet. A neighbor, an allied industry, a friend, a young person who does not yet have the appreciation for agriculture that has been instilled in so many of us for years.

Listen to the Deputy’s complete speech here: Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Hardin's Address

Today’s Youth Promoting Agriculture

ag-day-14-essay-winnerYoung agriculturists from across the country entered this year’s National Ag Day Essay Contest in an effort to help promote the importance of agriculture throughout our country.

Clara Knipp is from Tipton, MO and her essay titled, “Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths To Feed,” was selected as this year’s written winner. Clara presented her essay as part of National Ag Day activities in Washington, D.C. You can listen to it here: Clara's Ag Day Essay

Brackston McKnight of Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, TX submitted a video essay winning that category. You can view his creative ag promo video below.

First ResponsibleAg Board of Directors Selected

responsibleagThe Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) today announced the selection of individuals to serve on the newly formed ResponsibleAg Board of Directors.

The nine representatives include:
– Alicia Duke, Director, Health and Safety, Simplot
– Justin Gough, Director, Agricultural Products, LSB/El Dorado Chemical Company
– Dave Ito, Manager, Human Resources & Regulatory Affairs, Lyman/Tremont Group
– Pete Mutschler, Environmental and Safety Director, CHS Inc.
– Tim McArdle, Executive Vice President & COO, Brandt Consolidated, Inc.
– Rosemary O’Brien, Vice President, Public Affairs, CF Industries, Inc.
– Billy Pirkle, Sr. Director, Environmental, Health & Safety, Crop Production Services
– Scott Rawlins, Director, Regulatory & Governmental Affairs, Wilbur-Ellis Company
– Rod Wells, Manager, Plant Food Division, GROWMARK, Inc.

ResponsibleAg is an independent, not-for-profit organization designed to support fertilizer retailers’ compliance with federal safety and security regulations. Under ResponsibleAg, retail fertilizer dealerships will have access to comprehensive inspections based on federal regulatory requirements. The inspections will be carried out by trained auditors who will have successfully completed an intensive training course based on the objectives of ResponsibleAg.

“We are pleased to have named the representatives who will lead this groundbreaking safety and security initiative forward,” said TFI President Chris Jahn. “I am confident the Board’s broad spectrum of knowledge and experience will contribute to the success of ResponsibleAg.”

“Engaging these key industry leaders is a critical step as ResponsibleAg continues to develop and evolve,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “We are privileged to have volunteers committed to making this initiative a success.”

The Board of Directors will hold its first meeting on May 5 at the offices of Asmark, Inc., in Owensboro, Ky. During its first meeting, the board will adopt ResponsibleAg bylaws, create an annual operating budget, elect officers and begin the selection process for a business manager to oversee day-to-day operations of ResponsibleAg. After the board meeting, the new directors will tour the auditor training facility site, which is also located in Owensboro.

Where Does Your Marketing Budget Go?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Do you think farm movies can help the public image of agriculture?”

It looks like the majority polled believe these farm movies can play a positive role in improving the agricultural industries image. Getting people to theaters to watch them might be tricky, but the old fashioned word-of-mouth advertising could be the ticket. I, personally, am eager to watch them and share with friends and family.

Our poll results:

  • Definitely – 38%
  • Maybe – 27%
  • No – 11%
  • Not sure – 4%
  • Can’t hurt – 15%
  • Other – 5%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What’s the largest percentage of your 2014 marketing budget?”

Next week is the annual Agri-Marketing Conference in Jacksonville, FL. Agribusiness/agency/media and more will be networking and participating in professional development activities. We’re pretty sure this question will be a part of the conversation.