There were lots of agvocates in Washington, DC last week for National Ag Day activities. They included some great young people and we’ll hear from a few of them in this week’s program.
Let’s start with Troy and Bobbie Uglem, North Dakota. They are 2012 National Outstanding Young Farmers. During the lunch program on Ag Day Troy addressed those attending. One of his main messages was, “It’s not just a U.S. economy, it’s a world economy and the demand and the increase in population we have. We have some things to look forward to in the future to feed the population as it increases.” He says there a lot of challenges and encourages everyone to work together to promote agriculture. Bobbie has a background in education and uses what she’s learned to help educate other Moms about agriculture and food and says that kids love to visit farms and learn more about agriculture today.
Also with us during Ag Day activities was the 2011 Miss America, Teresa Scanlan. Agriculture is very important to her due to growing up in Nebraska and having a good awareness of how food is produced. She says it is important to educate children about agriculture but also adults who just “have no clue.”
Teresa has recently partnered with The Great American Wheat Harvest film documentary project. This is the project that we are sponsors of. At the end of her presentation during last week’s Ag Day banquet she played the trailer for the film and encouraged everyone to support it. You can hear her presentation in this week’s program.
This week during Ag Day activities the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance held an educational session which was moderated by Chris Galen, Sr. VP of Communications for the National Milk Producers Federation. He also sits on the board of USFRA.
Chris says Ag Day provided a great opportunity to speak with Capitol Hill staffers and legislators about the latest research on how farmers need to communicate with consumers. He says we’re really moving away from messages like Safe, Affordable and Abundant food because today’s consumers assume that. So now it’s more about how farmers tell their story on a personal level and what they’re doing to improve their farming practices.
Participating in the USFRA program was Katie Pratt Katie who with her husband Andy (7th generation farmer) raise corn, soybeans and seed corn in Illinois. Katie is also one winners of the USFRA Faces of Farming & Ranching. Thanks to one of the many U.S. Custom Harvesters for taking our photo!
Katie says that as farmers “We have to start talking differently about what we do on our farms.” Katie says that seeing the research USFRA has conducted is a real learning experience because farmers often think they know what terms will resonate with consumers but the reality is very different. She says that as one of the Faces of Farming & Ranching program USFRA is helping put her and the others in front of audiences they wouldn’t normally be able to speak to.
At the National Ag Day banquet in Washington, DC, the winner of the written essay contest read her essay to us. She’s Whitney Bowman, Mount Jackson, VA. Here’s where you can find her essay titled “American Agriculture: Nourishing Opportunities.”
Other winners include Lebo Molefe, Naperville, IL – Video Essay Contest – see below and April Fox, Wayne State University – Poster Contest.
Here are a couple of farm kids doing good in the big city. Leigh Ann Cleaver and Kelly Schwalbe of BCS Communications (our sponsor) attended National Ag Day Activities and we visited about what’s new with the agency.
BCS Communications supports National Ag Day because it’s “second nature to us” says Kelly. Additionally, most of their clients are involved in agriculture and that includes companies like John Deere and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. The big news though comes from Leigh Ann who says they’re celebrating their 10 year anniversary! Happy anniversary.
Our U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke at the annual National Ag Day banquet in the USDA Whitten Bldg. First up in his remarks was a sales pitch for moderator, The Big O, Orion Samuelson’s book, “You Can’t Dream Big Enough.” I’ll bet that didn’t hurt sales! If you like Orion’s Ole and Lena jokes then you’ll really enjoy The Big O’s book which contains many of them.
Secretary Vilsack wished everyone a Happy Ag Day and then talked about American farm productivity pointing to a chart showing how high the ag sector is compared to other industries. He also had a chart to show us how consumers benefit from farm productivity that results in low cost food. He also talked about the need for a new farm bill and the budget impact of sequestration, including furloughing food inspectors.
From an #AgDay@Reply to me this afternoon comes a link to a new single by James Wesley, Thank a Farmer. Thought it would be good to share before I head to this afternoon’s National Ag Day banquet at USDA.
You can find Jame’s song on YouTube and purchase it in iTunes. I’ve got it. So, go get it.
During our Mix and Mingle Lunch today as part of the 2013 National Ag Day activities we heard from Chairman for the House Committee on Agriculture, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK), who praised America’s farmers and ranchers. I was held up by the President’s motorcade and missed most of his message but he agreed to a quick hallway interview. He wants people to know that agriculture isn’t important on just this one day but everyday of our lives.
He says, “American farmers and ranchers, producers, processors, retailers, we have not only made sure for generations now that every consumer in this country has the most available supply of the highest quality, the most affordable food and fiber but we’ve also helped make sure that the world had access to that too.” Congressman Lucas encourages his friends attending Ag Day activities to work with him to get a farm bill passed and be good advocates for agriculture. Listen to my interview with him to get his update on the farm bill situation.
Besides the activities Chuck is covering in Washington, DC, this week there are localized events throughout the country. This morning, Nebraska kicked off Ag Day in Tecumseh, Omaha and Wayne. The crowds got to listen to some key Nebraska agriculture influencers and supporters such as Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson, State Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach, Agriculture Committee Chairman Sen. Ken Schliz, Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann, and Nebraska State Governor Dave Heineman.
What a great way to meet and mingle with some of the State representatives and area agriculturalists. The crowds that gathered in Nebraska for Ag Day consisted of FFA students, farmers, college students, agriculture media representatives and ag organizations. Governor Dave Heineman stressed that he is proud of Nebraska agriculture and all that it has done not only for our state but for the world.
This morning the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance celebrated the 40th anniversary of National Agriculture Day with a breakfast on Capitol Hill and educational briefing on “The New Language of Food and Modern Agriculture.” More than 150 people — including Ag Day participants, members of the food industry, and Congressional staff — joined USFRA at the event to hear about new research on the relevance of modern agriculture and encourage sharing of personal stories of continual improvement on the farm and ranch. Our moderator was Chris Galen.
“On Ag Day, when we traditionally celebrate America’s farmers and ranchers, we wanted to use this opportunity to share some new research we have on the language of food and new perspective on agriculture,” Chris Galen, USFRA board member and Senior Vice President of Communications for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), said.
“I think it is also fitting to be in this location, the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, home of the historic National Woman’s Party, that we have two female farmers here with us today. What a nice reflection of the diversity of modern agriculture,” he said.
We also had Katie Pratt (pictured at podium), USFRA Face of Farming and Ranching, share her farm story and talk about the importance of farmers and ranchers to share their personal stories. “This Ag Day – and every day – I encourage farmers and ranchers from across the country to be active, share their personal stories, and answer questions from their community about how food is grown and raised,” she said. Katie also live tweeted the event @USFRA. I have an interview with Katie to share with you later.
Also on the program was Erika Bowser-Poppelreiter, a Midwest farmer and farming/ranching expert with Ketchum. Erika presented the briefing, focusing on consumer messaging research and how the agriculture industry can work to restore relevance. The event featured a new perspective on food culture today led by farmers and ranchers.
How about some Farm to Fork Politics? That’s what we got to kick off 2013 National Ag Day activities in Washington, DC. Here are the panelists for the session that was sponsored by Agri-Pulse just prior to their annual reception. Seated l-r are Dr. Keith Collins, former USDA Chief Economist, B. Hudson Riehle, Senior VP of the Research & Information Services Division for the National Restaurant Association and Dr. J. B. Penn, John Deere. These gentlemen gave us opening remarks before taking questions from the audience.
Before we got started I spoke with each of our panelists to ask them to tell me what they planned to tell us.
Let’s start with Dr. J.B. Penn. He had a “generally positive” message but chose to look back at recent years as a guideline for the outlook for the future. So he looks back at the last ten years to see how we “got here today.” He mentions something that is a common thread of the comments of all our panelists and that is uncertainty and volatile markets.
Next up is Hudson Riehle. He says that “despite a host of challenges the restaurant industry will post record sales this year of $660 billion dollars.” That’s up 3.8% over 2012. He says it’s the fourth straight year of sales growth but that the increase this year is much more modest than it has been.
We also heard from Dr. Keith Collins who said his first focus would be on three things, liquidity, solvency and economic growth. Then his second focus is corn because it accounts for so much of the value of crop production. He says we’re very dependent on having a good crop in 2013. Finally, he talks about where the farm bill may be headed. When it comes to the current Congress Dr. Collins is on the one hand depressed about what he see in politics but at on the other hand seeing that the glass is half full.
The first in the series of 2013 National Ag Day activities is an Agri-Pulse sponsored session titled, “Farm to Fork Politics: An Insider’s look at the year ahead for food and agriculture”
Join us for this panel discussion moderated by Sara Wyant of Agri-Pulse and featuring J.B. Penn of John Deere, former USDA Chief Economist, Dr. Keith Collins and B. Hudson Riehle, the Senior Vice President of the Research and Information Services Division for the National Restaurant Association.
I spoke with Sara before we got started tonight and asked about her perspective of what the year ahead will hold. Sara is very optimistic about agriculture and food. She sees heightened interest in these subjects here on Capitol Hill. She says it’s a time of fiscal austerity with budget cutting and a need to figure out what’s best to maintain a sustainable ag industry and work to feed a growing population.
We’ve got a big crowd here tonight. There were over 330 pre-registered and we’re expecting House and Senate leadership to join us for the reception following this session.
It is time for National Ag Day and activities to celebrate it will kick off today in Washington, DC. National Ag Day is a project of the Agriculture Council of America.
My coverage of this year’s activities is being sponsored once again by the American Seed Trade Association along with BCS Communications. I talked with Andy Lavigne, President/CEO, ASTA, about this year’s theme of Generations Nourishing Generations. It evokes a great image of the family and most people need to know that it is mainly family farmers who are providing the food on their table. Hopefully we’ll be able to get that message out so people who are far removed from the farm will better understand it and not fall into the trap of believing very erroneous messages being spread by organizations and people with an agenda that is very detrimental to today’s sustainable farming practices.
Andy urges all agribusiness companies and farm organizations to support National Ag Day and the activities that take place each year.
Listen to my interview with Andy here: Interview with Andy Lavigne
March 19th is National Ag Day, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture.
As the world population soars, there is even greater demand for the food, fiber and renewable resources produced in the United States. Continue reading →
I spoke with Andy Lavigne, ASTA President/CEO, during Commodity Classic about this project which is very timely since growers are getting ready to get back out in the field. The guide will answer questions like, “How can I protect my treated seeds; What environmental factors should I consider when planting treated seeds; Am I following state and federal regulations for treated seed and What should I do with unused treated seed?”
Right now growers have an incentive to visit and sign up for notifications at www.seed-treatment-guide.com. Two lucky people will win a $500 cash prize!
How about a look ahead to spring weather and the celebration of agriculture? A lot of the country is dealing with winter weather right now and we hope everyone is safe during the current storm. But National Ag Day is right around the corner. I’ll be attending once again this year.
Let’s learn what will be going on in Washington, DC this year from Barry Nelson, John Deere, who is Chair of the Agriculture Council of America which oversees the National Ag Day program and has done so since 1973. It’s time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the program.
You can listen to my interview with Barry here: Interview with Barry Nelson
National Ag Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.
The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) calls on 9th to 12th-grade students to submit an original, 450-word essay or a two-minute video essay about the importance of agriculture. This year’s theme is “American Agriculture: Nourishing Opportunities” and the deadline is Feb. 1, 2013. The ACA asks teachers and parents to encourage student participation.
The theme, “American Agriculture: Nourishing Opportunities,” presents an opportunity for students to address how the agriculture industry is an endless source of opportunity for growth and development. Entrants may choose to either write an essay and/or create a video focusing on how today’s growers are overcoming challenges to provide a safe, stable food supply and sustain the significant role agriculture plays in everyday life.
The national written essay winner receives a $1,000 prize and round-trip ticket to Washington, D.C., for recognition during the Celebration of Ag Dinner held March 19 at Whitten Patio at the USDA. During dinner, the winner will have the opportunity to read the winning essay as well as join with industry representatives, members of Congress, federal agency representatives, media and other friends in a festive ag celebration. The video essay winner wins a $1,000 prize, and the winning video will play during the Celebration of Ag Dinner.
Today is Blog Action Day. The topic is “The Power of We.” I am going to take that to mean the power of the agricultural community. It is made up of all the farmers who grow the crops and raise the livestock we need to feed ourselves. It is also made up of everyone else in the food chain from agribusiness companies and processors to transportation and grocery stores and restaurants. That’s a big community with a lot of Power of We!
It’s also a very diverse community that includes what a lot of people refer to as conventional farmers and those who specialize in organic farming of different types. All of them share common concerns and challenges. All of them want and need to help the non-farm community understand where the food is coming from. That’s where organizations like the AgChat Foundation, USFRA and National Ag Day are playing a role today and there are many more.
I’m writing this in the hopes of continuing to urge and encourage farmers to join the online conversation. So many of you already are. We’re going to see communications technology continue to change as new mobile devices allow us to be constantly in touch. Let’s use that technology to help everyone understand that today’s farmers love and care for their land, for their animals and want to do all they can to become more productive while maintaining a sustainable business.
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts as Blog Action Day develops today. Thank you.
The Agriculture Council of America and Successful Farming are encouraging young artists to celebrate modern agriculture through the first ever National Ag Day Poster Art Contest. A winning original piece of art will be chosen as the Official National Ag Day poster.
The contest begins August 1 and is open to amateur artists enrolled in high school or college. The contest theme is Generations Nourishing Generations. Entries will be screened by a nine member jury. Finalists will then be judged through online voting to determine one winner.
In addition, the artwork and a profile of the artist will be prominently featured in Successful Farming magazine and Ag Day correspondence. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Successful Farming. The artist will receive a portion of the proceeds from limited edition prints and the original artwork will be on display in a public location.
The deadline for submitting entries is Midnight (CST), Oct. 31, 2012. For rules on the National Ag Day Poster Art Contest visit www.agday.org.
Kansas State graduate student, Rodrigo Pedrozo, received the American Seed Trade Association Roger Krueger Memorial Scholarship during last week’s convention. He’s seen here (right) with Jim Tobin, Monsanto, who presented the award.
The scholarship endowment, established in 2008 by the American Seed Research Foundation, is in honor of Roger Krueger who devoted his professional career to seeds and advocating the role of science in feeding the world.
The native Brazilian is working to complete his doctorate in seed pathology and seed borne pathogens. His research project is titled “Etiology mechanisms of infection and transmission of Fusarium Spp.”
“Pathogens associated with seed can cause decreased germination and this can result in lower yields,” Pedrozo said. “Seeds carrying disease propagules have the potential to introduce devastating diseases to U.S. crop fields.” Pedrozo studies eight Fusarium species. He hopes to learn which species should Kansas farmers be concerned about and which one is most detrimental. Another aspect of his research is trying to identify if the pathogen isolates can reach the seeds through internal or external transmission and if so at what percentage. Pedrozo is in the second year of his PhD and will continue this project for another three.
I visited with Jim Tobin right after the award presentation to learn more about it. He says that you can support the scholarship with a donation by contacting the ASTA office.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack signed a proclamation making March 8, 2012, National Agriculture Day. Here’s an excerpt of the proclamation which you can read in its entirety here (pdf).
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Office of the Secretary
Washington, D.C. 20250
NATIONAL AGRICULTURE DAY
March 8, 2012
By the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America
WHEREAS the Nation recognizes the outstanding contributions of the men and women of agriculture; and
WHEREAS the United States Department of Agriculture seeks to promote an understanding of America’s agricultural industry; and
WHEREAS American agriculture helps feed the world, fuels our Nation’s economy, and
is the largest positive contributor to our Nation’s net trade balance; and
WHEREAS agriculture provides jobs throughout the farm and food industry, including employment for farmers, farm workers, scientists, processors, shippers, and
Here are the winners in the 2012 National Ag Day Essay Contest. Pictured is written essay contest winner Miriam Martin, Bucklin, MO
Meadville R-IV High School, with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Miriam read her essay during the Celebration of Agriculture dinner.
The National Ag Day Essay Contest is sponsored by: CHS Inc., The Council for Agricultural Science & Technology, Farm Progress Companies, High Plains Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasting, National Agri-Marketing Association, Country Living Association and McCormick Company. I’m sure another contest will be announced soon so start thinking about what you would like to say now!