GMO Labeling Bill Seen as “Step to Restoring Sanity”

cfsafFarm and commodity groups are throwing their support behind a new bill that is hoped to end some of the craziness over food labeling in this country. The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, which includes the likes of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the American Soybean Association (ASA), and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), as well as more than 30 other groups, praised the bipartisan bill from Reps. Mike Pompeo and G.K. Butterfield, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which is designed to establish a federal labeling standard for food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

“The introduction of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act was an important first step to restoring sanity to America’s food labeling laws,” said Martin Barbre, President, NCGA. “GMOs are perfectly safe and America’s farmers rely on this proven technology to protect our crops from insects, weeds and drought.”

Supporters believe the bill would help eliminate confusion among consumers and give those consumers better confidence in what they buy.

“This bill is a commonsense, science-based approach to an issue we realize is close to the hearts and minds of so many consumers,” said Iowa farmer and ASA President Ray Gaesser. “Americans want to know that their food is safe, and the solutions proposed in this bill will ensure that they have that information.”

Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says the measure makes clear that the Food and Drug Administration will be the Nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing GMOs and would eliminate a patchwork of state regulations across the country.

“The diversity of innovative options farmers and ranchers have in regard to how they grow our food is one of the reasons U.S. consumers enjoy a wide variety of foods that are also among the most affordable in the world.”

Other highlights of the bill include ensuring the FDA conducts safety reviews and providing better information and consistency for consumers.

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.

Corn Growers, NASCAR Making Spring Greener

nascarracetogreen1Corn growers across the country are either busy planting or getting ready to plant. A little different initiative also shows their environmental concern. This month, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is joining NASCAR for the second year of the NASCAR Race to Green Campaign.

The goal of NASCAR Race to Green is to highlight the accomplishments of NASCAR Green™ programs like the move three years ago to Sunoco Green E15, a fuel blended with 15 percent American Ethanol, and its massive tree planting initiative to help reduce the sport’s carbon footprint.

“American Ethanol is a key part of NASCAR’s efforts to reduce the sport’s carbon footprint,” said Jon Holzfaster, a Paxton, Neb., farmer and chairman of NCGA’s NASCAR Advisory Committee. “These high-performance cars have put more than five million tough competition miles on E15 in the last three years, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. Combine this with the massive tree planting effort underway, and the results are phenomenal.”

American Ethanol, which is supported by corn checkoff investments and ethanol plant members of Growth Energy, has committed to plant 50 trees for every American Ethanol Green Flag waved during NASCAR’s national series races in the month of April.

The NASCAR Race to Green program runs through April 25. More information is available at http://green.nascar.com/.

Corn Growers: Plantings Down, But Plenty of Stocks

ncga-logo-newThis year’s corn plantings are expected to be down this year, but growers say there will be plenty of stockpiles for all needs. While soybean plantings are expected to be a record, the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that American farmers expect to plant 3.7 million fewer acres of corn this year, down four percent from 2013. But the National Corn Growers Association says, don’t worry, there are plenty of stocks going into the year, and it would still be the fifth-largest U.S. corn acreage planted.

“In 2013, U.S. farmers produced a record crop abundant enough to meet all needs and provide an ample carry over into 2014,” National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre said. “While it is still early in the season and many factors may change the reality on the ground as planting progresses, the public can rest assured that bountiful stockpiles and adequate plantings will ensure our corn security for the year to come.”

NCGA says the plantings will yield 13.37 billion bushels, and corn stocks stand at more than 7 billion bushels, up 30 percent from the same time last year.

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

FMC Introduces Solstice at Classic

classic14-fmcThis year at the Commodity Classic, FMC Corporation was excited to announce the registration of new Solstice herbicide to be used early post-emerge in corn.

Technical Service Rep Nick Hustedde says Solstice is a pre-mix of two modes of action – PPD and HPPD – that creates rapid activity that works especially well on large-seeded broadleaf escapes, such as waterhemp and Palmer Amaranth.

Nick also talked about Authority Maxx, which received EPA registration last fall, as well as Anthem now registered for soybeans. Interview with Nick Hustedde, FMC

While at the FMC booth, I was also able to talk with Matt Hancock about FMC’s Capture LFR insecticide, which he says is now the leading soil-applied insecticide in corn. Matt says one of the main reasons for that is that Capture LFR helps improve yield “by protecting your stand from corn root worms, including resistant corn root worms, and secondary pests like white grubs, root aphids, seed corn maggots, cut worms, wire worms, all those pests that are out there in the soil waiting to damage your stand before it ever really gets started good.”

Matt adds that farmers can visit ZoneOfProtection.com to find out more about Capture LFR – and listen to him explain more in this interview. Interview with Matt Hancock, FMC

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Hortau Tweet Gets our Attention

As I said before, we were so busy at Commodity Classic even with four people we were unable to cover everything we wanted to cover, but one company did something that caught our attention and made us go out of our way to meet them.

@Hortau Simplified Irrigation sent a tweet to @Agriblogger asking him to come by and do an interview.

classic14-hortauIt was that simple. Now, if you don’t know already, @Agriblogger is one of Chuck Zimmerman’s “personalities” (I live with him, I can tell you he has several!). Since he had to bug out of the Classic early to go to the Farm & Gin Show, he left instructions for someone who remained to go by and see those @Hortau folks, so I did and met CEO Jocelyn Boudreau and Regional Sales Manager Doug Larson. (Neither of them sent the tweet, by the way, it was their marketing director – who deserves a raise!)

Jocelyn told me that Hortau Simplified Irrigation was started in 2002, “with the idea of optimizing water usage on farm, taking a plant-centric approach to use water to grow a healthier crop, boost yields and give water the same level of attention and precision as we do with fertilizers and plant genetics.”

Doug says it was the first time for Hortau at Classic and they were very pleased. “This is really our audience,” he said. “We work the high plains region of the country, so most of our growers are corn or soybean growers.”

Find out more about Hortau here: Interview with Jocelyn Boudreau and Doug Larson, Hortau Irrigation

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Impressive StollerUSA Grower Panel at Classic

classic14-stoller-panelWe really, really tried, but even with four people at Commodity Classic we were just unable to see and do everything, and one of the companies we regret missing was StollerUSA. However, the good news is that hundreds of growers from around the country were able to find out more of what StollerUSA has to offer from farmers like themselves.

classic14-stoller-signStollerUSA sponsored one of the first Learning Center Sessions at the Classic on “Ideas to Break Through Yield Barriers.” It was standing room only for the session where at least 600 farmers gathered to hear top growers from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Texas talk about their successes and failures to become local, state and national yield winners each year. Our longtime friend and colleague Ken Root was moderator for that event, as well as continued conversations with the growers at the StollerUSA booth in the trade show.

We were able to get an interview with one of those growers – Adam Watson who farms 4,000 acres of white corn, yellow corn, seed corn and soybeans in Villa Grove, Illinois. That would be thanks to the tenacious and talented Sally Behringer who tracked us down in the media room on the last day of the show!
classic14-classic-growerAdam passed on some of the yield-busting tips he had been sharing with other farmers all week, such as staying up to date on new technology. “This year we’re implementing a UAV,” he said. “We’re going to have sensors on it to give back data to us. I want to know today what I need to do tomorrow.”

Adam says he does lots of trials on his farm to learn what works and what doesn’t, and how StollerUSA products such as Bio-Forge have helped him managing plant stress and increase yields. Last year he says his yields for corn were the best ever. “We had a farm average of 213 (bushels per acre),” he said. “That put a big smile on my face.”

Find out more in this interview with Adam: Interview with Illinois farmer Adam Watson

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

NCGA CEO to Retire

classic14-rickAfter 14 years of leading the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), CEO Rick Tolman has decided it’s time to retire – so take a good look at this photo here because it was the last Commodity Classic for Rick as CEO.

The announcement was made today from NCGA that Rick told the NCGA Corn Board earlier this week that he would like to step down as chief executive officer at the end of September

“Rick has been a tireless advocate for corn farmers and our organization,” said NCGA president Martin Barbre in a statement. “However, Rick told us – as much as he loves representing our way of life – he is ready to enjoy more time with his wife, Linda, and their five children and eight grandchildren, and other pursuits. As he said it, we all put off things until ‘someday,’ and, for him, ‘someday’ has finally come, after 14 years of service to the organization and a 37-year career in agriculture.”

classic14-martinMartin added that they are sad to see Rick go but that he is “definitely riding into the sunset on a high note.”

“We all want to leave things better than we found them, and Rick can certainly be proud of his legacy at NCGA,” Martin said, adding that it will be a year of transition, not turmoil. Rick will remain as CEO until September 30 and the board will soon begin the somewhat reluctant process of searching for a replacement.

This post was supposed to be about some of the great news that both Rick and Martin had to share at the Commodity Classic, so that is still what it will be. I did interviews with both of them about some of NCGA’s recent success stories and new initiatives.

One brand new news item Rick announced at the NCGA banquet was that the Smithsonian Institution wants to put the Corn Farmers Coalition DC metro campaign ads in a new exhibition called “American Enterprise” scheduled to open next year in the Museum of American History. “It will last for 20 years and we anticipate about 90 million people seeing it,” Rick said.

In this interview on the final day of Classic, Rick also talks about the great corn grower response last year to commenting on the EPA proposal to gut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and how NCGA plans to keep that momentum going. Interview with Rick Tolman, NCGA CEO

I talked with Martin specifically about a couple of recent NCGA initiatives – the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, and the Soil Health Partnership. He also discussed two major policy issues facing NCGA this year – implementation of the farm bill and getting the water resources bill across the finish line. Interview with Martin Barbre, NCGA president

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Celebrates Corn and Soybean Farmers

classic14-basf-banquet1BASF Crop Protection helped corn and soybean growers celebrate the achievements of the past year as sponsors of the big association banquets during the Commodity Classic last week.

At the National Corn Growers Association banquet, BASF Manager for Plant Health and Seed Treatment Dr. Gary Fellows talked about how corn growers are living Howard Buffett’s “40 Chances” challenge to make a difference in the world. “You are all greatly maximizing your 40 chances, or 40 seasons, to producing more out of the same acre,” Gary said, paying tribute to the corn yield contest and scholarship winners who were honored during the banquet.

classic14-basf-sharonBASF Communications and Industry Relations Manager Sharon Hall attended the American Soybean Association annual banquet and helped to present the Conservation Legacy Awards, which BASF co-sponsors. Iowa soybean farmer David Ausberger was honored as both the Midwest regional and the national award winner. Jerry Peery of Kentucky received the the South Region award, and Mark and Phyllis Legan of Indiana received the award for the Northeast Region.


BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Soil Health Partnership Update at Classic

soil-healthSince the health of a farm depends largely on healthy soil, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), with support from the Walton Family Foundation and Monsanto, recently announced the formation a new Science Advisory Council and the Soil Health Partnership (SHP).

During a press conference at the Commodity Classic, members of the partnership discussed plans to help farmers enhance soil health and introduced the initiative’s first demonstration farmers – Bill and Tim Couser of Nevada, Iowa. NCGA vice president of production and utilization Paul Bertels, Monsanto sustainable business solutions lead Michael Doane, and Sean McMahon, North American agriculture program director for The Nature Conservancy, also took part in the discussion.

SHP’s ultimate goal is to measure and communicate the economic and environmental benefits of different soil management strategies; and provide a set of regionally specific, data-driven recommendations that farmers can use to improve the productivity and sustainability of their farms. Over the next five years, SHP will work to aggregate regional data to catalyze a platform for knowledge-sharing from farmer to farmer to create a set of best practices to improve soil health.

Listen to the full Soil Health Partnership press conference here: Soil Health Partnership Press Conference

Interview with Tim and Bill Couser: Bill and Tim Couser Interview

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Facts on Ethanol’s Side in Fight with Big Oil

jennings1It’s not always fact-based arguments proponents of ethanol are up against when battling Big Oil. But that’s why it’s all more important to make sure you have good facts on your side in the fight. Farmers who attended the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio were able to sit in on a session titled, “Biofuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard, A Farmer’s Avenue to American Energy Independence,” to make sure they can talk about the success stories and silence ethanol’s critics.

Brian Jennings with the American Coalition for Ethanol was one of the panelists taking part. He said you’re not necessarily battling facts when it comes to taking on some of the myths put out by the petroleum industry.

“The message I was trying to relay to the corn growers is stay involved, remain engaged, get your neighbors and friends involved, and know that this isn’t a fact-based fight. When the fight is about facts, we always win,” Brian said, adding that ethanol doesn’t have to stoop to the lies and scare tactics of Big Oil.

Listen to Brian’s interview here: Brian Jennings, American Coalition for Ethanol

doxtad1Another effective tool in the fight is showing the positive change ethanol has brought to Rural America, creating better markets for farmers’ corn, helping the country achieve energy independence, and building up communities, like the one that Northwest Iowa corn farmer James Doxtad comes from. He says while many folks back in his home state are aware of the good the renewable fuel has brought to the heartland, too many people in the country just don’t know.

“It’s amazing how many people out there are unaware of the advantages of ethanol. Ethanol is a good thing, we’re producing a good product, and we’re doing it for a good reason.” he said.

Check out James’ interview here: Iowa farmer James Doxtad

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

NCGA Honors Corn Industry Legend

classic14-jere-groupThe National Corn Growers Association celebrated the long and productive career of a corn farmer, friend and industry legend last Saturday during the concluding Corn Congress at the Commodity Classic.

Jere White is retiring from the Kansas Corn Growers after leading that organization for a quarter of a century. During the Congress, he was presented with the Meritorious Service Award from NCGA and received a standing ovation from those present. Our friend had a serious motorcycle accident in September 2012, and while he has made a remarkable recovery from critical injuries, he recently decided it was time to pass the reins of the association on to someone else.

classic14-greg-jereThe new Kansas Corn CEO, pictured here with Jere, is Greg Krissek – who is both highly qualified for the job and a long-time friend. In his career, Greg has served as Assistant Secretary at the Kansas Department of Agriculture; Director of Operations at Kansas Corn and Kansas Grain Sorghum; Director of Government Affairs for ICM Inc. and, most recently was a manager at Kennedy and Coe, LLC. He has also served on many ethanol and agricultural association boards and on seven ethanol plant boards of directors.

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

FMC Tackles Weeds in the South

farm-gin-14-rusty-mitchellFMC representatives were eager to visit with attendees of the recent Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in Memphis, TN. Chuck spoke with Rusty Mitchell during the event about some of their products corn and soybean growers across the South can and should take advantage of.

“We’ve got a couple of new products that we have available for both corn and soybean. Of course we have our Authority brand, our pre-herbicide. We have a couple new Authority products that we introduced last summer. One was Authority Elite. It has done really well this past year. We also are introducing this year, Authority Maxx, which has mulitple modes of action all pointed towards control on Palmer Amaranth.”

Rusty also talks about their product Anthem that was originally slated for corn, but recently has been approved for use on soybeans. They both have a very flexible application window and it controls a broad spectrum of broadleaves.

On the topic of Anthem, FMC is investing in farming’s future by hosting their 3rd Annual Stand & Be Heard Anthem Singing Contest. It is officially underway and youth can submit their entires here.

“Always remember regardless of what crop you are producing from the standpoint of weed control is to start clean, utilize a good burn down program, utilize a residual pre and then come back in with a follow up application of some kind of overlapping residual.”

You can listen to my interview with Rusty here: Interview with Rusty Mitchell

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

FMC Investing in Farming’s Future

FMC at Mid-South Farm & Gin ShowHere’s a big thank you to FMC for sponsoring my first time ever coverage of the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. For all my friends who said, “Gin Show?” I’ve got an interview coming up with the show manager that will answer all your questions.

While I was spending time with FMC today here in Memphis I met Tim Thompson who is row crop product manager for the southeast. I asked Tim to give me an overview of the products that FMC offers for corn, soybeans, peanuts, rice and cotton. Farmers of all these crops are represented here at the the show which has a strong cotton background. Tim says that at FMC, investing in farming’s future, is their mantra. One of their key areas of focus is resistance management. He provided me with several crop examples. Tim also talks about some new products FMC has in the field and even in the future.

You can listen to my interview with Tim here: Interview with Tim Thompson

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

Commodity Classic Presidents

classic14-presidentsA tradition of the Commodity Classic is to have a discussion panel that includes Presidents of some of the commodity organization. Moderator Mark Mayfield (left) engages the growers in a discussion that ranges from what is happening in their respective organizations to what some hot topics are in the industry. From left to right after Mark, are the presidents of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Soybean Association (ASA), and National Sorghum Producers (NSP).

Listen to each of the presidents individually below, or the entire panel.

NAWG- Bing von Bergen:NAWG Bing von Bergen

NCGA- Martin Barbe: NCGA Martin Barbre

ASA- Ray Gaesser: ASA Ray Gaesser

NSP- J.B. Stewart:NSP J.B. Stewart

Feel free to listen to the group discussion here:
Group Discussion


2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Corn Growers Talk Priorities at Commodity Classic

ncga1Members of the National Corn Growers Association are at Commodity Classic in full force this year, as part the more than 7,000+ corn, wheat, soybean and sorghum growers who have come to San Antonio. President of NCGA, Martin Barbre, a farmer from Illinois, outlined some of his group’s priorities in this coming year, including their work with a couple of partnerships, the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food and the Soil Health Partnership.

“The goal of the [Coalition for Safe Affordable Food] is to seek a federal solution that would establish standards for the safety and labeling of food and beverage and products made with biotech ingredients,” pointing out that GMO issues have been hot in the last few years, and a hodge podge of state regulations would only cloud the issue for producers and consumers. “If we get a myriad, a patchwork of state laws, how would I as a corn grower in Illinois if I’m shipping corn out to Indiana or down the Mississippi certify [my crop].”

The Soil Health Partnership has the support of Monsanto and the Walton Family Foundation and relies on a science advisory council made up of government and university experts as well as environmental groups. “These are just examples of many of the coalitions we’ve been able to work on.”

Another big topic for the corn growers is the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), particularly what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to reduce the amount of corn-based ethanol to be mixed into the Nation’s fuel supply. Barbre said he’s proud of the outpouring of support his NCGA members have given in the form of thousands of calls and letters to the EPA and White House to reverse what they see as bad proposal.

“We’ve done our part so far. It’s an uphill battle, but we’ll keep our pressure on the Administration,” he said.

The new Farm Bill was welcomed by the NCGA, with Barbre calling it a law that makes sense, focusing help for growers when they need it, helping conservation efforts, saving taxpayers’ dollars and feeding the hungry.

Listen to more of Barbre’s remarks here: NCGA Press Conference with Martin Barbre


2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Meet the BASF NCGA Scholarship Winners

classic14-basf-ncgaFor the seventh year in a row, BASF Crop Protection teamed up with the National Corn Growers Association to provide the William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture scholarships to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing an agricultural degree.

Mark Scott, a Missouri farmer on the NCGA Grower Services Action Team, helped to present the scholarships. “We’d like to thank BASF for their commitment to the future of our industry,” said Mark. “We feel it’s vital to encourage and support our young people in an ag-related field.”

The program awarded scholarships of $1,000 each to the following students:
Clayton Carley of Milford, Illinois – a junior at Parkland College, Champaign, Illinois, studying crop science and agricultural education.
Emma Likens of Swanton, Nebraska – a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, studying agricultural journalism.
Nicole Schubert of Rockford, Iowa – a junior at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, studying animal science and animal ecology.
Hillary Kletscher of Lamberton, Minnesota – a junior at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, studying biological systems engineering.
Lauren Zitelman of Alma, Missouri – a sophomore at University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, studying agribusiness management.

Pictured from left to right are Mark, Clayton, Emma, and Nicole – Hillary and Lauren were not able to make it. You can hear from those who were in attendance in the interview here: Interview with NCGA Scholarship Winners


BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Growing Today for Tomorrow

basf-cc14-scholarsBASF Crop Protection is committed to growing the future of agriculture by investing in the next generation of professionals for the industry.

BASF this year has continued its partnership with the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the National Wheat Foundation (NWF) to present 10 students with scholarships today during the 2014 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. The scholarships were awarded to students across the country who are pursuing degrees in agriculture.

Dr. Gary Fellows, BASF Manager for Plant Health and Seed Treatment, presented the awards to the students at the BASF exhibit in the Classic trade show. “We’re talking about the farm of the future and these kids are the ones that are going to run that farm,” said Gary. “If you saw their applications for these scholarships, there’s an excellent bunch of students here in all aspects of agriculture from communications, to science, to research, to practical agriculture. But what they all have in common is they are advocates for agriculture to the non-agriculture world.”

We will hear from all the different winners in posts to come, but you can find a list of them all here and see photos in the album linked below.

Listen to my interview with Gary here: Interview with Gary Fellows, BASF

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Shares Science Behind the Advanced Acre

basf-cc-14This is the eighth year for the BASF Crop Protection Science Behind media event series held prior to the kickoff of the Commodity Classic and this year the theme is The Advanced Acre.

“The advanced acre is a comprehensive approach that BASF wants to take in its relationship with growers,” said Scott Kay, BASF Vice President for U.S. Crop Protection. “It’s a very good approach to start with the agronomics, talk to the growers about what they have going on on their farm and what they’re planning to do in the future.”

basf-cc14-scottScott is carrying a different title at BASF these days than the last few times we talked to him. He recently moved from the Canadian Crop Protection division of the company back to the United States, taking the place of Paul Rea who has gone global with BASF.

Scott is excited to be back in the North Carolina BASF headquarters and sharing with the U.S. ag media what BASF is doing to help growers get the most out of every acre. “BASF is very committed to agriculture,” said Scott. “We make up roughly six percent of the overall BASF business, yet we receive 35% of the overall R&D investment. That equates to about two million dollars every day.”

BASF now expects its crop protection R&D pipeline
to achieve a peak sales potential of nearly €2.1 billion ($2.9 billion), an increase of €400 million over the past year, driven primarily by global demand for BASF’s new Xemium fungicide and Kixor herbicide. BASF also plans to launch a host of new products across a wide range of crops and markets until the end of the decade. Supported by favorable market trends, the R&D pipeline and continued investments will contribute to the Crop Protection division reaching its previously-announced sales target of €8 billion ($11 billion) by 2020.

Listen to my interview with Scott here: Interview with Scott Kay, BASF
Listen to Scott’s Science Behind presentation here: BASF Science Behind with Scott Kay

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos