One of the great things about the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) is the professional improvement it offers for up and coming ag journalists all over the world.
Alltech sponsors a Young Leader award program that offers an intensive journalistic boot camp-style workshop for 10 promising new journalists from ten different countries. This year’s young leader from the United States was Jennifer Latzke of High Plains Journal. This is the eighth year that Alltech has sponsored this valuable program.
In addition, DuPont Pioneer sponsors the Master Class for journalists from emerging nations. I spoke with DuPont media relations specialist Jane Slusark about that important program.
Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: IFAJ Master Class
2013 IFAJ Congress Photo Album
Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsors, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong and Monsanto, Roundup Ready Plus, for their support.
The country manager for DuPont in Argentina addressed the IFAJ 2013 Congress during the last day of activities for the event and he talked about the importance of the country for his company.
“DuPont is a science company and we want to produce solutions for some of the biggest challenges in the world and one of those is feeding the world,” said Juan Vaquer, DuPont Argentina. “Argentina is a country that can produce food for ten times its population. It has 40 million people, it produces food for 400 million people. So we believe that the combination of DuPont Pioneer science and Argentina’s capabilities can be a good combination for providing a solution for the food challenge.”
Juan added that some of the challenges in doing business with Argentina, such as volatility for example, are actually advantages. “Our growers are very agile in adapting new technologies,” he said. “It’s pure Darwinism, survival of the fittest.” Interview with Juan Vaquer, DuPont Argentina
Listen to Juan’s address to IFAJ here: Juan Vaquer, DuPont Argentina, speech to IFAJ13
2013 IFAJ Congress Photo Album
If you missed the Dupont Pioneer pavilion during the 2013 Farm Progress Show then you had your blinders on. The huge exhibit brought attendees into an air-conditioned environment to view their state-of-the-art technology for growers to take advantage of globally.
Senior Marketing Manager, Luke Davies, talked with me in their exhibit to shed some light on their growing product line and give a glimpse of what those who strolled through their booth during the Farm Progress Show were able to take in. Beyond that Luke was excited to share what is coming down the line in terms of technology.
“As soon as you come into our booth you are greeted by an option that really intrigues our families and our younger generation and that is the giant corn field that serves as a backdrop were we snap a picture. As you progress from there a big highlight for the crowd has been Pioneer Field 360, which is really our new precision agronomy tool working with growers to develop better productivity through better relationships.”
Listen to my interview with Luke here: Interview with Luke Davies
Jerry Harrington works with the agriculture trade media and publishes the Growing Point magazine for Dupont Pioneer customers. Also during the Farm Progress Show I spoke with him about how the companies focus on global relations has brought them to be long-time sponsors of Chuck & Cindy’s travels to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists conference. Currently the duo is in Argentina taking in all that the country has to offer when it comes to agriculture.
“We are an international company. It makes all the sense in the world to help enhance the communications among journalists, not only those who cover within the US but in international boarders as well. It’s been our pleasure to sponsor Chuck Zimmerman’s trips to the international ag journalist conventions and we intend to do so long into the future.”
Listen to my interview with Jerry here: Interview with Jerry Harrington
Check out photos from the event here: 2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album
With more growers relying on mobile technology for their daily farming operations, Farms Technology, L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont Pioneer, has upgraded its Dynamic Pricing PlatformSM (DPPSM) Graindesk mobile app to reflect sellers’ changing needs for updated grain-market information.
The free DPP mobile app puts your preferred buyers’ bids at your fingertips, enabling you to make, monitor and manage offers to sell corn, soybeans and wheat 24 hours a day.
The DPP Graindesk mobile app also delivers updated market information with the ability to create and manage futures-only and cash offers. Through mobile messaging, buyers can communicate with sellers directly through the mobile platform.
DPP Graindesk offers are monitored with every tick of the futures market from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 7:45 a.m. Utilizing the CME Group electronic markets, the DPP Graindesk facilitates an automatic connection between grower-approved offers and buyers’ hedge orders. With patented e-Pit®services, DPP Graindesk can place a hedge order, receive confirmation of the fill, execute the cash purchase, and notify both buyer and seller in seconds. Before the DPP Graindesk and the upgraded DPP Graindesk mobile app, growers interested in selling grain contacted merchandisers to get a price or waited for a price notification via a scheduled text message.
The DPP Graindesk mobile app is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices. Download the free mobile app at the App Store or Google Play store.
The agricultural biotechnology companies that develop genetically modified seeds (GMO) are coming together to launch a broad, new initiative to provide accurate information and answer the toughest questions about GMOs and how our food is grown. GMO Answers is a new conversation, public Q&A, and central online resource for information on GMOs, their background, use in agriculture, and research and data in one easy-to-access public resource for the first time.
As the public discussion on GMOs continues, the scientists who develop biotech seeds along with farmers who grow them want to make information about GMOs easier to find and understand.
GMO Answers is produced by the members of The Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences LLC, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta. Together, their commitment to openness and access to information is outlined in the GMO Answers five core principles.
DuPont and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced a new program to develop corn farmers for agricultural leadership opportunities. With more focus on food than ever, the NCGA DuPont New Leader Program will help to empower growers to share their story of their farms and the benefits of a robust agriculture system with key audiences, including consumers, media and decision-makers.
The NCGA DuPont New Leader Program will bring farmers from each affiliated state to two sessions to develop and hone their communications and leadership skills. The first session will be held in November at the DuPont Pioneer facilities in Johnston, Iowa. The second session will take place in Washington in July 2014. In between the two sessions, those farm couples involved will be encouraged to be actively participating and honing their skills in state and national programs.
Applications for the inaugural class will be available later this summer.
DuPont opened its Johnston Innovation Center, the company’s second innovation center in the United States and 12th around the world, focusing on the company’s unique integrated science capabilities across the food, agriculture and energy value chains.
The 3,500 square foot space and adjoining collaboration room showcases the latest company technology, applications and products created to meet the world’s biggest challenges, including food security, energy and protection. During the opening event, Chair and Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman, also announced two recent DuPont projects in Iowa that further demonstrate the company’s commitment to growing its research capacity globally in order to address the demands of a growing world population. DuPont Pioneer will break ground on a new research facility, Beaver Creek II, in Johnston in the fall of 2013 – a project that will add 100 new jobs to the Des Moines metro area. Additionally, DuPont is investing over $200 million in its Nevada, Iowa commercial cellulosic ethanol production facility. The construction of the facility will employ over 1,000 construction workers. It will employ over 60 full time jobs and involve hundreds of farmers who will supply the stover to the facility upon completion.
Food security was the topic for an address Wednesday to the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) World Forum by DuPont Executive Vice President Jim Borel.
“We need a new generation of food visionaries who can see the tremendous opportunity made possible by the simple fact that people have to eat,” Borel said.
The DuPont executive talked about the need for local solutions, information transfer, sustainability in a broad sense, and collaboration. His best quote was about technology. “There’s more technology in a kernel of seed corn than there is in an iPhone,” and even more than that, there’s more hope to feed the world.
The IFAMA forum also included a workshop on the Global Food Security Index, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by DuPont to facilitate dialogue about measuring food affordability, availability, safety and quality on a country-by-country basis.
Borel encouraged the IFAMA attendees to seriously consider the question “How will you help feed the world?”
Interview with DuPont Exec Jim Borel
IFAMA 23rd World Forum Photo Album
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new federal-private collaboration with DuPont to safeguard natural resources on private lands used to supply bio-based feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol production.
The joint agreement between USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and DuPont aims to set voluntary standards for the sustainable harvesting of agricultural residues for renewable fuel, and supports rural job creation, additional income for farmers, bio-based energy development, and the safeguarding of natural resources and land productivity.
The announcement involves the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NRCS and DuPont. USDA, through NRCS, will provide conservation planning assistance for farmers who supply bio-based feedstocks to biorefineries as the industry begins to commercialize. Conservation plan, written for individual operations, will ensure sustainable harvest of corn crop residues while promoting natural resource conservation and land productivity. A conservation plan is a voluntary document, written in cooperation with farmers, which helps them protect natural resources while promoting a farm’s economic sustainability.
Monsanto and Dupont Pioneer announced today “a series of technology licensing agreements.” These agreements will expand the range of seed products they can offer farmers. The agreements include a multi-year, royalty-bearing license for Monsanto’s next-generation soybean technologies in the United States and Canada.
I spoke with Lisa Safarian, Monsanto, US Row Crops lead, to get some details.
Some of the details include:
Through these agreements, DuPont Pioneer will be able to offer Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® soybeans as early as 2014, and Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ glyphosate and dicamba tolerant soybeans as early as 2015, pending regulatory approvals.
DuPont Pioneer also will receive regulatory data rights for the soybean and corn traits previously licensed from Monsanto, enabling it to create a wide array of stacked trait combinations using traits or genetics from DuPont Pioneer or others. Monsanto will receive access to certain DuPont Pioneer disease resistance and corn defoliation patents.
There are quite a few dollars involved in the agreement that include four annual fixed royalty payments from 2014 to 2017 totaling $802 million for trait technology, associated data, and soybean lines to support commercial introduction. Additionally, beginning in 2018, DuPont Pioneer will pay royalties on a per unit basis of Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield® and Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ for the life of the agreement for continued technology access, subject to annual minimum payments through 2023 totaling $950 million.
Additionally, the companies agreed to dismiss their respective antitrust and first-generation Roundup Ready® soybean patent lawsuits pending in U.S. federal court in St. Louis.
You can listen to my interview with Lisa here: Interview with Lisa Safarian
The keynote address at the welcome session of the 2013 AG CONNECT Expo was provided by James C. Borel, Executive Vice President, Dupont.
The focus of his remarks was on the need to feed a growing population. He says that at Dupont their approach to global food security rests on four key principals. They include “Science is universal but solutions have to be local; collaboration is what really unlocks the answers that science can provide; science has to become local wisdom, know how has to be brought to the people and the places that need it most and solutions to feed a growing population have to be sustainable in the truest sense of the word, not only environmentally but also economically and socially.”
You can listen to or download keynote address from James here: Welcome Session Keynote from James C. Borel
2013 AG CONNECT Expo Photo Album
My American Farm, the American Farm Bureau Foundation’s online interactive education program, received a huge investment from Dupont Pioneer that was announced at the beginning of the annual meeting here in Nashville. It is a $250,000 investment that will support new games and resources, increased outreach to K-12 stakeholders and a mobile application.
I learned more about it by speaking with Susan Bunz, vice president of policy and outreach for Dupont Pioneer. She says that the company actively promotes science education with a goal of attracting more students to study and pursue careers in sciences including agriculture.
During the stage presentation one lucky state farm bureau – North Dakota – received an interactive My American Farm kiosk to use at events around the state.
You can listen to my interview with Susan here: Interview with Susan Bunz
2013 American Farm Bureau Convention Photo Album
For the second year, the media organization Thompson Reuters has named its “Top 100 Global Innovators” and I received an email about the list headlined “Agriculture Industry is Innovating.”
“The Agriculture industry has a 1% representation with Monsanto making the list,” the press release says. “Last year Agriculture had 0% representation.”
So that means agricultural companies making the list went up by 100% since the first one – but really? Only one ag company on a list of 100 innovators? When I checked the entire list, I found a couple of other companies that could be classified as agricultural by having large agricultural divisions – DuPont, Dow and John Deere. DuPont and Dow are listed in the chemical industry, which indeed they are, and both made the list last year. John Deere is in the machinery category and was not on last year’s listing. The biggest industry segment of the companies making the list are in semiconductor and electrical and computer hardware, representing more than 30% of the list.
Thompson Reuters says the list was compiled using a system that focuses on companies responsible for generating a sizable amount of innovation. All organizations with 100 or more “innovative” patents from the most recent three years were included for consideration. Other factors include success of the patents, influence down the line and global adoption.
With all the innovations in seed technology, precision farming and crop protection, you would think that agriculture could make a better representation than just one percent of the top innovators in the world – or even 4% if you count the other three with ag interests. It’s not really that ag is not being counted, or that it is being hidden in companies that have a wide scope of interests. It seems like the answer may be that not enough time, effort and dollars are being invested in agriculture on a global scale, especially considering all the noise being made about nine billion people to feed by 2050. What do you think?
The Lacek Group has a full team assembled for the Dupont Pioneer account. Here they are in the Minneapolis office. Pictured from the left, Myrna Krueger, Kristina Entzminger, Jesse Riebe, Kim Le, Evan Davies, Melissa Norby, Amy Herman, Cole Thompson. Second row: Pete Abell, Jim Adler, Vinny Matassa, Amy Karls, Tricia Severson, Steve Pederson, Kristina Fenner. Third Row: Melissa Huset, Rachel Rabaey, David Carson, Jim Jarvis, Greg Goranson, David Yussen, Jay Walsh. Fourth Row: Elizabeth Kern, Mark Francel. Not pictured, Alan Bell, Amber Heinrich, Elizabeth Holum, Rosa Gatzios, Jay Larson and Randy Olson.
The DuPont Pioneer team at The Lacek Group consists of more than 25 people who possess a wide variety of talents in traditional and digital media. The Lacek Group was retained earlier in 2012 by DuPont Pioneer to handle the company’s full spectrum of marketing communications for the U.S. This includes advertising, digital communications, trade media relations and custom publishing.
“We are pleased to have an opportunity to build a talented team from the ground up,” says Evan Davies, partner and group account director. “We’ve added great talent at all levels and are excited to support the DuPont Pioneer commitment to putting the right product on the right acre.”
Photo Caption: The DuPont Pioneer team at The Lacek Group includes:
Drought hasn’t yet been moved to the back burner as companies like Dupont Pioneer make it a priority to engineer products to help farmers in times of uncontrollable circumstances. National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk gave agri-businesses a voice to share their latest products.
I sat down with Janelle Buxton, Marketing Communication Manager in Corn for Dupont Pioneer. She was excited to share a fairly new product farmers can take advantage of, Optimum AQUAmax. This corn hybrid is for water-limited environments, but also increases yield in normal conditions.
“One of the primary products that I work on is a drought tolerant corn hybrid. It’s one of Pioneers newest elite class of hybrids. Essentially what these Optimum AQUAmax products do is help deliver yield advantage in water-limited environments, much like the year we have had would be considered water limited. It then offers top-end yield potential in more normal growing conditions. Optimum AQUAmax products were launched in January 2011 in the western US in those areas that are chronically dry and then expanded to about 2 million acres in 2012.”
“In yield performance we saw that in over 11,200 on-farm grower competitive trials, with similar traited products, we saw a yield advantage of Optimum AQUAmax of about 8.9% in those water-limited environments. In more favorable growing conditions we saw 1.9% yield advantage.”
Listen to my complete interview with Janelle here: Janelle Buxton - Dupont Pioneer
2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album
What is ahead for global agriculture? Now there’s a question that can’t be easy to answer. But that’s the task Steve Elmore, Economics Director, Dupont Pioneer, had this morning at the AgroNomics Conference.
Steve provided attendees with information on the current major factors influencing agriculture. By understanding what these are ASFMRA members can draw more informed conclusions about the current and future health of this economic sector. There’s a lot of information in this presentation so I just recorded it all for your listening and learning pleasure.
Listen to Steve’s remarks here: Remarks from Steve Elmore
2012 Agronomics Photo Album
AgWired coverage of the ASFMRA Agronomics Conference is sponsored by Halderman Farm Management.
During events at the 2012 World Food Prize taking place in Des Moines, DuPont announced an enhancement to the Global Food Security Index that was commissioned by DuPont and developed by the Economist Intelligience Unit (EIU). The tool was designed to capture the impact of changes in global food prices at the national level. In response to the rising cost of food, the Index recorded a slight decline in global food security.
“This tool increases the chances of creating sustainable, science-based innovations that target specific challenges, collaborating with others on solutions and bringing know-how to the people and places that need it most,” said DuPont Executive Vice President James C. Borel. “Knowing where the impact is the greatest can help focus our collective efforts where they are needed most.”
The World Bank estimates that global food price spikes in 2008 pushed 44 million people below the poverty line globally, most of them in poor countries. In the United States, almost 15 percent of households experienced food insecurity in 2011, up 11 percent before recent price jumps. Today, the driver of price increases were the U.S. drought and other global weather issues.
“Many factors affect food prices, from rising demand in emerging markets to abrupt changes in the weather,” said EIU Global Forecasting Director Leo Abruzzese. “The new Price Adjustment Factor tool will assess, quarterly, the impact of price changes on a country’s ability to afford food. High and volatile prices can impact food security by limiting consumers’ purchasing power and calorie consumption.”
The Global Food Security Index addresses the underlying factors of food insecurity in 105 countries and points to areas for improvement and reforms. Features include:
- Ability to capture the impact of changing food prices on each country’s ability to afford food.
- Analysis of key findings.
- Definition of 25 global indicators that measure specific aspects of food affordability, accessibility, availability, nutritional value and safety.
- An interactive heat map of overall scores and detail of category results.
- Adjustable weightings to allow for scenario planning.
- Ability to compare multiple countries simultaneously and adjust rankings by indicators.
- A country details page that allows a food-security drill down into individual economies.
View the World Food Prize Photo Album here.
Caitlin Keck has been named communications coordinator for the DuPont Pioneer global forages team. Keck will provide marketing and communications support for the Pioneer corn silage, alfalfa and inoculants product lines.
Prior to joining the global forages team, Keck was a Pioneer agronomist in York, Neb., with the Pioneer Emerging Leaders Program. Keck is a graduate of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, Minn., where she received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education, leadership and communications with a double minor in animal science and Spanish.
Keck brings a solid agricultural background to the forages team. She grew up on a dairy farm near Owatonna, Minn., and was involved in several agricultural organizations during her university career, including National Collegiate Agricultural Ambassador Program, Gopher Dairy Club, Collegiate Agricultural Women, the International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership Program and the Minnesota FFA Association.
Monsanto Company has won a patent infringement trial in the U.S. District Court against DuPont Pioneer over the use of Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready® technology.
In rendering its verdict, the federal jury found that DuPont (NYSE: DD) and DuPont Pioneer had willfully infringed Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready® technology when it tried to patch the problems with DuPont’s own Optimum® GAT® (OGAT) technology that had failed in earlier development. The jury awarded damages of $1 billion to Monsanto based on DuPont’s willful infringement of its technology and the improper head start that DuPont obtained when it infringed Monsanto’s technology rights. The finding of willful infringement could lead to an increased award of damages in the case.
Monsanto originally filed suit against DuPont and DuPont Pioneer in May 2009. The lawsuit sought to prevent the unlicensed combination of Monsanto’s proprietary Roundup Ready herbicide tolerant technologies in soybeans and corn with DuPont’s problem plagued OGAT. DuPont had been offered a license at multiple times prior to and throughout the duration of the trial, but the Delaware-based company refused to accept the offer from Monsanto Company.
DuPont will appeal the verdict, according to a company press release:
DuPont strongly disagrees with the verdict that was reached in favor of Monsanto in Monsanto’s patent case against Du Pont in the United States District Court in St. Louis, Missouri. There were several fundamental errors in the case which deprived the jury of important facts and arguments and led to the disappointing outcome. DuPont will appeal at the earliest possible opportunity and expects to overturn this verdict.
Beginning this weekend you’ll see a new name for Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. As of July 1 it will be known as DuPont Pioneer. According to information I received the change is a part of the company extending DuPont’s efforts in the agricultural and food industries. The change in the name is to reflect a joint mission to find solutions to ensure that the world’s growing population has enough food. The new DuPont Pioneer name reflects this joint commitment, allowing DuPont and Pioneer to work closer together, strengthening their alignment publicly.
The DuPont Pioneer goal remains the same – to provide the best products, services and information to help growers get the highest return on every acre they farm. Nothing in that commitment will change, and Pioneer remains an important brand as it has been for more than 85 years.