Importance of New Bayer Bee Care Center

bayer-bee-ncagThe new Bayer CropScience North America Bee Care Center is important for the future of one of the most critical little contributors to keeping the engine of agriculture running.

“They’ve been called the spark plug of agriculture,” said North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler at the grand opening of the center on Tuesday. “If the spark plug’s not functioning, neither is the car, so we’ve got to pay particular attention to our pollinators.”

bayer-bee-ncuTroxler stressed the vital role that research has in protecting pollinators and ultimately feeding the world. Dr. Richard Linton, Dean College of Agriculture and Life Sciences North Carolina State University, is pleased that the center will provide opportunities for students to achieve the goals of a land grant university. “It’s all about producing students for a very important industry of agriculture and it’s also about working with our stakeholders on research and outreach efforts,” he said.

Listen to my interview with the commissioner and the dean here: Interview with NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler and NC State Ag College Dean Rich Linton

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

Register Today For New Farmer Summit

image003Attention new and aspiring farmers you can learn about both the field and financial sides of farming while making valuable connections at the two-day New Farmer Summit April 4 and 5, 2014 at Primrose Valley Farm near New Glarus, WI.

The low-cost event includes 24 practical workshops on topics such as caring for livestock, organic vegetables, orchards, bees, soil, equipment and more. Other workshop topics include creative access to farmland, finding funding, making a business plan, and how to obtain organic certification.

Registration includes two full days of workshops, large group sessions, a farmer panel, organic meals, a seed swap, and an evening barn dance with live music and a caller. Cost is $75. Scholarships are available, and a discount is offered to farm partners. Lodging is not included, however, rooms have been set aside at hotels in New Glarus and several local inns.

Participants can sign up for an optional “behind-the-scenes” tour of three local, sustainable farms from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 3. The $35 fee includes bus transportation, lunch and snacks.

Primrose Valley Farm is an 83-acre farm, owned by Jamie and David Baker, located in the Driftless region of South Central Wisconsin. It is five minutes outside of New Glarus, 25 minutes from Madison, and under three hours from Chicago. The Bakers left corporate careers in Chicago in 2008 to take up farming. Now they grow 75 varieties of produce for a 300-member CSA (community-supported agriculture group). Their diversified farm includes a 14,000-square-foot packing house with a community room on the second floor, which is where group sessions and meals for the New Farmer Summit will be.

The New Farmer Summit is organized by the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and Renewing the Countryside. Sponsors include Agrarian Trust, the National Young Farmers Coalition, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Funding is provided by a grant from the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

Registration and additional details are available online at, or by calling 715-778-5775.

Meet the Jerry Minore Scholarship Winners

classic14-basf-wheatIn its second year, the Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarship fund honors students pursuing careers in the agriculture industry. A total of four students will be awarded a $1,000 or $1,500 scholarship.

As a BASF Senior Market Manager, Minore was a liaison to the wheat industry, including the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the Foundation, and an advocate for wheat growers, who passed away unexpectedly in February 2012. To honor his advocacy for the wheat industry, BASF partnered with NAWG to fund the scholarships.

“We are pleased to partner with BASF on something that was important to Jerry,” said NWF Chairman Jimmie Musick. “This scholarship is a great way to support youth who express interest in the wheat industry and also continue to honor Jerry’s legacy.”

Lee Moore of Red Springs, North Carolina – a freshman at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, studying agricultural business management.
Trey Heitschmidt of Bushton, Kansas – will be attending Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, in the fall of 2014 and plans on studying agronomy.
Heidi Jamison of Garfield, Washington – a sophomore at the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, studying agribusiness.
Max Mielke of Davenport, Washington – will be attending Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, in the fall of 2014 and plans on studying agricultural economics.

Meet the 2014 winners in this interview: Interview with BASF Wheat Scholarship Winners

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Meet Anna Leigh from Alabama

nfms14-annaWe brought Anna Leigh Peek to the National Farm Machinery Show last week as our “unofficial” intern for the day, just because we are very impressed with the motivation and self-confidence of this Alabama farm girl who is about to graduate from Auburn University with a degree in agricultural communications.

“I had grown up for 13 years of my life on the farm so I have a deep appreciation and love for agriculture which motivated me to start farming last year a little bit on my own,” Anna Leigh told us.

Chuck met Anna Leigh at an AgChat conference and she made a point to look me up at the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta last month because she is determined to land a good job in the field of ag communications when she graduates in May. “There’s a lot of things I haven’t gotten to try yet, but right now I can see myself doing some sort of agricultural public relations,” she said.

Anna Leigh was excited to spend a day with us and learn more about what we do at an event, as well as get to meet some more folks in the industry. She is active on Twitter @AnnaLeighPeek and has her own blog “AL from AL” – Anna Leigh from Alabama! Please feel free to contact us to find out more about her, but we give her the ZimmComm seal of approval if you are looking for a new hire who is highly motivated and a fast learner with plenty of great communications and social media skills.

Listen to my interview with Anna Leigh here: Interview with Anna Leigh Peek, Auburn graduating senior

National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

Coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored by FMC and New Holland Agriculture

Novus Sponsors Poultry Science Student Lunch

ippe-14-novus-bereshKeeping with the Novus International dedication to supporting scientific careers, the company this year sponsored the Poultry Scientific Forum student luncheon this year as part of the activities at the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta.

Bob Buresh, North American Technical Services Manager, says the founding societies sponsoring the student events at the forum set up the luncheon a few years ago and this year Novus came in as a sponsor. “We had 60-65 undergraduate and graduate students participating this year,” Bob said. “We have a strong commitment to developing the next generation of nutritionists, physiologists, geneticists, and sales people.”

Novus also provided a couple of door prizes for a couple of lucky students – nice little Vivitar digital video recorders – in addition to Novus flash drives for everyone, something that is always useful to a college student.

Listen to my interview with Bob here: Interview with Bob Buresh, Novus International

International Production and Processing Expo Photos

Sponsored by Novus International Inc

Novus Endowed Poultry Professorship

ippe-14-novus-profIn 2003, Novus International inaugurated a new Endowed Professorship in Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas and the first recipient was poultry nutrition professor Park Waldroup.

Last week at the International Production and Processing Expo, Novus honored professor Waldroup for his work and endowed a new professor with the honor – Dr. Casey Owens, who specializes in Poultry Processing and Products. Both are pictured here with Novus chief innovation officer Chris Knight and president Thad Simons. (left to right: Knight, Owens, Simons, Waldroup)

Park says the professorship allowed him to supplement his research program and support graduate students in poultry science. “Over the course of the years I was able to put three graduate students through for their PhD and they all have entered the poultry industry,” he said. “I’m a poultry nutritionist and have worked over the years on just about every aspect of poultry nutrition, focusing on amino acid requirements, energy requirements, you name it.” Interview with University of Arkansas Professor Park Waldroup

This is just one of many ways that Novus supports education and research in the field of animal health. Novus focuses on Solutions, Service and Sustainability for the industry, and Thad notes that people are an important part of sustainability. “The Novus vision is helping to feed the world wholesome and affordable food and improve the quality of life,” said Thad, noting that Novus expands that vision by encouraging young people to pursue scientific and agricultural careers in a variety of ways, from endowments to student support to internships, both in the United States and developing countries. Interview with Novus International CEO Thad Simons

International Production and Processing Expo Photos

Sponsored by Novus International Inc

Meet New ZimmComm Intern

Kristin-Liska-HeadshotOur internship program has been a huge success. Not only have the young college students who have taken advantage of the opportunity gained skills in all aspects of the ag media industry, but have also added so much to our team.

The ZimmComm Team is proud to announce our spring intern. Join us in welcoming Kristin Liska from Nebraska. She is a senior at Iowa State, but is proud to say she is still a Husker fan. This May she will be wrapping up her degree in animal science and journalism. Kristin has had a busy college career with her involvement in numerous clubs, including Block and Bridle and Bacon Expo. Twitter seems to be her number one hobby, along with reading and taking pictures. Be sure and follow her on Twitter at @KristinLiska1.

The ZimmComm Team have a full schedule of events this spring and you will have the opportunity to meet Kristin at Commodity Classic and NAMA Convention. So, don’t be shy when she comes up to you with a mic in hand.

Partnership For Farming Entrepreneurs

afbf-14-ladanThe American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and The Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) recently announced a partnership to help strengthen rural America. The multi-year collaboration will address solutions to building greater economic opportunity and security for those who live in rural communities, starting with a program involving the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative to advance rural entrepreneurship.

Chuck spoke with Ladan Manteghi, Executive Director of Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown University, about the collaboration.

“The purpose of the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative is really to help provide resources to anyone who has an idea for a new business or who have a entrepreneurial spirit and be able to strengthen the economic security of rural America.”

“Farmers are considered the original entrepreneurs and we believe that is the case. But often times there are two components to this. Farmers have ideas beyond whats in the farm gate. We want to be able to provide the tools and resources necessary to bring those ideas to market. Second, there are a lot of people in rural America who aren’t farmers and want the opportunity to build economic security and financial opportunity and need these resources as well.”

Ladan also shared hopes for a future collaboration with USDA. During the AFBF Convention Sec. of Agriculture Vilsack said, “It creates a sense of entrepreneurship so that you have investors and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to start businesses in rural areas. The program dovetails with what we are doing at USDA– trying to educate investment banks and investors about the opportunities to invest in rural opportunities.”

AFBF President Bob Stallman said, “Our partnership with Georgetown is dedicated to giving them and other leaders in rural communities nationwide both a forum and the practical means to brainstorm, strategize and bring their inspirations to fruition and, ultimately, strengthen their communities.”

Components of the program will include:

Rural innovation challenge to provide an opportunity for rural entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and business ventures in a collegial, yet competitive environment, and to receive mentoring and recognition
National summit on rural entrepreneurship that convenes thought leaders in rural economic development, public policy, and entrepreneurship to discuss barriers and solutions to increased business development in rural areas.
An online rural innovation hub that highlights stories of rural entrepreneurs’ experiences, learning, and successes, and serves as a virtual meeting place for individuals to share information.
Training workshops and webinars that give business tools and guidance in areas such as market research, concept and product development, pitch development and fundraising techniques, marketing, and more.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Ladan here: Interview with Ladan Manteghi

2014 AFBF Convention Photos

Prince William to Study Agriculture

prince-cowsHear ye, hear ye! New daddy and heir to the British throne will be studying agriculture in 2014.

A royal press release has announced that Prince William, otherwise known as the Duke of Cambridge, “is to undertake a 10-week bespoke programme in agricultural management, organised by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge.”

The course has been designed to help provide The Duke with an understanding of contemporary issues affecting agricultural business and rural communities in the United Kingdom.

He looks somewhat the part of a farmer in this photo inspecting cattle at his father’s Duchy Home Farm. Right?

Gemperle Farms Introduces Kid-Friendly Video Series

eggsGemperle Family Farms has launched an online video series to showcase egg-related crafts, recipes and science experiments, and to provide a behind-the-scenes look at farm life.

“At our Gemperle Chicken Ranch, we think it’s important to educate customers on what makes Gemperle Eggs special while having fun at the same time,” explained Gemperle Family Farms President Steve Gemperle. “These videos take an egg and transform it from a kitchen staple into an interesting and engaging science experiment, recipe or craft.”

All the videos highlight Gemperle chickens and eggs, ranging from explaining Egg-o-Nomics, to showcasing the Gemperle family’s dedication to happy and healthy chickens. For example, the kid-produced Bouncy Egg video uses Gemperle eggs to show kids how science can transform an egg into a rubber toy. There are already more than a dozen videos available and more added monthly.

In support of the new video series, Gemperle Farms is hosting an online contest, “Holiday Video Viewing.” Contestants are invited to watch educational and entertaining child-friendly videos on the website for a chance to win one of three fabulous prizes.

Go to the Gemperle Family Farms video webpage, watch a video, and send Gemperle Farms an email. Emails should be sent to with the subject line, “Gemperle Farms Videos.” In the text, include your name and the number of videos you watched. For each video, contestants will receive one entry into the drawing for an Amazon gift card. The contest runs through December 13, 2013. Winners will be randomly selected on December 16.

BASF/NAAA Partnership Supports Future of Ag Pilots

2013-NAAA-BASF-Ag-Aviation-Scholarship-winnersThree up-and-coming agricultural pilots were awarded scholarships sponsored by BASF and the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) to help them turn their dreams of becoming professional agricultural pilots into reality.

Kole Pederson of Crookston, MN; Richard Conrad of Kiel, WI and Heidi Stoeppler of Bakersfield, CA were awarded the NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarships of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 during the 47th Annual NAAA Convention and Exposition in Reno, NV. To qualify for the Agricultural Aviation Scholarship, applicants have to be sponsored by an NAAA member operator.

The scholarships are part of a longstanding partnership between BASF and NAAA to support the futures of students pursuing careers in the aerial application industry. Each year, two budding pilot trainees are awarded a scholarship; however, this year, three deserving applicants were selected.

“These passionate aviation students exemplify what it means to work hard and follow your dreams,” said Gary Fellows, Ph.D., Technical Market Manager, BASF, and member of the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation’s Professional Aerial Applicators’ Support System (NAAREF PAASS) Program Development Committee. “The scholarships offer the students an opportunity to pursue their goals and continue to move towards becoming invaluable members of the aerial application industry.”

Pederson attends University of Minnesota, pursuing a degree in aviation with an emphasis in agricultural aviation. He holds a private pilot certificate and tailwheel endorsement from the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation. Pederson was sponsored by Tom Rongen of AgriMAX LLC in Fisher, MN.

Conrad attends Fox Valley Technical College’s Aircraft Avionics program. He holds a private pilot certificate and tailwheel endorsement, as well as a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCAP) Commercial Applicator’s License. Dean Heimermann of Countryside Aviation LLC in Chilton, WI, sponsored him.

Stoeppler is training with the Bakersfield Flying Club as she builds time toward her private pilot certificate. She is sponsored by Jon Slikker of Vince Dusters in Bakersfield, CA.

Summer Education for ASFMRA

Jeff Berg, ARA, and Past President of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, talked about the ASFMRA Summer Education Week program during Agronomics Vision 2014 in Reno, NV. He told me that ASFMRA has a net increase of about 86 new members this year which is a big increase for the organization. Sounds like the ways that the organization is encouraging young people to get into the industry are working. It’s a great time to get into the business due to the changing demographics in the United States. ASFMRA chapters are sending representative to college clubs and classes like ag econ. He calls farm management, consulting and rural appraisal the best kept secret in agriculture.

Summer Education Week will take place July 13 – 17, 2014 in Des Moines, IA.

You can listen to my interview with Jeff here: Interview with Jeff Berg

Agronomics Vision 2014 Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the ASFMRA Agronomics Conference is sponsored by Halderman Farm Management.

Apply Today for ZimmComm Internship

zimmcom*The application has been updated. We had a technical glitch and need applicants to apply using this form. Sorry for the inconvenience.

ZimmComm New Media is now taking applications for our Winter/Spring Internship. Students in the agricultural communications field interested in attending and learning how to “agri-blog” some of the most important industry events held every year should apply.

The opportunities will include all-expense paid trips to one or more industry events where students will assist in the compiling of photos, audio and video and posting of activities on pertinent websites. Interns will learn and develop the use of tools, techniques and technology to gather and distribute information through various social media channels. Per-diem and college credits may also be available.

YES! I’m interested in learning how to do some agri-blogging. Apply Below.

ZimmComm Internship

Farm Management Training by ASFMRA

There are so many ways that the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers provide education for their members. One of those is an accelerated ag land management program which has brought the traditional and typical classes together into a three week course. These are for seasoned professionals instead of those just entering the field. I spoke with Mike Krause, Hertz Farm Management, about the program.

Another program is Summer Education Week. It moves around the country year to year. In includes core education for both the farm management/consulting and rural appraisal sides of the industry. The program will take place in Des Moines, IA in 2014.

You can listen to my interview with Mike here: Interview with Mike Krause

Agronomics Vision 2014 Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the ASFMRA Agronomics Conference is sponsored by Halderman Farm Management.

ASFMRA Leadership Institute Program

Besides certification programs the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers also has a Leadership Institute. Let’s learn all about it from Merrill W. Swanson, ARA of Dugger, Canaday, Grafe, Inc, in San Antonio, TX. Merrill has moved into the role of First Vice President of the ASFMRA. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the Government Relations Committee which has been conducting this annual leadership program for about 20 years. The program is sponsored by Dupont Pioneer. Merrill has attended four of the institutes.

Approximately 30 members are selected each year to go to Washington, DC for the program where they learn about how to navigate and communicate with the politicians and regulators making decisions about policies that affect their business. Attendees range in age and experience across all members of ASFMRA. It’s a week long program.

You can listen to my interview with Merrill here: Interview with Merrill Swanson

Agronomics Vision 2014 Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the ASFMRA Agronomics Conference is sponsored by Halderman Farm Management.

NAFB Scholarship Recipients Awarded

nafb-scholarshipOn the opening day of the 70th National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention the NAFB Foundation awarded this year’s scholarship recipients during a luncheon sponsored by the CME Group.

Gina Olsen is the first recipient of the George Logan Scholarship. She is attending the University of Missouri and seeking a degree in agriculture. Interview with Gina Olsen

Amie Burke is the recipient of the Glenn Kummerow Scholarship. She is attending Illinois is State University and will graduate in December and will soon join the communications team at GROWMARK. Interview with Amie Burke

Stacie Seger received the NAFB Foundation Scholarship and is a junior at The Ohio State University. There she is pursuing a BS in Agriculture Communications. Interview with Stacie Seger

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Do You Know Prince Agri Products

Dave CalabottaPrince Agri Products sponsored the Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop pre-conference symposium and I was invited in to cover it. To learn more about the company I spoke with Dave Calabotta (right), VP of Marketing and Business Development.

Dave says that Prince Agri Products has been around for about 150 years and is part of Phibro Animal Health. Prince focuses on the marketing of minerals and value added products with the goal of helping maximize the bottom line of dairy producers as well as other primary animal species. The focus here at this conference is on their OmniGen-AF and Animate products.

When dairy producers think of Prince Agri Products Dave wants them to think, “Innovation. We want to be one of the most respected companies as it relates to bringing new technologies in nutrition but more importantly on the cutting edge of where the industry is moving.”

Listen to my interview with Dave to learn more about Prince Agri Products: Interview with Dave Calabotta

Prince Agri Products Dairy Pre-Conference Symposium Photo Album

Meet DairyUS – The REAL Seal of Approval

image008The animated Dairy REAL Seal Character finally has a name. After a nationwide vote, the cartoon character who is helping to build awareness of the advantages of real dairy foods has been named DairyUS. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) made the announcement today during their annual meeting.

The character was modeled after the iconic REAL Seal logo and will help educate a new generation of consumers about the difference between genuine U.S. dairy products and imitations. The icon is part of an effort to revitalize the seal, which was created in the 1970s and is already used on more than 10,000 food products.

NMPF asked the public to suggest names for the character last summer, using the REAL® Seal website and new REAL® Seal Facebook page. Three finalists were selected from among more than 100 names submitted. An online vote was held from mid-September through Election Day, November 5.

In all, nearly 800 votes were cast. DairyUS, suggested by Kathryn in Clermont, Iowa, received 379 votes. The runner-up, Milkdrop, received 343 votes, while the third finalist, Roscow, received 74 votes. The results of the vote were announced today at the NMPF annual meeting, being held in Phoenix, Arizona.

“DairyUS will help both kids and adults learn about foods made with real dairy products,” said NMPF Chief Operating Officer Jim Mulhern. “The REAL® Seal not only means a product is a real dairy product, but that it is made with milk from cows on U.S. dairy farms and without imported, imitation or substitute ingredients.”

America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders Scholarship

monsanto-thumbMonsanto Company just announced their launch of the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders scholarship program to entice rural American students in pursuing careers in agriculture. The scholarship program in connection with the National FFA Scholarship program will provide rural students the opportunity to earn a $1,500 scholarship to pursue their education.

“With $1,500 to put toward their education, students will be better prepared to make a meaningful contribution that benefits themselves, their rural hometowns and the future of the agricultural industry,” said Elizabeth Vancil, Monsanto customer advocacy outreach manager.

About 25,000 agricultural jobs go unfilled each year due to the lack of qualified applicants. With a growing population the agricultural community needs talented, driven and passionate youth willing to commit to agriculture.

Monsanto recognizes and supports the role farmers play in the future of agriculture, so each Grow Ag Leaders applicant must have three farmers endorse his or her application. Eligible farmers can also help generate student interest in agricultural careers by spreading the word about this scholarship opportunity to eligible students in their communities and families.

America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders is currently available in 36 Crop Reporting Districts in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, North Carolina and South Carolina. You can find a complete list of the 264 counties in the districts at

Students interested in applying should visit the National FFA Organization to complete the application. Applications are accepted between November 15, 2013 and February 1, 2014. Eligible farmers interested in endorsing a student can also check out the National FFA Organizations website before February 8, 2014.

Celebrate National Teach Ag Day

TAG-day-13-webToday is National Teach Ag Day. One day out of 365 to celebrate school-based agricultural education and to encourage agricultural education advocates to share with others the great career opportunities in agricultural education.

The national ag holiday is for anyone who wants to share the story of agricultural education’s importance and effectiveness in the United States and also encourage students to consider careers as agricultural educators. Anyone who want to participate can find a variety of resources to help them talk about agricultural education at

Many FFA chapters and state FFA organizations will host activities including capitol rallies, special lessons, community activities and much more. The Teach Ag website is a clearinghouse of resources to help teachers and advocates. These free resources include a video, suggested teaching activities, games and giveaway items.

The Teach Ag Campaign is an initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education, led by the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). It is sponsored by the CHS Foundation and CSX as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Help celebrate the day and tune in to the celebration which will be streamed live from 1-3pm eastern. And don’t forget to participate via social media. On Twitter follow @Teach_Ag and use the hashtag #taglive13. You can also checkout their Facebook page.