Farmland in the Big Apple

Director James Moll (3rd from left) and film editor Tim Calandrello pose with farmers David Loberg, Leighton Cooley, Sutton Morgan, Ryan Veldhuizen and Brad Bellah attend the Private New York Premiere of "Farmland" during the Tribeca Film Festival (Getty Images)

Director James Moll (3rd from left) and film editor Tim Calandrello pose with farmers David Loberg, Leighton Cooley, Sutton Morgan, Ryan Veldhuizen and Brad Bellah attend the Private New York Premiere of “Farmland” during the Tribeca Film Festival (Getty Images)

Farmland the movie was screened last night at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), which has been actively involved in promoting the film across the country, reports that the premiere of Farmland in the Big Apple was a huge success with two packed theaters screening the film.

In an age where most Americans have not stepped foot on a farm or ranch or even talked to those who grow and raise the food we eat, Farmland takes an intimate look at the lives of six young farmers and ranchers, all of whom are now responsible for running their farm operation. Before the showing, director James Moll and the six farmers and ranchers involved in the film took a moment to host a press conference with ag media.

The featured farmers are:
Brad Bellah – 6th generation cattle rancher in Texas
Leighton Cooley – 4th generation poultry farmer in Georgia
David Loberg – 5th generation corn and bean farmer from Nebraska
Sutton Morgan – 4th generation vegetable grower in California
Ryan Veldhuizen – 5th generation hog farmer
Margaret Schlass – CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) grower in Pennsylvania

Ways you can support the film are by going to farmlandfilm.com and with hashtag #farmlandfilm. There’s a list of showings by state and you can also expect to see Farmland on your own television via OnDemand in the future.

You can listen to the press conference here: Farmland the movie New York press conference

Industrial Hemp Making its Case

vote-hempIndustrial hemp could be on the verge of becoming a respectable alternative crop in the United States, as it once was back when the country was founded and our first president grew it on his farm.

Ben Droz with Vote Hemp was one of the attendees at National Agriculture Day last week in Washington, and he’s thrilled to talk about how hemp is part of the latest farm bill.

“It allows states to conduct pilot program research projects at the university level and through the state departments of agriculture,” but just in those 10 states where it’s already legal to grow hemp. “Ultimately, I’m sure that we’ll get positive results, and those results will encourage lawmakers to change these laws so farmers can grow this profitable crop.”

Ben said the Farm Bill defined industrial hemp, not to be confused with marijuana despite its similar appearance, as having just 3/10 of a percent or less of THC – the active ingredient in the drug. Even if you smoked a hemp joint the size of a telephone pole, Ben said you still wouldn’t get high. Historically, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, and Henry Ford was actually doing research on hemp fuels and hemp biocomposites. In the picture, Ben’s carrying a hemp composite briefcase and wearing a tie made of hemp, and he says hemp food products are available in many grocery stores.

“There’s literally thousands of uses for hemp.”

Listen to all of Cindy’s conversation with Ben here: Interview with Ben Droz, Vote Hemp

2014 Ag Day Photo Album

Coverage of National Ag Day is sponsored by BCS Communications

Farm Movie Screenings Scheduled

Great American Wheat Harvest at Ag DayMovie screenings for The Great American Wheat Harvest have been scheduled and more will be.

The first one is April 2, 2014 in Lincoln, NE from 7-9pm which will be the kickoff of the “Heart of America Tour.” The location is The Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 313 N. 13th Street. An RSVP is required. Register at https://gawh-lincolnpremiere.eventbrite.com.

The second one will be held on Friday, April 4th in Scottsbluff, NE. This is a *Special Event* with the Nebraska Wheat Board Mobile Baking Unit. The location is The Midwest Theater, 1707 Broadway.

Friday Night Doors Open at 6:45 p.m. (MST). Come early for treats provided by the Nebraska Wheat Board; Special Introductions; Meet the Filmmaker, Conrad Weaver; and pick up your Free Movie Poster! Film begins about 8 p.m. (MST). Tickets are $5 for Members/Students, $7 for Non-members and may be purchased at the Midwest Theater box office.

Other showings include:
Sat., April 5: 7:30 p.m.
Sun., April 6: 1:30 p.m.

Social Media Farmer of the Year Nominations Needed

ZimmCast 432Do you have a favorite farmer using social media? Are you really engaged in the online conversation yourself? Then get your nomination in for the first Social Media Farmer of the Year Award.

Social Media Farm of the Year AwardThis award program, which AgWired is a sponsor of, is being conducted by Phil Lempert, Food Nutrition & Science. You might know Phil as the Supermarket Guru. We talked about the award program and it’s that conversation I’m sharing in this week’s program. The award winner will be receiving a number of prizes which are still being finalized but include an expense paid trip to Chicago for the FMI Connect to receive the award. Sponsorships of the award are also still available.

The new award recognizes farmers who have incorporated social media, digital media and internet strategies to achieve their business objectives including growing revenue, sharing information for more effective farming practices, and promoting positive awareness of the industry.

Nominations for the award are now being accepted. Farmers can nominate themselves or a colleague http://www.foodnutritionscience.com/2014award/. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2014. The winner will be presented with a trophy and other prizes at the FMI Connect show in Chicago on June 11, 2014.

“Social media has provided farmers with a unique opportunity to communicate directly with other farmers, customers and consumers,” says Phil Lempert, editor of Food Nutrition & Science. “This award will honor their innovation and outstanding efforts that not only results in a greater person-to-person dialogue, but elevation of the industry as a whole.”

In our conversation I asked Phil to tell us what he sees as some current trends in the supermarket business. Not surprisingly, one of them is the rapid change in technology.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Social Media Farmer of Year Award

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsor, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong, for their support.

Vote now – Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition

Youth in Agriculture Blog CompetitionHere’s a chance to support young agricultural bloggers. It’s the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition or YoBloCo Awards. The entries are all in and it’s time for the public to vote. It’s a very simple process too. You can vote here.

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), in collaboration with FARA, Yam-Pukri, CAFAN, AYF, ANAFE, SPC, PAFPNET and e-Agriculture is pleased to launch the 2nd Edition of the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo Awards).

This contest is organised in the framework of the ARDYIS project, which aims to raise youth awareness and improve their capacity on agricultural and rural development issues in ACP countries using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

The aims of this blog competition are to:

  • Put into limelight issues, successes and challenges faced by youth engaged in agriculture, in urban and rural areas
  • Encourage the production of information and the use of new information and communication technologies by young farmers groups and organisations interested in the youth in agriculture question
  • Promote the sharing of information on the issues of agriculture and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries

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

FarmLink Offers TrueHarvest Benchmarking Tool

farmlinkA new benchmarking tool has been developed by FarmLink that can help farmers get the fullest potential from their operations.

“We’re helping a farmer identify where he should go find yield in a cost effective manner and other areas where he’s doing great,” says company president Scott Robinson about the tool they call TrueHarvest, which uses objective data to show a farm’s full range of performance potential, drilled down to a 150-square-foot area called a micro-field.

“The reason they’re 150 square feet is because our combine collection is done on a fleet of about 200 combines, the combine cutting head is about 30 feet wide, travels about 3.5 miles an hour and we collect data every second,” he said. “That data is used to correlate across the other 67 billion micro fields that we’ve developed across the United States that represents all corn, wheat and soybeans.”

true-harvestAccording to TrueHarvest calculations, American farmers could have produced approximately 1.6 billion more bushels of corn and 250 million more bushels of soybeans in 2013, realizing approximately $11 billion in additional revenue. “If farmers increased their performance up to the 75th percentile on average for corn and soybeans, that’s how much money is on the table,” said Robinson.

FarmLink was at the recent Commodity Classic talking about TrueHarvest and getting good reception from farmers according to Robinson, who said they really appreciated that the service was independent and did not require them to provide the company with private data. “It’s really agronomic benchmarking that we’re doing, but it’s for the individual farmer,” he said.

Find out more in this interview with Robinson and in the video below from the MyTrueHarvest.com website. Interview with Scott Robinson, FarmLink

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 mosesorganic.org/newfarmersummit, or by calling 715-778-5775.

Vilsack at NFU Announces Small Farmer Help

vilsack-nfu14During an appearance at the National Farmers Union (NFU) convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new and expanded efforts to connect smaller farmers and ranchers with USDA resources that can “help them build stronger businesses, expand to reach new and larger markets, and grow their operations.”

In a press conference from the NFU convention after his remarks, Vilsack said there were concerns following the publication of the recent recent Census of Agriculture about the “eroding middle in farming” but it shows tremendous potential for small and mid-sized producers in American agriculture. “We’ve adjusted policies, strengthened programs and intensified outreach to meet the needs of small and mid-sized producers,” said Vilsack. “These producers are critical to our country’s agricultural and economic future.”

“The secretary’s speech was very well received at our convention,” said NFU president Roger Johnson on the conference call with Vilsack. “This focus on small and midsized farmers is in many ways a focus on our members.”

Also on the call was National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Policy Director Ferd Hoefner, who specifically noted the importance of changes to the Farm Storage and Facility Loan (FSFL) Program which he says will greatly help small farmers sell their produce through local and regional marketing channels.

Listen to or download press conference here: USDA Support for Smaller Farmers

New Poll Finds Farmers Less Optimistic

iowa-soyA new poll of Iowa farmers finds less optimism about the financial picture of agriculture this year.

The Agri-Pulse Farm Opinion Poll, launched last month in partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), found that farmers expect to see weaker financial returns in 2014 and will adjust their expenditures – spending less on fertilizer and equipment but more on crop insurance.

agri-pulseNearly 80 percent expect their 2014 farm financial outlook to worsen – 47 percent expect it to worsen “slightly” while 32 percent expect it to worsen “a great deal.” Poll respondents said they also expect the value of their farmland to drop this year, with 75 percent expecting values to decrease.

Eighty-seven percent of the farmers’ surveyed plan to either purchase more or continue about the same level of crop insurance as last year. The majority view crop insurance as the most important Farm Bill “tool” for maintaining their profitability this year.

The importance of crop insurance came through when farmers were asked what aspect of the Agricultural Act of 2014 will be most important in helping their financial situation this year. More than 62 percent chose crop insurance as more important to their operations than other aspects of the just-passed Farm Bill.

The poll was taken Feb. 23 with more than 130 Iowa farmers responding to the unaided 12-question poll.

The Wild Radish Song

Wild RadishI like radishes. But like some folks in Australia, not the wild kind.

A parody of the Gotye hit “Somebody I used to know” by agronomic consultant Bill Long, who farms on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia as well as consults to a number of farmers in the region. This is a farmer’s lament on attempts to control wild radish resulting in the loss of chemical options to the point where only radical options are available. Truly reflects the consequences of farming systems becoming reliant on herbicides for weed control.

Bayer Brings in Bloggers for Panel

bayer-aif14-blogger-panelDuring the Ag Issues Forum ahead of Commodity Classic last week, Bayer Crop Science brought in a panel of bloggers for a session called “Welcome to MY World: Consumers and Growers Seek Common Ground,” a conversation between three bloggers. The panel answered questions such as “What do your followers want to hear, how are they getting their information, and how should we start communicating with them?” The three panelist all agreed that biotechnology is a very hot topic right now, and shared how they each approach the topic with their followers.

The panelists included:

Mommy blogger Annie Schultz, Mama Dweeb – Annie is a lifelong Kansas resident who started her blog in 2009 as a stay-at-home mom to share inspiration, product reviews, and family stories. Roles have changed a bit in their home as Annie now works outside of the home and her husband, Josh is in the role of stay-at-home dad to their three children.

Farm wife blogger Emily Webel, Confessions of a Farm Wife – From central Illinois, Emily and her husband Joe have four children in their remodeled farm house raising children, dairy cows and crops. Husband Joe even gets in on the blogging by taking photos of the birthing process or harvest.

Farmer blogger Brian Scott, The Farmer’s Life/CNN’s Eatocracy
– Brian is a 4th generation farmer from Northwest Indiana that farms about 2100 acres with his dad and grandfather. He utilizes social media to get his message out about agriculture and farming.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Brian Scott here: Interview with Farmer blogger Brian Scott

bayer-issues-button2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Classic Farmland Movie Stars

classic14-usfra-farmlandCommodity Classic went to the movies last week with a sneak preview of the feature length documentary “Farmland” which will debut later this month.

The media was allowed to watch, but not report on, the movie – but we are able to meet and talk with some of the stars who took part in a press conference at Classic with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA). The guy in the middle here is not one of the stars, that’s USFRA Executive Director Randy Krotz – he just wishes he were as talented and good-looking as the farmers in the film!

The four pictured here, from left to right around Randy, are David Loberg of Nebraska, Ryan Veldhuizen of Minnesota, Leighton Cooley from Georgia, and Brad Bellah of Texas. Listen to them talk about themselves and their experiences with film director James Moll in the making of “Farmland.” – Farmland Movie Press Conference


2014 Commodity Classic Photos

GROWMARK, John Deere Data Collaboration

growmarklogoGROWMARK and John Deere are collaborating to make life easier and improve decision-making for producers and agronomists.

The two are collaborating to deliver near real-time field level data to producers and FS Crop Specialists by linking FS Advanced Information Services (FS AIS), a suite of precision agronomy software, with John Deere Wireless Data Transfer, JDLink™ and MyJohnDeere.

John DeereGROWMARK Agronomy Marketing executive director Ron Milby says they are among the first agricultural retailers to leverage the Wireless Data Transfer Application Programming Interface (API) for its precision agronomy decision support software, making data exchange faster and more useful for growers and its FS company staff. “The open platform John Deere provides enables farmers and FS company staff to use the FS AIS software to make decisions in near real time – that’s a win-win,” Milby said.

Ron says they chose to work with Deere because they believe they are a leader in this field. “I think they’re going to be a viable leader in the future,” he said. “We were headed to this base, they were headed to this base, and we were able to work with them.

Producers will utilize an efficient and secure interface between FS AIS and MyJohnDeere, taking advantage of both companies’ commitment to supporting better decisions through improved data integration at the field level. This includes the ability to easily transfer work instructions, prescriptions, and product lists to the GreenStar™ 3 2630 display. Yield data, as-applied maps and work records can be transferred back to the FS AIS software.

Find out more in this interview with Ron: Interview with Ron Milby, GROWMARK

Bayer Panel Addresses Water Security

What the world needs most is water – but beer is pretty important too! So water security was one of the issues addressed during a panel at the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues forum last week in San Antonio, and beer was a big part of the discussion.

bayer-aif14-waterThe panelists included (left to right) Dr. Marco Ugarte with MillerCoors, Gary Beck of Hillside Ranch and Mitchell Baalman of FDK Partnership. They explained that 90 percent of the water needed to make beer is used in crop irrigation and how MillerCoors, The Nature Conservancy and barley farm Hillside Ranch have collaborated to reduce the amount of water used for barley production, resulting in cost savings to the farm and an increase in yield.

bayer-issues-buttonDr. Ugarte and his fellow panelists talked about the need to work with farmers to implement new technology, yield data, planting data and spraying maps to reduce water use. Baalman shared his story of collaborative and voluntary efforts among farmers in his hometown of Hoxie, Kansas. Situated above the High Plains aquifer, which is being depleted six times faster than it is being replenished, the Hoxie-area farmers committed to taking 20 percent less water out of the ground over a five-year period that began last year.

Listen to the panel here: Bayer Ag Issues Water Security Panel

Chuck also interviewed Dr. Ugarte: Interview with Dr. Marco Ugarte, MillerCoors

2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Ag Leader AgFiniti Now Available

classic14-agleader-agfinitiAg Leader Technology’s new cloud-based platform AgFiniti® was a hit at last week’s Commodity Classic where growers were happy to learn that it is now available for them.

“AgFiniti is an affordable and reliable solution for wireless connectivity in the field because it allows users the flexibility to choose the best wireless service carrier in their local area and hotspot device,” said Luke James, Software Sales Manager. He adds that what really makes AgFiniti stand out from other solutions on the market is data privacy. “We know growers value their privacy and that’s why with AgFiniti the data is 100% theirs,” he said. “We’re independent, just like the grower’s independent. We value that.”

Learn more in this interview with Luke from Commodity Classic: Interview with Luke James, Ag Leader

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Agronomist and Central Illinois Farming

Ahead of Commodity Classic in San Antonio last week, BASF Crop Protection held the eighth in its Science Behind media event series with the theme of The Advanced Acre.

12807770804_be98529644_qJeremy Hogan, Innovation Specialist and Agronomist with BASF in Central Illinois, works with farmers to deliver agronomic and product solutions to their operations. Jeremy and I discussed last year’s crazy growing season weather that ended up producing a record crop. BASF is already helping growers prepare for a successful 2014 growing season by planning for all the possible scenarios that could cause problems, such as glyphosate-resistant weeds. Listen to my interview with Jeremy here: Interview with Jeremy Hogan, BASF

12807460983_1f11784dd9_qT.J. Shambaugh is a 7th generation central Illinois farmer. After graduating from Purdue he came back to the family farm. He works closely with Jeremy and BASF to make his family farming operation be the most profitable for them. TJ and his father have a unique approach to their operation, with TJ handling the front end from seed selection, planting and and how they will plant each seed.  His dad works the back end of the operation, from running the combine at harvest to marketing the sale of the finished product. Listen to my interview with TJ here: Interview with TJ Shambaugh, Central IL Farmer

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Exciting Opportunities in Agriculture

David HollinrakeJust what does the world want from us? Sounds like a lot more food. This theme was consistently brought up in a lot of sessions during the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum last week.

One of our opening speakers was David Hollinrake, vice president, ACO Marketing, Bayer CropScience LP. He told me, “The main theme of this week was really all about the exciting possibilities that exist in agriculture. We in the farming community are faced with a daunting task and that is to feed 9.6 billion people by the year 2050.” Putting that into perspective we’ve got about 7.5 billion today. There is a lot of work to do!

In David’s stage remarks he challenged us to think about agriculture not only in a traditional way but in a potential way of what it can be. He says agriculture is sexy. Yeah, I agree with that. Dave says we need exciting new technologies and a to foster a spirit of collaboration and cooperation. We also need passionate young people to come into the field.

You can listen to David’s remarks here: David Hollinrake Remarks

You can listen to my interview with David here: Interview with David Hollinrake

bayer-issues-buttonThe Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum brings together a broad audience of agricultural journalists to learn about and discuss current issues. This year’s theme is “What the World Needs.” Look for more stories from this year’s event coming soon.

2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Nominations Open for Social Media Farmer of the Year

Social Media Farmer of the YearZimmComm New Media is proud to announce sponsorship of the Social Media Farmer of the Year Award. The award program is being launched today by Food Nutrition & Science.

The new award recognizes farmers who have incorporated social media, digital media and internet strategies to achieve their business objectives including growing revenue, sharing information for more effective farming practices, and promoting positive awareness of the industry.

Nominations for the award are now being accepted. Farmers can nominate themselves or a colleague http://www.foodnutritionscience.com/2014award/. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2014. The winner will be presented with a trophy and other prizes at the FMI Connect show in Chicago on June 11, 2014.

“Social media has provided farmers with a unique opportunity to communicate directly with other farmers, customers and consumers,” says Phil Lempert, editor of Food Nutrition & Science. “This award will honor their innovation and outstanding efforts that not only results in a greater person-to-person dialogue, but elevation of the industry as a whole.”

More farmers are turning to social media to help sell their products, but also speaking directly to end users about their farming practices and the origin of their food.

A panel of global business, media and food and farming industry leaders will evaluate all entries and the overall winner will be selected based on innovation and success in the use of social media for business purposes.

The Social Media of the Year Award is also being sponsored by Monsanto, Bolthouse Farms, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, AgChat Foundation, Inc., and our AgWired.com.