Happy Birthday ZimmComm!

nama14-boothZimmComm New Media is officially ten years old at this year’s NAMA conference so we are happily celebrating with all of our agri-marketing friends.

Here to help us at the booth are (LtoR) niece Hayley DeRuiter, Google Glass Guru Bruce Rasa, me and Chuck, intern Kristin Liska, sales guy Dave Larson, and nephew Hunter DeRuiter. We have birthday cake, Glass demos, and giveaways. People are taking a quiz on how well they know ZimmComm for a chance to win a 10th anniversary t-shirt and we’re giving away gold styluses and microfiber glasses sacks.

google-birthdayWe are also getting lots of congrats on our anniversary and we were surprised when we opened our Google page today and had a birthday greeting! I thought that was pretty bizarre, but Chuck says he thinks it’s because it must be our anniversary of our Google account.

Whatever – it was a pretty timely message. Thanks Google!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Brownfield Goes Honky Tonk for NAMA Party

nama-14-brownfield-inviteThe famous Brownfield Ag News NAMA party will be a Honky Tonk affair here in Jacksonville this evening after the trade show closes.

The venue is Mavericks at The Landing, which is just a short walk from the hotel. The fun starts at 9:00 pm and goes until midnight and of course the ZimmComm photo crew will be there to document the festivities.

So grab your boots and hat and we’ll see you there!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

The Big O is 8-0!

556174_10150865571274171_1807115485_nIt was a big celebration last week when NAFB past president and long time WGN Radio farm broadcaster, Orion Samuelson turned 80. Orion has been on WGN Radio for 53 and a half years. Yes, the half counts!

As a young girl growing up in Illinois, I have listened to Orion report the numbers, listened to his noon shows with his side-kick, Max Armstrong for my entire life. I’ve watched many Illinois State Fair Sale of Champions, where Orion is the emcee and interviews all the junior exhibitors just before they sell their animal benefiting Illinois 4-H and FFA. He has a street named after him in Chicago, a building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds and his book of memoirs, You Can’t Dream Big Enough. He was once on the short list to be named Secretary of Agriculture, has traveled to 43 countries and even has his own plane, Air Orion. I know he definitely helped influence my decision to talk about agriculture on the radio and now online. The picture here is of Tricia Braid, Pam Fretwell, Orion, and me during NAFB Convention back in 2006, I think.

Happy 80th Birthday, Orion!

You can watch a clip that was on WGN-TV last week, highlighting Orion’s more than 50 years with the Tribune Company.

NAMA Group Trip to St. Augustine

nama-trip-groupWe were supposed to go deep sea fishing on Monday but that got blown out by 5-6 foot waves so instead we arranged a fun, factual, and filling trip to St. Augustine.

Ag Net Media and ZimmComm hosted the few and happy that were able to come in a day or so early on a Savory Faire Walking Food Tour which left us very satiated. We had several stops in old town St. Augustine at great little restaurants and specialty shops to sample local cuisine, wines and other yummy things.

Check out our photo album and if you ever get to St. Augustine, this tour is a fabulous way to get some of the rich history of this great city.

St. Augustine Tour Photos

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Ag Journalists Meet in DC

naajThe North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) annual meeting is wrapping up today in Washington, D.C.

Last night was the NAAJ-Sonja Hillgren Scholarship and Writing Awards Banquet at the National Press Club where the best of the best were honored after a full schedule of hearing from administration officials and lawmakers. Receiving the Agricultural Journalist of the Year award was Shannon VanRaes of the Manitoba Co-operator.

Among the officials the group heard from yesterday was EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy who talked about both the Clean Water Act and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Agri-Pulse has a great story about her comments, as well as those from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Check out the NAAJ photos here.

Registration for IFAJ 2014 Now Open

2014 IFAJ CongressIt’s that time. Time to register for the 2014 IFAJ Congress, “Innovations From a Small Island.” Cindy and I are looking for sponsor support for this year’s event. If you’re interested please contact me.

Yep, that’s right – we’ve tested the system far and wide. Registration is quick and simple, with payment made by a secure online transaction.

“Our supplier of payment solutions is one of just 600 companies in the world to attain PCI Level 1 Compliance, which is the highest level of online data and payment protection,” explains Congress chairman Adrian Bell.

“There’s been extensive testing of the registration and payment systems amongst the Congress committee and more widely within the British Guild, ironing out any bugs and problems before go-live on Monday.”

Don’t miss the early-bird rate!

It’s the British Guild’s 70th anniversary this year, so we’ve put in place a special anniversary early-bird offer: the first 70 to register will save £70 on their (full delegate, single rate) registration fee. There are 220 places available in total, including those involved in Master Class and the Young Leaders.

Learn all about this year’s Congress in the online publication, Innovations:

Happy 10th Anniversary to Agri-Pulse

al-sara-10Just like us, our friends at Agri-Pulse started their company in 2004, so we are celebrating our tenth anniversary together!

Also like us, Agri-Pulse is run by a husband and wife from a home office in a nice vacation spot, so we have a place to wind down when not on the road – which is more often than not! Where we rely on freelancers, however, Agri-Pulse has expanded over ten years to include a staff of ten that keep the business running from Washington DC to world headquarters at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

ZimmCast 433In this week’s ZimmCast, we talk to Agri-Pulse president Sara Wyant and her husband and right hand man Allan Johnson. We did this interview last week, just after the kick off of National Agriculture Day, which they passionately support.

Check out the photos from their portion of National Ag Day here:
Agri-Pulse Ag Day Photo Album

You can listen to this week’s program here. ZimmCast with Agri-Pulse

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

Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here.

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.

ZimmGlass for Agricultural Journalism?

ZimmGlassThe ZimmGlass Project is all about using this new wearable technology to see how it can fit into the work flow of an agricultural journalist. I’ve been using it for this purpose in the field since early January. I’ve published many videos using ZimmGlass (the name for my Glass) that include face to face interviews, in the cab tractor demonstrations and trade show walk-throughs. I anticipate many more that will include in the field crop tours and precision ag demonstrations. The feedback has been very positive. I’ve also published many photos I’ve taken with the device. What I will try next is a live video stream when I’m on location.

So, do I think Glass has a role to play in agricultural journalism? Absolutely. As a Glass Explorer I’m providing feedback to Google that includes things like improvements in camera and microphone quality, easier sharing with more social media channels, a way to compose text to go with a photo tweet and more. If there are ag journalism schools or professional ag journalism organizations (you know who you are) that would like to have me make a presentation please get in touch to see how we could make that work. You can also come by our booth at the April Agri-Marketing Conference for a demo. More on that later.

Thanks to our AgWired App sponsor, Aaron Hutchinson, iCropTrak, I just learned that the Anneburg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California will be offering a new course this fall called, Glass Journalism, to be taught by Robert Hernandez. Robert was interviewed by the American Journalism Review about his Glass Explorer experience and thoughts on using it as a story telling tool. I’m in agreement with everything he says about his experience so far.

ABM Agri Media Council Issues New Research Report

Association of Business Information & Media CompaniesThere’s a new research report out from the Association of Business Information & Media Companies, Agri Media Council. The biennial report details how readers engage with agricultural media.

The survey finds that loyalty to and use of print media remains strong among farmers and ranchers, and that growth in digital media is not coming at the expense of print. Key takeaways include:

  • About 80 percent of those polled report reading ag magazines or newspapers at least weekly, and that rises to 97 percent on a monthly basis.
  • Although digital use is growing, it is growing at a slower rate than in other verticals. Amojng digital users, 83 percent also read print media at least weekly.
  • Digital use of ag media resources among readers age 45+ is steady, but use is growing among younger readers, especially for mobile apps (up 13%), mobile websites (up 12%), enewsletters (up 8%) and social media (up 8%).
  • When ranchers and farmers are making purchasing decisions, 65 percent turn to their dealers and retailers, and 50 percent use ag magazines and newspapers. The next highest consulted is ag websites at 18 percent.

The “Media Channel Study,” produced by Readex Research, tracks engagement with traditional and digital media channels, as well as generating insights as to how an integrated media strategy can help marketers and publishers connect with ag professionals. ABM’s Agri Media Council has teamed up with NAMA to produce a webinar that will feature the new results. For more information, and to register, click here.

The NAMA webinar is tomorrow, March 19.

A Sad Goodbye to Joe Watson

Joe WatsonI am shocked and saddened by the abrupt passing of Joe Watson. He is one of many agricultural journalists Cindy and I have come to know and love around the world through our participation in IFAJ.

This is a photo of yours truly with Joe during the closing banquet at last year’s IFAJ Congress in Argentina. Joe was dressed in full kilt and toasted us with some good scotch whiskey as he helped promote this year’s Congress in Scotland. Needless to say we were having a good time. I could have posted a different photo buy I’d rather remember Joe with that big grin. I absolutely loved his sense of humor. Some people have said he could be grumpy. I can believe it but I most often saw a serious journalist who loved his work and was a real down to earth person. If Cindy and I can attend this year’s IFAJ Congress we will greatly miss Joe as I know all of our members who knew him will.

Here’s some information about Joe:

Joe was a former Chairman of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists and currently the organisation’s executive representative to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ). Joe had been the hard-working agricultural editor of the Press & Journal in Aberdeen since 1996.

Jane Craigie, the president of the British guild says: “It is because of Joe we are hosting in Scotland. It’s tragic that he will not be able to enjoy it. He was actively involved in organising one of the tours to Philip Benzie, Gregor Mackintosh and Maxwells farms. His was a great character, a prolific writer, he was often controversial but he was always proud of his principled stand; he had the courage of his convictions and he was a better journalist for it. We will miss him, his sense of humour and his input greatly. Joe won the P&J the Stuart Seaton award for the best farming content in a regional newspaper, an accolade that he proudly shared on his Farming pages in the Saturday Farming supplement”.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this extremely sad and difficult time.

New Seed World Editor

classic14-julie-dCongrats to Julie Deering (née Douglas) who has been named new editor of Seed World.

We just saw Julie last week at the Commodity Classic and Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum, where she was busily gathering content to use in upcoming Seed World issues. This probably means we will get to see her again at the American Seed Trade Association annual meeting and seed expo this year. That’s where we first made her acquaintance, before Mike Deering married her and moved her to Missouri where he is head of the state cattlemen’s association.

Julie is thrilled to join the Seed World team. “The seed industry is at the heart of innovation, making better use of technology and data,” she says. “There’s an enormous challenge that looms over the seed industry, but there’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of the industry.”

Her new job will be to lead the editorial direction and provide the execution that is required to maintain the publication’s reputation as the leading source of information for the global seed industry. She previously served as managing editor for Top Producer and director of communications for the American Seed Trade Association.

Get Your Ag View

ZimmCast 430He’s no stranger to the agricultural communications world but he is new to you as Ag View. He’s Ken Rahjes and I sat down with him in San Antonio last week to learn what he’s up to with this new venture.

Ag ViewKen has not only a farm background but a background in farm broadcasting. After taking a break from that career he’s back in action on the internet. That doesn’t mean he’s given up on doing some over the air broadcasts though. In our conversation you’ll learn about how he’s starting this new venture and plans to grow it. Listen in to learn all about it and how you can support Ken’s new company.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Get Your Ag View

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

#NFMS14 Media Room by FMC

Paul Redhage FMCThe media room at the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored again this year by FMC. Thank you FMC!

Only the media know how important this is. For one thing, it provides us a place to get away from the crowds to work and publish information. It’s also a great meeting place for interviews. I remember covering this show with no media room. It is a much more enjoyable experience now.

I talked with Paul Redhage about their support and also what they’re doing this year at the show which includes a first ever effort. You can listen to my interview with Paul here: Interview with Paul Redhage

By the way. This interview was done with my new Zoom iQ5 mic on my iPhone 5S. Sounds pretty good!

National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album


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

Dupont Pioneer Collaborates with DTN

ZimmCast 426If you’ve thought we need more weather monitoring stations out there you’re not alone. Dupont Pioneer and DTN/The Progressive Farmer announced a collaboration today that will address this very subject. The project will not only bring instant weather to customers but also market information and new electronic grain trading capabilities. I just spoke with Dan Uppena, DuPont Pioneer business manager, about the announcement. Dan says there will be more details about the new platform coming out via new announcements in the very near future.

Pioneer customers will be able to opt into an exclusive network of weather stations, including those positioned on growers’ farms, which provide accurate, real-time local information as well as environmental conditions in other regions. Data will seamlessly inform growers about forecasts and Pioneer crop models to help them make more informed management decisions for their farming operation.  In addition, customers will have access to DTN/The Progressive Farmer’s syndicated premium weather and market content to further aid decision-making.   

“At DTN/The Progressive Farmer, our mission has always been to provide the most accurate, timely and actionable information possible to our customers,” said DTN/The Progressive Farmer Vice President of Agriculture Matt Bradford. “We are excited by the opportunity to work with Pioneer to further that mission by rapidly developing a dense network of on-farm DTN/The Progressive Farmer Weather Stations, along with sophisticated decision tools, to increase operational efficiencies and maximize grower profits.”

Pioneer and DTN/The Progressive Farmer also will work together throughout 2014 and beyond to further advance electronic grain trading capabilities that link buyers with sellers for instantaneous commercial exchanges.   The tool works in real time to keep users up-to-the-minute with the highs and lows of today’s rapidly changing grain market.  The benefits include targeted price matches, 24/7 price monitoring, electronic hedging and mobile information on offers and market news with the convenience of trading anytime anywhere.  This effort will combine the cutting-edge technologies developed by DTN/The Progressive Farmer and Farms Technology, a subsidiary of DuPont Pioneer.

You can listen to this week’s program to learn more about the collaboration here. Dupont Pioneer - DTN Collaboration

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

New Farm Podcaster Tools

Zoom H-5Okay farm podcasters. Here’s some news you can use. Zoom just announced a new audio recorder. From B&H Photo:

Zoom turned the pro audio world upside down last year with their acclaimed H6 portable recorder, and now they complete the “one-two punch” with the introduction of their new, smaller H5 Handy Recorder. Following in its big brother’s footsteps, the H5 features an interchangeable microphone system and is compatible with the existing line of H6 mic modules.

Appealing to those who are looking for the functionality of the H6, but don’t need all of its inputs or bells and whistles, the H5 has a black-and-white screen (as opposed to the H6’s color screen) and features 2 inputs for external sources, in addition to its swappable stereo mic capabilities. The H5 will record to external SD cards.

But that’s not all. For you iPhone 5 people they now make the iQ5. And yes, I did order one. Wish they had it in gold though . . .

Zoom iQ5The Zoom iQ5 is a high-quality mid-side stereo condenser mic, perfect for recording music and compact enough to be slipped into your pocket. Simply connect it to the Lightning connector of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and get ready to do some serious stereo recording any time, any place.

The iQ5 employs a unique rotating mechanism that enables audio recording with correct left-right stereo orientation whether used vertically or horizontally. Use it in standard “audio” position or simply rotate it to the “video” position in order to record video with the attached iPhone, iPad or iPod touch held horizontally.

And finally, consider their Handy Recorder App for iOS.

Baby ZimmGlass

Cruz with ZimmGlassThe ZimmGlass Project took a new turn last week when I traveled to Missouri to see my Grandson Cruz. Yep, Cindy and I are now grandparents! While Cindy was holding him this morning I let him try out my ZimmGlass. He didn’t say too much about it though.

So, is Google Glass going to be a future tool for the agricultural journalist? Answering that question is part of the purpose of the ZimmGlass Project. I took it on the road last week to the AFBF Convention and tried it out, shooting photos and video interviews which have been published right here on AgWired. I’ll be back on the road with it tomorrow to the National Biodiesel Conference.

Here are some initial thoughts on using it in the field.

Battery Life Short – This is not a huge problem for someone like me who carries multiple extra mobile chargers like our new Golden ZimmComm Mobile Charger but could be frustrating if you’re out in the field away from an outlet for an extended period. It made me only turn it on when needed.

Data Hog – I chewed through a month’s data on my Verizon plan in a few days in part because I was allowing ZimmGlass to back everything up via Google+. I don’t need to do that and will turn that off. I’ll also be using wifi only whenever I can rather than the mobile network through my Samsung S4 mini.

Shooting Photos – I would like to have more control over the composition of my photos, focus point, lighting, etc. There are limited ways to share out the photos direct from the device too. For example, I can share it via my Twitter account but can’t compose a note to go with it. Photos came out quite good considering the specs of the camera but I would really like to see these improve significantly.

Shooting Video Interviews – This worked quite well but . . . in a noisy environment like a trade show it was difficult to get close enough to the person I was interviewing to hear them clearly. The sound quality in general was not great but certainly usable. I also found it awkward to be the tripod. Meaning that you have to hold your head absolutely still while doing questions/answers. That’s not natural but I think I can get used to it.

The more I’ve used my Glass the more comfortable I am with it and the quicker I am able to use it. I had a few instances of the device not responding and having to be restarted. Hey, it is a computer after all. And it’s a beta device.

So at this point I can see it becoming a device I use more and more assuming there are improvements in battery life and camera. I know there are many apps being built for Glass but I have not had time to work with many of them at this point.

IFAJ Leadership in Berlin

IFAJ 2014 LaunchThe leadership of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists is meeting in Berlin. It is an annual meeting in conduction with the Green Week food show.

While there the British Guild held a launch party at the British Embassy to kick of this year’s Congress which will be held in Scotland. Thanks to Facebook for this photo of British Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ chairman Jane Craigie with IFAJ 2014 congress chairmen Adrian Bell, left, and Howard Venters.

IFAJ 2014 was launched in the British Embassy in Berlin. Our special guests on the night included the IFAJ presidium, executive members, His Excellency, Simon McDonald, the British Ambassador to Germany, and Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs.

Innovations From a Small Island

2014 IFAJ CongressThe British Guild of Agricultural Journalists will be the host for the prestigious IFAJ World Congress this year for an unprecedented sixth time. The Congress is titled, “Entitled Innovations from a Small Island” and the event will showcase British food and farming to the global media. The ZimmComm team hopes to be there and is seeking sponsors at this time. It’s a great place to interact with agricultural journalists from around the world.

You can find an overview of the agenda for this year’s Congress here.

Agri Marketing & AgWired Top Tens

ZimmCast 422Happy New Year. Now let’s look back at 2013. In this week’s program I visit with Lynn Henderson, Agri Marketing Magazine.

We’ve each put together our top ten story posts from AgriMarketing.com and AgWired.com based on the traffic from our respective audiences. We only had one story common to our lists. You can find the Agri Marketing list here and the AgWired list here.

Listen to this week’s program to learn a little more about the stories: AgriMarketing & AgWired 2013 Top Tens

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