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 and 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.

Top Story Posts in 2013

AgWired Top Ten LogoSince everyone else is doing their 2013 top ten I might as well do the same. Actually we normally do this. Looking at website analytics only this list is the top ten most visited/viewed/read/etc. of all our posts from 2013. The interesting thing is that there were story posts from previous years that had higher traffic. I’m not including them but it’s a good example of the longevity of our stories that so many of them are still visited, probably from someone searching the right key words.

What were your favorite stories of 2013?

  1. Should We Sit Down with HSUS in Common Cause
  2. John Deere Virtual Tractor Intro
  3. Farmland – The Movie
  4. Ram Trucks 2013 Super Bowl Commercial
  5. BigBalers for Big Jobs
  6. Precise Disk Drills from New Holland
  7. Earth Day Skeptic Says Get Positive
  8. Mount Your iPhone in a John Deere Cab
  9. World Backup Day
  10. What Does the Farmer Say?

Farm Journal Media Acquires American Countryside

FarmJournalMedia-LogoToday Farm Journal Media announced the acquisition of ‘American Countryside’ from it’s founder, producer and well-known, ANdrew McCrea.

‘American Countryside’ is a nationally syndicated daily radio program featuring the “people and place unique to rural American.” Don’t worry, Andrew will continue to host the program, plus join Farm Journal Media as a multimedia contributor.

The three-minute, short-form radio vignette has been on the air since 1996 and airs on more than 100 stations across the Midwest, including several of the nation’s leading farm radio stations.

“Broadcasting from his large grain and livestock farm in northwest Missouri, McCrea is the real deal, fully embodying the ‘muddy boots’ tradition at Farm Journal Media,” said Brian Conrady, Senior Vice President of Farm Journal Broadcast. “This real-world perspective gives Andrew a distinct ability to find and tell stories that showcase the true spirit of life in rural America.”

Farm Journal Broadcast will also be launching a television version of ‘American Countryside’ to air on “US Farm Report,” a weekend news report produced and distributed by Farm Journal Media.The radio program will also see expanded reach on the company’s web portal, “American Countryside’s” editorial, production, distribution and advertising sales efforts will also be integrated into Farm Journal’s multimedia business.

“I am excited to join Farm Journal Media,” McCrea noted. “Our new partnership provides the opportunity to bring ‘American Countryside’ to more listeners in more ways, with expanded radio coverage, as well as new features on television and promotion in print and on the web.”

The addition of ‘American Countryside’ comes just one year after Farm Journal Media’s launch into farm radio with the acquisition of “AgriTalk” in December 2012.

Happy Holidays from Farm Progress

Farm Progress Happy HolidayHere’s a Happy Holidays from Farm Progress.

Celebrate the Season – Insight, Authority, Engagement

Wishing you peace, happiness and joy this holiday season. From all of us at Penton Farm Progress Group, Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

All the best to you and yours . . .

Click on the image to view it the video.

AgNet West Radio Network Owned by AgNet Media

AgNet West Radio NetworkNews from AgNet West Radio Network:

AgNet West Radio Network is pleased to announce its entire business operations have been fully acquired and will be merged into AgNet Media, Inc., which includes a group of farm media properties solely owned and operated by Gary Cooper and Robin Loftin. Both Loftin and Cooper were instrumental in launching AgNet West in California in 2012, and Cooper has been the network’s General Manager since its inception in 2012.

AgNet West remains the most localized, relevant and targeted farm radio network in California, the nation’s top farm state. All AgNet West broadcasts, under the direction and guidance of Farm News Director Sabrina Hill, will continue to originate from Fresno County, the nation’s No. 1 agriculture-producing county. Hill has a distinguished career in radio and television news reporting in central California. She has been with AgNet West since 2012 and was named its news director early in 2013.
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Global Manager for IFAJ

Jose Van Gelder and Anne KluiversWe want to congratulate our friend Jose van Gelder, Agriterra, for her new job with the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. Here’s her announcement message from Facebook:

Yippee!! As of next month, I’m appointed as the new Global Manager for the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ)! Great challenge and perfect combination with my current work at Agriterra, for which of course I’m going to work a little less.. An extra nice touch is that Anne, with whom I work already for quite some years, is appointed as the IFAJ Global Assistant. I’m looking forward to team up with her and help moving our federation further towards our strategic goal: being a strong, worldwide platform for agricultural journalists and communicators on every continent!

The photo is Jose on the right and Anne Kluivers on the left.

Climate Corporation’s Growth by Tracking Weather

nafb-13-29-editedAnother ag based company who attended this year’s Trade Talk at the recent NAFB Convention was the Climate Corporation. They are focused on applying data science to production agriculture and take all the environmental data, weather, soil conditions and current and seasonal projections and apply it to the production agricultural decisions growers make on a daily basis.

Greg Smirin, CEO of The Climate Corporation, sat down with me during the event to talk about some new products they are offering growers and what changes customers might see with the Monsanto acquisition.

“We help protect the grower from things they cannot control with our total weather insurance, crop insurance and we are rolling out for the season Climate Basic and Climate Pro, which helps the farmer make decisions throughout the growing season to boost profitability.”

Climate Basic and Climate Pro will use data science to change agriculture. The basic program is a free web and mobil service and will provide hyper-local weather on each of the fields a grower has. A grower gets projected growth stages, soil moisture tracking, alerts along with scouting and notes. The pro version comes with a fee, but growers get everything the basic provides with an advisor for planting, nitrogen, pest and disease, harvest and in variable rates.

There is no doubt the company provides a service for growers that can increase profitability by over $100 per acre. Recently, the company was acquired by Monsanto. The two companies have found that they are doing the same science based research. The Climate Corporation will continue to operate independently with growers, but they are now able to leverage the research that has come out of Monsanto’s labs.

Listen to my complete interview with Greg here: Interview with Greg Smirin

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Rabo AgriFinance Report From NAFB

nafb-13-40-editedRabo AgriFinance was present for the recent Trade Talk during the 2013 NAFB Convention. The company is the leading U.S. ag lender and specializes in protein to produce and inputs to oilseeds. Their expert team monitors and evaluates the global market that influences agriculture around the world.

I spoke with two of the team’s analysts at the event and they each shed some insight into the upcoming 2014 futures and recapped how growers and producers faired in 2013. John Grettenburg is a Relationships Manager in Western and Southwest Iowa and specializes in the corn and soybean market. Don Close is the Vice President for Food and Agribusiness Research (FAR) and his area of interest is in international markets and cattle feeding.

John hit on on-farm storage of grains and how it can benefit growers. “I think it gives the producer the opportunity to mange it from one tax year to the next from an income tax perspective. Historically we have had some increases and bumps in the market through the spring months and early summer. It allows farmers to increase the speed of their harvest if they have their own drying facility and by not have to wait in lines at local elevators. It gives them that flexibility to move that crop to market when the price dictates.”

nafb-13-42-editedListen to my complete interview with John here: Interview with John Grettenburg

Don describes 2013 for cattle feeders as dismal and says the replenishing of herds will be a slow process and supplies will continue to be tight. “One of the areas the beef industry will be challenged with is the position of both the broiler and hog industry while they gain market shares at the expense of beef. With the likely hood of recovering cow numbers the prospects of growing international trade both short-term and long goals gives a very positive outlook for the future.”

Listen to my complete interview with Don here: Interview with Don Close

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Pork Council Talks Animal Health, Markets & Trade

nafb-13-32-editedThe National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) was among many ag groups who took advantage of NAFB Convention’s Trade Talk to discuss issues with farm broadcasters from across the country. Dr. Howard Hill, President-Elect, for NPPC was on hand along with Steve Meyer, NPPC Economist.

Each hit on the one of the most talked about topics when if comes to animal health in the pork industry and that of course is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED). The virus is thought of have entered the United States back in April of this year. Research has shown that it likely originated in China. Dr. Hill stressed the amount of research that is being conducted to combat this epidemic, but a cure has yet to be found.

Sticking to the topic of animal health Dr. Hill also hit on FDA Guidance 209. “Any antibiotic that is used for growth promotion that also has applications in the human medical field will not be allowed. If it has a label for treatment, prevention or control then it will still be on the market.”

Listen to my complete interview with Dr. Hill here: Interview with Dr. Howard Hill

nafb-13-35-editedAs an economist, Steve quickly recapped the 2013 pork markets stating that markets were of course low coming out of 2012. But producers got back in the black throughout the summer and have been making money since then. Looking into 2014 for pork producers a good corn crop means low feed prices. He committed on the futures markets and says it looks up for producers heading into the next year.

Steve went on to discuss the export market. Though it has been low over the last year the future looks optimistic and should increase throughout 2014.

Listen to my complete interview with Steve here: Interview with Steve Meyer

NPPC is also leading an ad hoc coalition of agricultural and food organizations urging Congress to establish criteria for revoking a country’s tariff-free access to the U.S. market if it fails to give U.S. products treatment consistent with international trade rules.

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Update from Animal Ag Alliance at NAFB

nafb-13-12-editedThe Animal Agriculture Alliance has been busy over the course of the last year staying up-to-date on animal ag issues, researching current activist campaigns and advocating farm policy. At the 2013 NAFB Convention I met up with Kay Johnson Smith, President and CEO, and Emily Meredith, Director of Communications during the events Trade Talk.

Hot topics of discussion included the Animal Rights Conference Report, Meatless Monday campaign, Farm Protection legislation, their outreach efforts and the 2014 Stakeholders Summit.

Kay shared that they recently attended the Animal Rights Conference Report to better understand what our industry needs to be on the lookout for throughout the next year. The key takeaways from the event were three target audiences these activist groups are focusing on. They include retail restaurants, youth K-12 and students on college campuses as well as, health conscious adults.

Listen to my complete interview with Kay here: Interview with Kay Johnson Smith

nafb-13-15-editedThe Animal Ag Alliance took it upon themselves to do a little digging into the Meatless Monday campaign and the results were shocking. You can checkout their complete report here. Emily shared how people were really surprised and that with such busy news cycle many of the mainstream news media take fact checking for granted.

The 2014 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit is scheduled for May 8-9 in Arlington, VA. “Cracking the Millennial Code,” is the topic of discussion and will cover hot-button issues including antibiotics, animal welfare, sustainability and communication through the lens of a Millennial.

Listen to my complete interview with Emily here: Interview with Emily Meredith

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

New NAFB Officer Team

2014nafbofficersThe new leadership team for the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) includes newly-elected vice president Brian Winnekins of WRDN-AM in Durand, Wisconsin.  He is pictured here with president Janet Adkison (RFD-TV and Sirius/XM Rural Radio), and president-elect, Susan Littlefield (KZEN, Columbus, NE).

Brian, along with his wife, Karla, are the owners and operators of the AM station that had been off the air for some time.  He says that even their daughter Brianna gets in on work at the station. “It was on the drive down to NAFB Convention in Kansas City that year that we wrote the business plan.  In 2011, we purchased the station and returned it to the air in 2012,” Brian says. “This year, we went to our full power, and Karla started selling full time for the station.”

Show How Much You Like Being an AAEA Member

AAEAHow much do you love being an AAEA member and want the organization to grow? Enough to win $100? Shout it from your iPhone, Go Pro, Skype screen or whatever video contraption you’d like. The new I M AAEA video testimonial contest will give you the opportunity to win cash prizes!

The video contest is open to all AAEA members, and will recognize creative videos that highlight why you like being an AAEA member, what value you believe the organization brings, etc.

Winners will receive $100 Visa gift cards. Videos will be showcased on the AAEA YouTube channel and used in promotions to prospective members.

Tell your I M AAEA story in a 30 – 60 second video. Videos will be judged on creativity, relevance and message (no need to provide a high-quality film). You only have 30 to 60 seconds – have fun with this contest!

To enter, email (or DropBox) your video file to AAEA associate director Kenna Rathai. In the email/message, include your name, company, email address and phone number. The deadline for entry is Monday, Dec. 9.

Small Numbers But Growing Market

nafb-13-22-editedHerd numbers are down this year in the beef community, but enthusiasm is high. Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) Chairman, Weldon Wynn was on hand at this year’s Trade Talk during the NAFB Convention. There is no doubt that the checkoff dollar is slim, but Weldon said they are making that dollar stretch.

Weldon went on to discuss our international market, how successful it has been and how much better it could be if we had the numbers. With the demand present, all we need to do now is grow our herds.

“Today in the foreign market with USMEF, one of our contractors, anytime we sell a calf we are getting back $234.00 in return for every head we are sending abroad. It’s really working in the foreign marketing end of it.”

The CBB has also put a lot of research into marketing to the millennial generation. And it seems social media marketing is key to educate this group of techies. They are sharing recipes online, answering questions via social media outlets and remembering the power of photo sharing.

The CBB and NCBA are also making final arrangements for this year’s Cattlemen’s Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. Music City will play home to the coveted event held February 4-7, 2014. Mark your calendars and plan your vacation to Nashville where you can have your voice heard on decisions that will shape your beef community.

Listen to my complete interview with Weldon here: Interview with Weldon Wynn

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Raven’s Commitment to Innovative Tech

nafb-13-24-editedRaven Industries is always working on something. During the recent NAFB Convention’s Trade Talk, I met up with Raven’s Marketing and Business Development Manager, Ryan Molitor. He expressed Raven’s desire to continue to add new technologies to the precision marketplace as well as improve on their existing products.

“One of the things we really invest a lot in is training our dealers on not just supporting and servicing our equipment but helping them better educate growers on the benefits of precision ag technology. It’s pretty diverse from a technology standpoint. There is a lot of different technology out there. Growers and producers have a lot of diverse needs also. It is important to talk to them and understand their individual operations and where the technology can fit for them.”

Raven introduced many different technologies earlier this year. Ryan said the feedback they have received from their beta testers has been great. In my interview he discusses their direct injection technology, data management for ag retailers and producers and their multiple hybrid planter control. Their newest precision equipment to hit the marketplace is their yield monitoring system and Ryan shares what growers have said about it’s acute accuracy.

Listen to my complete interview with Ryan here: Interview with Ryan Molitor

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

State Ag Directors Visit NAFB 2013

_DSC2671 copyFive State Ag Directors took part in a panel discussion with farm broadcasters Friday in Kansas City at the 70th Annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention. California Secretary Karen Ross, Kansas Secretary Dale Rodman, Louisiana Commissioner Michael Strain, Nebraska Director Greg Ibach and North Dakota Commissioner Doug Goehring spent about an hour and a half discussing the differing issues that each of their states are facing and how they are working to combat individual challenges. In addition to what challenges they face together and how they are teaming up to solve them.

Host of AgriTalk, Mike Adams, moderated the discussion. Listen to or download all the comments of these state directors here: State Ag Directors Panel Discussion

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

NAFB Horizon Award and Farm Broadcaster of the Year

awardsA prior NAFB Scholarship Winner and past president, Pam Jahnke aka The Fabulous Farm Babe, has taken home this year’s Farm Broadcaster of the Year Award. Pam is in her 25th year as a NAFB member and has had a career in radio, television, and social media in her market. Pam figures she’s logged about 25,000 miles to her 17 affiliates from the Illinois/Wisconsin border all the way to the northern regions of Wisconsin.

“I approach the farm department at Midwest Family Broadcasting very much like it’s my own business. In that regard, I work every day on any area that can improve my relationship with my audiences, clients and workmates.”

Pam was also just recently awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree and UW-Madison’s College of Agriculture has given her its Honorary Recognition for “leadership, integrity, and unselfish services, making significant contributions in the areas of agriculture, life sciences, natural resources and social science.”

NAFB’s 2013 Horizon Award is Rob Winters of WOWO Radio, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Rob hands out six daily doses and a mid-day market report over the airwaves reaching more than 40,000 listeners in portions of three states. Throughout the year Rob will attend about 30 farm events.

He’s created a very successful weekly program called “Midwest Ag Matters” which allows him to dig deeper into stories about family farmers. He is the founder, producer, and host of this extremely popular and profitable endeavor. Rob also functions, like many farm broadcasters do, as the local sales manager for WOWO. His local sales have risen 30% over last year.

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Iowa Corn Growers “Fill Up on Me’ Sweepstakes

iowa-corn-growers-association-77948544A new multimedia campaign features four Iowa corn farmers called ‘Fill Up on Me’ Sweepstakes. The statewide campaign from the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board includes TV, online, print and radio advertisements focusing on ethanol/economic development, products from corn to ethanol process and conservation practices found on the farm.

“We are proud of the outstanding farmers we have in Iowa,” said Shannon Textor, Market Development Director for Iowa Corn and the staff person responsible for ethanol marketing. “We picked just four Iowans for the campaign, but we have thousands more great Iowa farmers that we could have chosen to feature.”

The campaign is already underway and will continue through December 14th. The farmers range in age, experience and have different farming techniques, but their passion for agriculture is clearly the same.

Meet the farmers:
- Mark Recker, Arlington, IA
- Brent Drey, Sc City, IA
- Pam Johnson, Floyd, IA
- Bill Couser, Nevada, IA

The ‘Fill Up on Me’ Sweepstakes includes a fuel giveaway and other ways to get involved on the issue of ethanol. For more information on the campaign check out

NAFB Night of Honors

The National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) bestowed honors on many deserving individuals last week – the best of the best.

nafb13-johnnieWe’ll start with the new members of the NAFB Hall of Fame. Johnnie Hood was one of our very first friends in NAFB, back in the day when he served as president in 1985 at the midpoint of his career as a radio farm broadcaster on WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was so great to see him and wife Peggy again last week, it’s been a long time! He and Peggy retired in 2002 and moved to Land O’Lakes, Florida where they live a quiet and happy life driving school buses and playing Santa Claus.

nafb13-wey1The second Hall of Fame inductee was Wey Simpson, radio and television pioneer in the great Northwest. Wey served three terms as NAFB regional vice president, edited the organization’s magazine CHATS for two years and served three years on the Sales/Marketing board. He hosted the NAFB Summer Meeting in 1974, the year of the World’s Fair in Spokane, the same year he was named Farm Broadcaster of the Year.

nafb13-lynnThe NAFB Meritorious Service Award was presented to Agri-Marketing Magazine publisher and industry leader Lynn Henderson. This award, named after NAFB advocate and volunteer leader Dix Harper, annually recognizes outstanding support and leadership to the broadcasting industry and association by a member of the Management & Sales Council or the Allied Industry Council.

In addition, the National Farm Medicine Center and agency Broadhead received the Plambeck Award Best Series for their campaign, “You’re a Parent First, Farmer Second,” and BASF Crop Protection agency Mullen was recognized for Best Single Ad for Verdict herbicide. The Plambeck award is named after NAFB legend Herb Plambeck, second president of the organization.

Our sincere congratulations to all!

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album