Kip Cullers in Africa

classic14-kipAbout a week or so before Commodity Classic, I got a call from our good friend and rock star soybean grower Kip Cullers who was all excited about the trip he had just taken to South Africa. So, I did an interview with him while I had the chance, which was a good thing because I barely saw him at Classic, where he had promised to give me a USB drive with photos from the trip but never did. I did catch a shot of him on the stage at Case IH where he was telling the audience about his trip.

Anyway, it was a pretty interesting trip for Kip, who was there with another grower for a tour to meet with local farmers, primarily sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, with participation by BASF and John Deere. “We traveled around the country and had meetings where they were expecting 200 and 400 would show up,” Kip said. “We did five meetings and they said that we covered 80% of the total production acres in South Africa, whether it be corn, wheat or beans.”

Kip says one of his biggest surprises was that they have Asian Soybean Rust there and was interested to find that they use the same BASF product to fight it, although instead of Headline it is known by a different name. He said the farmers were very interested in seed treatments, which are currently not used much in South Africa.

The trip was great, but Kip says he wasn’t thrilled with the food – lamb that was fatty and “kinda got a twang” and some kind of white corn grits-like food that was so dry “I had the spoon turned upside down and it wouldn’t fall off.”

Listen to my interview with Kip talking about his trip to South Africa, as only Kip can – Interview with Missouri farmer Kip Cullers

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Learning About MapShots Integration

MapShots ConferenceI’ve been collecting a lot of interviews here in Atlanta at the MapShots Customer Conference. Most of them will be shared over on PrecisionPays.com. However, I thought you might enjoy this one with official AgNerd, Keith Baker.

Keith saw me wearing my ZimmGlass and that started an enjoyable conversation about the new technology I’ve been trying out as a member of the Google Explorers program. Keith operates a Dupont Pioneer seed agency, Baker Ag Services, in NW Indiana with his son. They try to stay no the cutting edge of new technology. He says he came to this conference to learn about the newest products like MapShots AgStudio. Like at a lot of conferences he’s enjoying the networking with fellow agnerds to share ideas and information.

You can listen to my interview with Keith here: Interview with Keith Baker

2014 MapShots Customer Conference Photo Album

Howard Buffett Foundation Initiatives Announced

wfp-13-buffett-blairFormer UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and philanthropist/farmer Howard G. Buffett were the stars at the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogues today in Des Moines, launching new initiatives to address conservation, hunger and poverty issues in Africa.

For one, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation has formed a partnership with John Deere and DuPont Pioneer to promote conservation agriculture adoption and support smallholders and sustainable farming in Africa. The effort will be piloted in Ghana and include a conservation-based, mechanized product suite developed by John Deere; a system of cover crops and improved inputs from DuPont Pioneer; and support for adoption and training on conservation-based practices by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Additionally, Blair announced a collaboration between his Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the World Food Prize Foundation to launch the 40 Chances Fellows program.

40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World a new book written by Howard G. Buffett, inspired the program, which will encourage innovation in developing market‐based approaches that address food insecurity. Fellowship funds will support social entrepreneurs who are addressing issues of hunger, conflict, or poverty in Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, four of the countries where AGI has strong government partnerships.

Blair and Buffett participated in a panel and then met the press at the World Food Prize. You can listen to or download both audio files below.

40 Chances Panel discussion
Blair and Buffett Press Conference

2013 World Food Prize photos

IFAJ Master Class and Boot Camp

ZimmCast 410One of the great things about the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) is the professional improvement it offers for up and coming ag journalists all over the world.

ifaj13-classAlltech sponsors a Young Leader award program that offers an intensive journalistic boot camp-style workshop for 10 promising new journalists from ten different countries. This year’s young leader from the United States was Jennifer Latzke of High Plains Journal. This is the eighth year that Alltech has sponsored this valuable program.

In addition, DuPont Pioneer sponsors the Master Class for journalists from emerging nations. I spoke with DuPont media relations specialist Jane Slusark about that important program.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: IFAJ Master Class

2013 IFAJ Congress Photo Album

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsors, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong and Monsanto, Roundup Ready Plus, for their support.

Head of DuPont Argentina Addresses IFAJ

ifaj13-dupontThe country manager for DuPont in Argentina addressed the IFAJ 2013 Congress during the last day of activities for the event and he talked about the importance of the country for his company.

“DuPont is a science company and we want to produce solutions for some of the biggest challenges in the world and one of those is feeding the world,” said Juan Vaquer, DuPont Argentina. “Argentina is a country that can produce food for ten times its population. It has 40 million people, it produces food for 400 million people. So we believe that the combination of DuPont Pioneer science and Argentina’s capabilities can be a good combination for providing a solution for the food challenge.”

Juan added that some of the challenges in doing business with Argentina, such as volatility for example, are actually advantages. “Our growers are very agile in adapting new technologies,” he said. “It’s pure Darwinism, survival of the fittest.” Interview with Juan Vaquer, DuPont Argentina

Listen to Juan’s address to IFAJ here: Juan Vaquer, DuPont Argentina, speech to IFAJ13

2013 IFAJ Congress Photo Album

Coverage of the 2013 IFAJ Congress is sponsored by Novus International and Dupont Pioneer

Dupont Pioneers Local & Global Presence

fps-13-803-editedIf you missed the Dupont Pioneer pavilion during the 2013 Farm Progress Show then you had your blinders on. The huge exhibit brought attendees into an air-conditioned environment to view their state-of-the-art technology for growers to take advantage of globally.

Senior Marketing Manager, Luke Davies, talked with me in their exhibit to shed some light on their growing product line and give a glimpse of what those who strolled through their booth during the Farm Progress Show were able to take in. Beyond that Luke was excited to share what is coming down the line in terms of technology.

“As soon as you come into our booth you are greeted by an option that really intrigues our families and our younger generation and that is the giant corn field that serves as a backdrop were we snap a picture. As you progress from there a big highlight for the crowd has been Pioneer Field 360, which is really our new precision agronomy tool working with growers to develop better productivity through better relationships.”

Listen to my interview with Luke here: Interview with Luke Davies

Jerry Harrington works with the agriculture trade media and publishes the Growing Point magazine for Dupont Pioneer customers. Also during the Farm Progress Show I spoke with him about how the companies focus on global relations has brought them to be long-time sponsors of Chuck & Cindy’s travels to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists conference. Currently the duo is in Argentina taking in all that the country has to offer when it comes to agriculture.

“We are an international company. It makes all the sense in the world to help enhance the communications among journalists, not only those who cover within the US but in international boarders as well. It’s been our pleasure to sponsor Chuck Zimmerman’s trips to the international ag journalist conventions and we intend to do so long into the future.”

Listen to my interview with Jerry here: Interview with Jerry Harrington

Check out photos from the event here: 2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Coverage of the 2013 Farm Progress show is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Growmark and New Holland

Buenos Dias from Buenos Aires!

ifaj-argentinaAgriblogger and Farmpodcaster have arrived in Argentina to blog the 2013 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress!

Not sure how many Americans are making the trip this year but it’s at least a couple dozen. There are 14 pictured in the photo below taken at Ag Media Summit, plus Chuck – and I know of at least 5 more not pictured.

ifaj-aaea-groupAccording to the organizers, Argentina was once referred to as the “world´s grainery” and has tripled its agricultural production in the last 30 years. Argentinian farmers and ranchers feed over 430 million people each year using advanced technologies and sustainable agricultural practices.

We will be staying in Buenos Aires for two days and then to Rosario and our tours will include grain, livestock, dairy and specialty crop operations. Thanks to our sponsors – DuPont Pioneer and Novus International – for helping us to bring this great event home to you. You can also follow the congress on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #IFAJ2013.

Photo album is started – link below – and we will officially surpass 100,000 in our Flickr account with nearly 450 sets since 2005! Buenos Dias!

2013 IFAJ Congress Photo Album

Coverage of the 2013 IFAJ Congress is sponsored by Novus International and Dupont Pioneer

DPP Graindesk Mobile App

dpp_bannerWith more growers relying on mobile technology for their daily farming operations, Farms Technology, L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont Pioneer, has upgraded its Dynamic Pricing PlatformSM (DPPSM) Graindesk mobile app to reflect sellers’ changing needs for updated grain-market information.

The free DPP mobile app puts your preferred buyers’ bids at your fingertips, enabling you to make, monitor and manage offers to sell corn, soybeans and wheat 24 hours a day.

The DPP Graindesk mobile app also delivers updated market information with the ability to create and manage futures-only and cash offers. Through mobile messaging, buyers can communicate with sellers directly through the mobile platform.

DPP Graindesk offers are monitored with every tick of the futures market from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 7:45 a.m. Utilizing the CME Group electronic markets, the DPP Graindesk facilitates an automatic connection between grower-approved offers and buyers’ hedge orders. With patented e-Pit®services, DPP Graindesk can place a hedge order, receive confirmation of the fill, execute the cash purchase, and notify both buyer and seller in seconds. Before the DPP Graindesk and the upgraded DPP Graindesk mobile app, growers interested in selling grain contacted merchandisers to get a price or waited for a price notification via a scheduled text message.

The DPP Graindesk mobile app is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices. Download the free mobile app at the App Store or Google Play store.

Pioneer See the T Photo Contest

Pioneer See the TGot some T’s? Take a picture and submit in the Dupont Pioneer See the T Photo Contest.

The “See the T” photo contest has just launched as a fun tie-in with the arrival of the new Pioneer® brand T Series soybeans.

Just “Find a T, Snap a T and SubmiT” photos of T’s, on or around your farm, then upload them to the “See the T” website.

The 8-week contest runs from J​uly 29–S​eptember 20, 2013. All submitted photos will be sorted and judged, with bi-weekly prizes of Certified Angus Beef® brand T-Bone steaks going to the winners.

Bi-weekly winners will then be eligible for a chance to win the grand prize: a deluxe Weber gas grill.

So go exploring. See and snap as many T photos as possible. Tantalizing T-Bones and a killer Weber gas grill could be in your future.

New Monsanto – Dupont Pioneer Licensing Agreement

MonsantoMonsanto and Dupont Pioneer announced today “a series of technology licensing agreements.” These agreements will expand the range of seed products they can offer farmers. The agreements include a multi-year, royalty-bearing license for Monsanto’s next-generation soybean technologies in the United States and Canada.

I spoke with Lisa Safarian, Monsanto, US Row Crops lead, to get some details.

Dupont PioneerSome of the details include:

Through these agreements, DuPont Pioneer will be able to offer Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® soybeans as early as 2014, and Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ glyphosate and dicamba tolerant soybeans as early as 2015, pending regulatory approvals.

DuPont Pioneer also will receive regulatory data rights for the soybean and corn traits previously licensed from Monsanto, enabling it to create a wide array of stacked trait combinations using traits or genetics from DuPont Pioneer or others. Monsanto will receive access to certain DuPont Pioneer disease resistance and corn defoliation patents.

There are quite a few dollars involved in the agreement that include four annual fixed royalty payments from 2014 to 2017 totaling $802 million for trait technology, associated data, and soybean lines to support commercial introduction. Additionally, beginning in 2018, DuPont Pioneer will pay royalties on a per unit basis of Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield® and Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ for the life of the agreement for continued technology access, subject to annual minimum payments through 2023 totaling $950 million.

Additionally, the companies agreed to dismiss their respective antitrust and first-generation Roundup Ready® soybean patent lawsuits pending in U.S. federal court in St. Louis.

You can listen to my interview with Lisa here: Interview with Lisa Safarian

Dupont Pioneer Press Conference

Pioneer Press ConferenceDupont Pioneer held a news conference at the recent Commodity Classic to introduce a new set of services.

The focus of the press conference was the new Pioneer Field360 services. These new services are meant to help farmers increase productivity and profitability by providing more control of field-by-field data without having to become a technical expert.

Pioneer Field360The Pioneer Field360 Services include agronomic decision support tools which are ready for this growing season. They include Pioneer Field360 Notes which streamlines and organizes field-by-field agronomic information among the farmer and Dupont Pioneer agronomists and sales professionals. It is mobile access ready by being compatible with iPad, iPhone and Android devices. There’s also a Plantability App to scan seed tags to indicate suggested planter settings.

Also coming later this season will be Pioneer Field360 Select which is a mobile subscription service. Like the others this service is mobile device compatible.

Listen to or download the Dupont Pioneer press conference here: Dupont Pioneer Press Conference

2013 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Pioneer Announces New T-Series Soybeans

Dupont PioneerDupont Pioneer held a press conference this morning to announce a new series of Pioneer brand soybeans – the T Series (pdf). I participated in the call so you can listen to what was said including opening comments from Don Schafer, soybean marketing manager, and Dr. Jessie Alt, research scientist. It looks like there will be new product available throughout the soybean growing regions. The new soybean line also included a new product numbering system (pdf) similar to that of Pioneer corn products.

A new series of Pioneer® brand soybean products, developed through the innovative DuPont Pioneer Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT™) process, will bring soybean growers across North America a broad range of high yielding varieties. The new line of soybean products – named the T Series – includes 39 new products and will be introduced in this year.

Signaling an exciting new era in soybean production, the T Series supports soybean growers committed to seeking the right product for the right acre on their soybean fields. Available in seven maturity groups, T Series products represent the largest number of soybean varieties advanced in a single year by Pioneer. The new T Series varieties succeed the popular Pioneer Y Series soybeans introduced several years ago.

“The next generation T Series soybean products provides growers a total package that helps them gain the most from every acre,” says Don Schafer, DuPont Pioneer senior marketing manager – soybeans. “A step change from earlier offerings, the T Series is a direct result of the AYT system that allows Pioneer soybean breeders to maximize yield potential, agronomic traits and resistance to yield-robbing pests.”

Listen to Don describe this new product launch here: Don Schafer Remarks

Listen to Jessie talk about the AYT system here: Jessie Alt Remarks

You can also listen to and/or download the full press conference call here: Pioneer T-Series Press Call

Dupont Pioneer Invests in My American Farm

My American FarmMy American Farm, the American Farm Bureau Foundation’s online interactive education program, received a huge investment from Dupont Pioneer that was announced at the beginning of the annual meeting here in Nashville. It is a $250,000 investment that will support new games and resources, increased outreach to K-12 stakeholders and a mobile application.

I learned more about it by speaking with Susan Bunz, vice president of policy and outreach for Dupont Pioneer. She says that the company actively promotes science education with a goal of attracting more students to study and pursue careers in sciences including agriculture.

During the stage presentation one lucky state farm bureau – North Dakota – received an interactive My American Farm kiosk to use at events around the state.

You can listen to my interview with Susan here: Interview with Susan Bunz

2013 American Farm Bureau Convention Photo Album

ASTA Looking Toward the Future

The American Seed Trade Association is looking ahead to the future of the seed industry and developing a new long range plan.

“We’ve always had a five year strategic plan which gives us direction for where we want the association to go and it was time to refresh that,” said ASTA immediate past chairman Mike Gumina of DuPont Pioneer. To do that, they got input from membership across the board and identified several key issues to address. “The areas that were identified by the membership were: intellectual property rights protection, having our impact on domestic policy as it influences the seed business, state and local issues that influence the seed business, our international programs and our communication programs,” Mike said.

Under the communications banner, Mike says they are really reaching out to a number of audiences including ag media and grower organizations, as well as general media and government. “Getting the story out on seed, the importance of seed, the value of seed, the value of technology and the value of the productivity it brings to all of humanity is really an important message to get out,” he said.

Also important to the future is people and Mike says DuPont Pioneer has started a program to bring young industry professionals to ASTA events so they can get a broader view of the industry. “It’s an opportunity for them to see the broader picture of what’s going on in the seed industry, to understand how ASTA is engaged in policy setting and helping to eliminate issues that are creating barriers to business success in the industry,” he said.

Listen to my interview with Mike here: Interview with Mike Gumina

ASTA-CSS Photo Album

Lacek Group Welcomes Dupont Pioneer Team

The Lacek Group has a full team assembled for the Dupont Pioneer account. Here they are in the Minneapolis office. Pictured from the left, Myrna Krueger, Kristina Entzminger, Jesse Riebe, Kim Le, Evan Davies, Melissa Norby, Amy Herman, Cole Thompson. Second row: Pete Abell, Jim Adler, Vinny Matassa, Amy Karls, Tricia Severson, Steve Pederson, Kristina Fenner. Third Row: Melissa Huset, Rachel Rabaey, David Carson, Jim Jarvis, Greg Goranson, David Yussen, Jay Walsh. Fourth Row: Elizabeth Kern, Mark Francel. Not pictured, Alan Bell, Amber Heinrich, Elizabeth Holum, Rosa Gatzios, Jay Larson and Randy Olson.

The DuPont Pioneer team at The Lacek Group consists of more than 25 people who possess a wide variety of talents in traditional and digital media. The Lacek Group was retained earlier in 2012 by DuPont Pioneer to handle the company’s full spectrum of marketing communications for the U.S. This includes advertising, digital communications, trade media relations and custom publishing.

 “We are pleased to have an opportunity to build a talented team from the ground up,” says Evan Davies, partner and group account director. “We’ve added great talent at all levels and are excited to support the DuPont Pioneer commitment to putting the right product on the right acre.”

Photo Caption: The DuPont Pioneer team at The Lacek Group includes:

Optimum AQUAmax For Water-Limited Environments

Drought hasn’t yet been moved to the back burner as companies like Dupont Pioneer make it a priority to engineer products to help farmers in times of uncontrollable circumstances. National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk gave agri-businesses a voice to share their latest products.

I sat down with Janelle Buxton, Marketing Communication Manager in Corn for Dupont Pioneer. She was excited to share a fairly new product farmers can take advantage of, Optimum AQUAmax. This corn hybrid is for water-limited environments, but also increases yield in normal conditions.

“One of the primary products that I work on is a drought tolerant corn hybrid. It’s one of Pioneers newest elite class of hybrids. Essentially what these Optimum AQUAmax products do is help deliver yield advantage in water-limited environments, much like the year we have had would be considered water limited. It then offers top-end yield potential in more normal growing conditions. Optimum AQUAmax products were launched in January 2011 in the western US in those areas that are chronically dry and then expanded to about 2 million acres in 2012.”

“In yield performance we saw that in over 11,200 on-farm grower competitive trials, with similar traited products, we saw a yield advantage of Optimum AQUAmax of about 8.9% in those water-limited environments. In more favorable growing conditions we saw 1.9% yield advantage.”

Listen to my complete interview with Janelle here: Janelle Buxton - Dupont Pioneer

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Factors Impacting Global Agriculture

What is ahead for global agriculture? Now there’s a question that can’t be easy to answer. But that’s the task Steve Elmore, Economics Director, Dupont Pioneer, had this morning at the AgroNomics Conference.

Steve provided attendees with information on the current major factors influencing agriculture. By understanding what these are ASFMRA members can draw more informed conclusions about the current and future health of this economic sector. There’s a lot of information in this presentation so I just recorded it all for your listening and learning pleasure.

Listen to Steve’s remarks here: Remarks from Steve Elmore

2012 Agronomics Photo Album

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

Latest Yield Results on Pioneer.com/yield

Harvest is progressing at a faster than average pace this year and yield data continues to stream into Pioneer.com/yield. The variability in weather experienced throughout the growing season will impact yields this fall. For a quick snapshot of harvest yields in your area and across the country, visit www.pioneer.com/yield.

The Pioneer yield site provides a brief summary of each plot as well as a detailed individual plot report with competitive comparisons, planting information and harvest data. The process to find local yield results and comparisons is easy. Simply select a crop, zip code and preferred radius to obtain a custom view of harvest yields in your area of interest.

As harvest continues to progress, visit www.pioneer.com/yield to see how Pioneer and other products are performing in your area and across the country.

Key Tips for 2013 Growing Season

There was a lot of talk during the Farm Progress Show this year about the epic drought and how it was impacting growers across the country. Brent Wilson, DuPont Pioneer technical services manager, was out interacting with growers and when talking with them heard quite often that they just want to put the epic drought of 2012 behind them.

That leads to the question, what should growers be doing to get prepared for 2013? Wilson responded by putting together a list of key things DuPont Pioneer agronomists are doing to help growers prepare for next season. One question that was asked and answered during the press conference was, What impact will the drought have on product positioning for 2013?

A product getting a lot of buzz during the show was Pioneer® brand Optimum® AQUAmax™ products. Wilson said while they were originally developed for the Western corn belt where you see lower yields, the product lineup can also offer top-end yield potential in optimal growing conditions.

Some other issues Wilson brought to the field to think about included understanding maturity issues, knowing what trait packages as far as insect and disease and herbicide resistance are available and learning about the newest genetics that can be incorporated into a growers lineup that will help to increase overall yield potential.

While I have simply posed the questions Wilson suggests asking, he also answered them. To hear more details about the key things growers should consider when planning for the 2013 growing season, listen to the full press conference. Key Tips for 2013 Growing Season

2012 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the 2012 Farm Progress Show is sponsored by New Holland and Monsanto Roundup Ready Plus

New Pioneer Forages Communications Coordinator

Caitlin Keck has been named communications coordinator for the DuPont Pioneer global forages team. Keck will provide marketing and communications support for the Pioneer corn silage, alfalfa and inoculants product lines.

Prior to joining the global forages team, Keck was a Pioneer agronomist in York, Neb., with the Pioneer Emerging Leaders Program. Keck is a graduate of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, Minn., where she received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education, leadership and communications with a double minor in animal science and Spanish.

Keck brings a solid agricultural background to the forages team. She grew up on a dairy farm near Owatonna, Minn., and was involved in several agricultural organizations during her university career, including National Collegiate Agricultural Ambassador Program, Gopher Dairy Club, Collegiate Agricultural Women, the International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership Program and the Minnesota FFA Association.