Tour of Bayer Bee Center

bayer-bee-sarah1Meet Sarah Myers, the apiarist in charge of the North American Bayer Bee Care Center. She is our guide for this YouTube tour through the newly opened facility with a taste of what it has to offer for visitors. You can register for tours on the Bayer CropScience website.

You can also find lots of photos of the new center here:
Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center
Grand Opening Photo Album

Take it away, Sarah!

Wheat Harvest Film Debuted at Ag Day Festivities

ag-day-14-barry-conradThe debut of The Great American Wheat Harvest was seen by many during Ag Day activities this year in Washington D.C. Chuck took time to chat with Barry Nelson, John Deere, who was a huge sponsor of the production. He also spoke with the director, Conrad Weaver. Both couldn’t have been more excited with how the film turned out and can’t wait to get it out for the whole world to see.

“It exceeded my expectations.” Barry said, “After being able to see the final cut of the film, seeing the reaction from the crowd, but also how Conrad Weaver the producer was able to tell the story of these different custom cutters going on the harvester trail and how difficult it is. Boy, I think it’s a great story and now we are excited to see where the film is going to be debuted and shown across the US.”

Barry believes this film sets itself apart from other documentaries because it really tells the story of the families involved in this and how hard it is to predict the weather, manage the equipment and make sure they are in the right place at the right time.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Barry here: Interview with Barry Nelson

Conrad said, “It’s kind of like giving birth. You have all the toil for years and now you have birthed this thing called a movie and it’s exciting, it’s thrilling and it’s a relief to be done. But now the real work begins of getting the message out to the people.”

For the next two years Conrad said he will be busy making sure the world sees this production. They are also still looking for sponsorships to help fund marketing dollars to help get this in theaters everywhere. In the future Conrad is toying with some other project ideas all relating to agriculture. We should expect to continue to see and hear his name mentioned as a true advocate for the agricultural community.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Conrad here: Interview with Conrad Weaver

Coverage of National Ag Day is sponsored by BCS Communications

NAMA Trade Show Through ZimmGlass

Bruce Rasa TekWearAgGoogle Glass got a lot of attention during the Connection Point at this year’s Agri-Marketing Conference. Here’s Bruce Rasa, TekWearAg, doing a demo with Karen and Cliff from GROWMARK. Bruce patiently conducted countless demos during his time working with us in the ZimmComm booth. We really appreciate his participation and have enjoyed a great relationship as we work on ideas and potential projects for this new technology. TekWearAg is working on the application side of the technology so he’s someone you should contact if you are interested in a Glass application for your business or service.

While Bruce was doing demos I took ZimmGlass and wandered around the trade show floor. As you’ll hear in the video below it was quite noisy but I met some interesting people. Maybe you’ll see someone you know.

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

Cal Poly Wins NAMA Student Competition

nama14-student-winnersSix outstanding student NAMA teams made it to the final round of the competition last week and the final winner was California Polytechnic State University – Cal Poly.

Congratulations to the teams from Illinois State University, Michigan State University, Iowa State University, University of Florida, and to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was a great competition this year as always with lots of up and coming talent for the agri-marketing industry!

The students had some fun before the awards ceremony began, until the adults broke it up – watch the video below and find out what order the other five finalists in the competition finished.

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

NAMA Fresh Perspective

During the 2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Max Armstrong produced daily “The Fresh Perspective” videos with information about what was happening during the event. In fact, The Fresh Perspective is sponsored by This Week in Agribusiness. Here’s the last episode.

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

Fresh From Florida NAMA Farm Tour

nama14-blueskySince it’s usually in Kansas City, the annual NAMA conference rarely has a farm tour, so getting to see and hear about some agriculture outside the Midwest was a treat this week. Thanks to the Florida NAMA chapter for setting it up and to sponsors Ag Net Media and Vance Publishing for making it possible.

Our tour stops included a cracker cattle ranch, a potato farm, and a sod farm, finishing with a gourmet and locally source lunch at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center.

Fourth generation farmer Danny Johns was our host at Blue Sky Farm which grows specialty potatoes and onions and is very active in promoting agriculture to the public. “Farming is a constant evolution…always a challenge, that’s part of the fun of being a farmer,” he said. “It’s so important for the rest of the country to realize what agriculture looks like and the challenges we face.” Interview with Florida potato farmer Danny Johns

nama14-rancherMost people are aware that St. Augustine is the oldest continuous settlement in the new world (Pensacola was actually first but it got wiped out by a hurricane) – but you may not know that it is also the birth place of the United States cattle industry.

Alan Roberts of St. Augustine has a herd of pure Florida Cracker cattle, direct descendents of the original animals brought to Florida from Spain in the late 1500s. “They came over with Pedro Menendez in 1565 when he founded St. Augustine,” and Alan says they have had his herd DNA tested to confirm the bloodline.

nama14-crackersAlan says the cattle are more resistant to horn flies and worms than any other type of cattle and he likes their gentle dispositions. “They’re such a pleasure to raise,” he said. “They’re smarter for one thing, low maintenance and easy to handle.”

And so many of the mommas and babies in the herd looked just like each other with such unique coloring and markings. Watch the video below and be sure to check out the photo album where I took LOTS of cow pictures!

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.

Today’s Youth Promoting Agriculture

ag-day-14-essay-winnerYoung agriculturists from across the country entered this year’s National Ag Day Essay Contest in an effort to help promote the importance of agriculture throughout our country.

Clara Knipp is from Tipton, MO and her essay titled, “Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths To Feed,” was selected as this year’s written winner. Clara presented her essay as part of National Ag Day activities in Washington, D.C. You can listen to it here: Clara's Ag Day Essay

Brackston McKnight of Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, TX submitted a video essay winning that category. You can view his creative ag promo video below.

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.

“Down to Earth” Examines Sustainable Farming

Indiana’s “Down to Earth” documentary examines the world of sustainable farming. Small-farm issues in a big-farm world are the central theme of a new documentary created by students at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. The film is focused on promoting a more sustainable and locally based food system for our country.

Fourteen students spent the fall creating “Down to Earth” as part of a semester-long immersive learning experience at the university’s Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. The 35-minute film spotlights an east central Indiana farmer, Kyle Becker, and his passion to implement sustainable farming methods to help heal his land in Mooreland, Ind., while providing healthy food to people throughout the region. Included in the film are dozens of interviews the students conducted with prominent players in the national sustainability movement, including Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power, Juli Obudzinski of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Joel Saltain, whose Polyface Farms was featured in both Michael Pollan’s best-selling book “Omnivore’s Dilemma” and the 2008 documentary “Food Inc.”

Down to Earth: Small Farm Issues In a Big Farm World from Down to Earth on Vimeo.

iCropTrak Soil with 1 Tap Entry for Serious AgNerds

iCT SoilAgNerd Alert!

One tap data entry is important. Because as Aaron Hutchinson, President, Cogent3D, says, “Every click is money.” That’s part of the improvements in the latest release of iCropTrak. Aaron says the company has also created a new version of the product called iCropTrak Soil. This version provides a lower cost alternative for those who don’t need an advanced system and currently has special pricing.

In addition to Rapid Scouting enhancements like Rapid Observation and Action Items, the new iCropTrak includes a series of augmented map functions to make field understanding fast and easy.

  • Map Annotations to provide additional map reference data
  • Work Order Status Annotations to provide where and what quickly
  • Follow Me Upgrade to keep you on the map at any speed
  • Map Sketch to allow you to draw on the map and save results for reports
  • Recent Forms puts field history in chronological order

Version 4.1 includes the first mobile parts of the upcoming integration: On-demand data downloading. On-Demand let’s you download only the data you need for the time you need it, then remove it from your iPad when done to have space for other efforts. At multiple gigabytes per field for planting, as-applied, and harvest data, On-Demand provides users control over their data and provides the first peek at the new user definable statistical legends that colorize the data on the fly based on its attributes.

Aaron Hutchinson, Cogent3D President shared the company’s excitement regarding this release stating: “The One Tap Observation capability to mark weeds, pests, and diseases is a labor break-thru in a market where every click is money. ”

You can listen to my interview with Aaron here: Interview with Aaron Hutchinson

Here’s a demo of iCropTrak Soil:

Introducing – iCropTrak Soil from Cogent3D on Vimeo.

Big thanks to iCropTrak for continuing their sponsorship of our AgWired App. If you don’t have our free app please consider downloading for free!

Manage Your Ground Speed with New Holland

Vic ConstableGetting a lesson in Ground Speed Management with New Holland tractors was my second one during Operation Blue Force out on a farm near Bakersfield, CA. Our classroom teacher is Vic Constable. After the lesson I got into a T9 4-wheel drive tractor with track units pulling a massive field “Optimizer” to put that lesson in action. My driver, Ryan, showed how to set up Ground Speed Management as well as Custom Headland Management. After recording his instructions it was my turn to sit in the seat and drive. I did pretty good and learned a few extra lessons that just need to stay in California. :)

The 16-speed full powershift transmission with Ground Speed Management (GSM) features both field and road operation settings. GSM Field™ automatically downshifts the tractor and adjusts engine rpm to maintain the best performance, then upshifts and changes engine rpm as load decreases. GSM Road™ selects the proper gears and engine rpm based on speed lever input and load conditions. Even without GSM, get clutch-free, push-button shifting and fingertip control of direction changes.

You can listen to Vic’s lesson here or watch it below: Vic Constable Lesson

If you’d like to see these features in action check out my ZimmGlass video below:

New Holland Operation Blue Force Photo Album

20,000 Meals Packaged by FFA Members at Gin Show

farm-gin-14-ffa-food-bankIn just a short amount of time these FFA students packaged 20,000 nutritious meals for the Mid-South Food Bank during the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show held in Memphis, TN.

This doubles the number of meals put together last year. The endeavor was part of an outreach program by Kids Care.

The Mid-South Food Bank was founded 1981 and is a member of Feeding America, the national network of food banks. There mission is to: To fight hunger through the efficient collection and distribution of wholesome food, and through education and advocacy. The non-profit focuses on feeding children, families and seniors throughout the Mid-South area.

Tim Price, Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Manager said, “I think it is important for FFA kids to learn that the food you produce really goes someplace, it goes to real people. This is an investment from two standpoints. Number one is the food that goes into this food bank as a result of this packaging effort is nutritionally balanced with vitamins and minerals in it. I think it is one of the highest quality foods for it’s purpose that’s in the food bank pantry. Secondly, they get to see where it goes. It’s a hands-on experience and it’s amazing to see in such a short amount of time how many packages can be done.”

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

WWE Hall of Famer Visits Gin Show

farm-gin-14-jerry-lawlerJerry “The King” Lawler, WWE Hall of Fame member, was on hand during the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show at the AgXplore booth.

He was there to work with a good friend of his who is president and CEO AgXplore, Barry Aycock. Those fortunate to stroll by the AgXplore booth were greeted by the WWE wrestler who was available for photos and autographs.

Barry said, “We have specialty products. We are are unique company that is growing like crazy. Jerry has been drumming up lots of business today and we are glad to be here.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Jerry here: Interview with Jerry Lawler

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

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.

New Holland Auto Command Lesson

Luke ZerbyMy first lesson during the New Holland Operation Blue Force field training event was in a T7 210 Auto Command CVT transmission tractor. My teacher was Luke Zerby. He says this tractor is perfect for hay and forage work. Luke talked me through the control stick which is mounted on a Sidewinder II comfy armrest. The controls allow you to preset three different speeds to switch between easily. There is also an Integrated Control Panel which allows for even more pre-set options and finer tuning those settings. This allows you to maximize engine efficiency.

The Auto Command™ Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) makes it easy to find the perfect speed for each job because your choice of speeds is infinite. You accelerate from zero to maximum speed smoothly, without multiple steps. And, with no clutching, the shuttle shifting is the smoothest you’ll find, making the Auto Command transmission ideal for loader work.

Ride along with me via ZimmGlass to learn more about what this feature offers:

I’ve got lots of photos from this week’s event for your viewing/sharing pleasure: New Holland Operation Blue Force Photo Album

2014 Bayer Sustainability Award

bayer-aif14-awardDuring the ninth annual Ag Issues Forum last week, Bryan Boll of Minnesota was the recipient of the 2014 Bayer Young Farmer Sustainability Award. Bryan believes the key to sustainability is to look at your operation individually and see areas in which you can improve.

I interviewed Bryan about the award and what sustainability means to him. Interview with Bryan Boll, Bayer 2014 sustainability award winner

Bryan is the fourth recipient of this award. Pictured with him here are 2013 winner Jeremy Jack of Mississippi on the left, and the CEO and president of Bayer CropScience LP, Jim Blome.

Jeremy also participated on a panel during the Ag Issues Forum on how today’s farmer CEO are re-shaping modern agriculture. He believes “sustainability has got to be the action plan” for every farmer in the future. Interview with Jeremy Jack, Bayer 2013 sustainability award winner

Below is a video that introduces Bryan and what he does on his operation.

bayer-issues-button2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

FMC Shares Cotton Products to Growers

FMC at Farm and Gin ShowWhile in the FMC exhibit at the recent Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, Chuck spoke with Don Johnson and Rusty Mitchell about some new products cotton growers can take advantage of.

Rusty shared how proud they are of their newest cotton harvest aid for cotton growers.

“We have Display, our cotton defoliation product, that we launched year. We had very good success with it.” “Very low-rate. Less warehouse space for our customers to stock product compared to competitive products out there in the marketplace.”

FMC is also offering an online web series call The Minute and hosted by Jake Turner. The series will cover growing topics, crops and other agricultural issues. They are also incorporating a Watch and Win Sweepstakes. Account holders who view the online episodes will automatically be entered to win the grand prize – a dream vacation of their choice from one of six destinations. Five first-place winners will receive $500 airfare vouchers and 20 additional winners will receive digital cameras. The sweepstakes entry period ends May 30, 2014. Winners are selected at random and will be notified in June. Sweepstakes rules and regulations are posted online at

“It gives producers the opportunity to learn about the products we have available now. Help them with their production practices and at the same time a great opportunity to register and win some great prizes.”

Don added the importance of FMC’s presence at the event and how much they enjoy getting the chance to meet and greet their customers.

“This show gives us the opportunity for the growers, dealers, customers and distributors to come in and see what’s new and what our company brings to the market. We always say that a bad show is when the weather is great and they are out there in the field. We always hope for a little rain so it drives them to the show and we can stand here all day and visit with our customers when they come through.”

You can listen to my interview with Rusty & Don here: Interview with Rusty Mitchell & Don Johnson

2014 Mid-South Farm & Gin Show Photo Album

Coverage is sponsored by FMC

2014 FMC Stand and Be Heard Contest

classic14-fmc-noelleFMC says “We’re Investing in farming’s future℠ with our new Anthem® and Anthem® ATZ herbicides and $25,000 in college scholarships as prizes in the 2014 Stand & Be Heard Anthem Singing Contest.”

Last year’s winner – Noelle Goodson, a freshman at Cornerstone University – was on stage singing the National Anthem opening the general session at the 2014 Commodity Classic where Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed more than 7,000 attendees. She said it was a privilege and an honor to be able to perform for such a large crowd of people. Noelle says her time with the National FFA Choir helped her prepare for the future.

Applications for the 2014 “Stand and Be Heard Contest” are now being accepted. To learn more about entering the contest go to

Listen to my interview with Noelle here: 2013 FMC Anthem Winner, Noelle Goodson

Listen to Noelle sing the National Anthem here: Noelle Goodson sings at Commodity Classic General Session

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

BASF Spotlights Future of Farming

classic14-basf-drawingOver 7,000 people had the opportunity to visit the BASF Crop Protection USA booth at the Commodity Classic to learn more about the future of farming – by video and through the eyes of children.

The newest video from BASF, featuring fun facts about how far the industry has progressed and how we must advance in order to meet the needs of future generations, was on a movie screen size display. Behind it was a wall displaying creative pictures artwork from children across the country of how they see the future of farming.

BASF asked children what they thought farming would look like in 50 or 100 years and got dozens of creative, innovative and colorful concepts that were on display in the booth. The winning submission, by 11-year-old Moise Dougherty of Minnesota, was chosen on Saturday morning.

See more photos here:
BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Watch the new BASF video here:

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos