How ZimmComm Became Ten Years Old

ZimmCast 435While ZimmComm New Media is celebrating ten years we’re doing some reminiscing about some of the milestones in our journey.

Chuck and CindySpeaking of miles, Cindy and I met up in a Delta Sky Club in Atlanta last night to record this week’s program. She was returning from the Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center opening and I was returning from a visit with New Holland. And, no, we did not plan our trips to be on the same flight back home to Pensacola. Funny how that works out.

We got out the Golden ZimmComm Microphone and got to work taking a look back at our ten years of developing an online community with a little help from our friends.

First AgWired PostThis blog we call AgWired got started in our first year when I did my first post in August of 2004. I was a little tentative then and became bolder as time went on. AgWired started out on Blogger before moving to WordPress and we’ve never looked back.

AgriBlogger first tweetIt was some time later that I did my first tweet. Fortunately, it’s not to embarrassing. But here it is. Did you know you can see your first tweet using Twitter Discover? I’m now 17,000 tweets down that highway!

We hope you will enjoy our look back. During the Connection Point last week we had a nephew working in our booth. He said that after listening to us talk to people about what we do for two days he had no idea what we do. Maybe this conversation will help clarify?

You can listen to this week’s program here. Ten Years of ZimmComm

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

Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here.

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.

The Continuing Saga of Pancake Ray

ZimmCast 433If you’ve stayed up very late on Thursday night at the Agri-Marketing Conference the last couple of years then you know of Pancake Ray. He’s the chef of the Rhea & Kaiser After the After Party.

Pancake RayWell, the saga of the man known as Pancake Ray continues this year. If you’re attending the conference in Jacksonville, FL and need a middle of the night meal then you’ll need to stop by Pancake Ray’s Food Truck. Yep, Ray lost his diner but he’s got a food truck and he’s actually making his way south as we speak.

Ray is traveling from Dibble Oklahoma to Jacksonville Florida to feed the people of NAMA for the 3rd year straight. This year, he’s making the voyage in his food truck. Since it only goes 25 MPH due to carbonator issues it’s taking him a little longer than expected. On the way, he’s been making pit stops to learn the culinary secrets of the gulf coast. He’ll be making facebook posts from the road, taking pictures of his findings.

Pancake RayHere’s an image of Ray from his first After the After Party, serving some of the hungry.

This year the After the After Party, thrown by Rhea & Kaiser is on April 10th – Thursday night at Midnight. Right in front of the hotel. You should be able to smell the burritos. Look for his food truck. Look for him. Look for food.

Here’s the menu:

1. Breakfast Burritos – including eggs, meat, and other things.
2. Chicken & Waffles on a Stick (don’t eat the stick).
3. MOST IMPORTANTLY – Ray’s secret masterpiece that he will unveil at NAMA.
What is it? Find out at NAMA.
Is it food? Kind of.
Is it safe? Probably.
Why is it a secret? It’s not done yet.
Will it taste good? Bet your ass.

Pancake RayI mentioned earlier that Ray lost his diner. He also lost his girlfriend, Julie. So he’s got a lonely food truck and he’s looking for a little romance in the Sunshine State.

I only put that in here so you keep a wary eye on Rat and his Food Truck. He’s taking his deliciousness to the road – but only for NAMA. Everyone else isn’t worthy. Also, mobile food trucks are the new thing right now – alongside the finest chefs in the business – Wolfgagng Puck, Wanda Sykes – they’ve all got food trucks so why can’t Ray?

I’ll have a part two of this story for you next week. But for now you can listen to what’s going on with Ray in this week’s program.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Continuing Saga of Pancake Ray

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

Smart Stories from New Holland

ZimmCast 431We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “New Holland Smart,” in the company’s marketing campaigns the past few years. Now New Holland has taken the concept a step further with a new campaign that kicked off last month called, “Smart Stories.”

Mark Hooper and Dawn PelonI spoke to Mark Hooper, Director of Marketing for New Holland North America, during last week’s Operation Blue Force Train to Win event. Mark is pictured with New Holland Brand Manager, Dawn Pelon, during our lunch stop. With the Smart Stories campaign Mark says, “We focused on our customers. On some of the smart things they’re doing in their operations to be more efficient, more productive, to have a better use of resources and we focused on how those customers are using our products and their relationship with their dealer.” The campaign is using a mix of media that includes online social media as well as traditional television, print and radio.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Smart Stories from New Holland

Here’s an example of one of the Smart Stories you’ll find as part of the campaign. Jordan Kambeitz shares how his five-generation family farm has evolved from 160 to 20,000+ acres, using high capacity equipment from New Holland and with a helping hand from his dealer, Markusson New Holland.

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

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.

Social Media in the War Room

ZimmCast 429Social media part of a war room discussion? Yep. It was at the 2014 National Ethanol Conference. Participating in a panel titled, “Communications and Social Media War Room” was Christina Martin, Executive Vice President, Renewable Fuels Association. We chatted about her panel at the conclusion of the conference.

Christina MartinChristina says that the purpose of the session was “to capture the momentum that a lot of our companies built during the EPA comment period. They reached out as they never have before to their employees, to their investors and local communities and general supporters.” Many ventured into social media for the first time and she says they want to keep that momentum going regardless of where the EPA decision on the RFS ends up.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Social Media with Christina Martin

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

New Holland Brand Marketing Manager

ZimmCast 428There’s a new Brand Marketing Communications Manager in town. In New Holland, PA that is. She’s Dawn Pelon and you’ll be seeing her out and about representing the New Holland brand this year. I sat down with Dawn during last week’s National Farm Machinery Show and recorded our conversation for this week’s program.

New HollandI know it’s hard to believe but somehow I never got a photo of Dawn at the show. So, instead, I offer this cute baby blogging photo.

Dawn has been on the job for just over three months. Her background is in automotive and heavy equipment and working with dealer networks. She fits right in with the new team at New Holland and is excited about the opportunity to move the New Holland brand forward. She did her homework before starting too by looking over stories about the New Holland brand in the past and thinking about how to bring it into the future. One of those ways is with New Holland Smart Stories.

You can listen to this week’s program to get to know Dawn better here. New Holland Dawn Pelon

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

MapShots and AgStudio Growing Fast

ZimmCast 427You often get the best perspective on what a company does and what its culture is like by talking with the founder. I had that pleasure last week at the MapShots Customer Conference to visit with founder Ted Macy. MapShots, Inc., is a software development company that provides crop management applications for the agriculture industry and is now a subsidiary of Dupont Pioneer. Their AgStudio software provides clients with powerful, yet easy to use tools for managing large amounts of agronomic crop production data.

Ted MacyTed says he and his wife Nancy started the company “a long time ago.” He says a milestone moment was the introduction of the Ag Leader Technology yield monitor back in 1993. That provided them with a vision of what the software would look like to be able to work with “iron of any color.”

AgStudio was the main topic of many of the presentations at the conference. Ted says they built the product from the ground up to be a total crop record keeping solution. It is now a very comprehensive product that is being integrated into all aspects of managing a farming operation. MapShots brought in representatives from many partner companies to talk about their services and how they are working to integrate them into AgStudio.

You can listen to this week’s program to learn more about MapShots here. MapShots and AgStudio

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

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.

Truthful Food-Chain Communications

ZimmCast 425How about a little Truth in Food? Wouldn’t that be nice. Kevin Murphy, Food-Chain Communications, is trying to make it so.

Food-Chain CommunicationsI visited with Kevin by phone today to learn more about his business. Kevin is passionate about the need for education of the public who ultimately consume products that pass through what we call the food chain. Many might know Kevin from his time with Vance Publishing. He started his own company with a vision “to form a marketing organization that understands the complex chain of food production and delivery from beginning to end.” We also talked about why he created Truth in Food and what he thinks of the agribusiness industry attempts to reach out to the consuming public today. I think you’ll find it very interesting.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Food-Chain Communications

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

CommonGround Iowa

ZimmCast 424In this week’s program we’ll meet Sara Ross, Iowa farmer and part of CommonGround Iowa. I visited with Sara in the media room at the National Biodiesel Conference and we spoke via ZimmGlass. Here’s what CommonGround Iowa is:

We’re a group of Iowa farm women working to dispel myths about modern agriculture and build trust in farming communities and farm families. We want to answer questions and share facts as well as our personal stories of farm life. Please join us in finding our CommonGround. – See more at:

Sara and her husband Kevin operate a diversified farm near Minden, IA. She loves the volunteer work through CommonGround and talks about how it is helping her engage with non-farm folks about where their food comes from.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Iowa Common Ground

I recorded my conversation with Sara using ZimmGlass so you can see the video of it here:

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

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

AFBF Convention Social Communicating

2014 AFBF ConventionAn estimated 7,000 farm and ranch leaders from around the country are heading to San Antonio this weekend for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention (Twitter hashtag #AFBF14). The meeting begins January 12 and runs through January 15 in San Antonio. Numerous speakers will be on hand to address topics, ranging from crop and livestock outlooks to farm policy, trade and technology.

ZimmCast 422If you are not one of those 7,000 – never fear! – you can feel like you are part of the action thanks to all the social media and new communications tools the great team at AFBF is using to get information out from the annual meeting. It’s a far cry from when we covered the 1985 convention in Hawaii without even the benefit of computers!

I talked with AFBF Executive Director of Communications Mace Thornton about all the tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, Flickring, and live streaming that will be going on from the convention. Social Communication from AFBF Convention

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

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.

Google Glass and Sullivan Solar Power

ZimmCast 421Right after receiving my Glass I got a news alert from Sullivan Solar Power about their unique use of this new technology. What timing!

Michael ChagalaSo I got in touch with Michael Chagala, Director of IT, and we talked about how they’re employing Glass in their field operations. In the photo Michael is “wearing.” I think that’s how I’ll refer to it.

Sullivan Solar Power developed their own app for Glass and now places a set of Glass on the head of their field service technicians. This means that when the technicians go out to service a client they can basically carry all the data and information on all their products via Glass going hands free which means a lot for efficiency and safety, especially when you’re working on a roof. Additionally, they can stream live video back to headquarters when they need to to share and get opinions and feedback from other technical support. It’s a fascinating step forward for a technology that some folks have at first made fun of but are now finding has many applications to businesses.

Listen to this week’s program to learn more: Sullivan Solar Power & Glass

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

Vicki’s Wicked Potions

ZimmCast 420I recently mentioned a wonderful bloody mary mix that paired well with Organic Ocean Vodka. It’s called Bloody Brew by Vicki’s Wicked Potions in Pensacola, FL. It is good stuff. Good enough that I went back to Palafox Market on Saturday to pick up a case!

Randy & Vicki ComptonVicki’s Wicked Potions is owned and brewed by Randy & Vicki Compton, seen here in their booth with another customer making a large purchase. I spent a while getting to know them and thought you might enjoy our conversation to learn about how they got into this enterprise and especially what’s in Bloody Brew.

Randy says that he and Vicki have invested a lot of money in the consumption of bloody marys over the years and they thought it was time for bloody marys to pay them back. Besides Bloody Brew they specialize in creole spiced pickled vegetables. Randy says, “We’re known to bring a tear to your eye.” One of the pickled vegetable options includes garnishes for bloody marys! If you want to learn more and perhaps figure out how to get a supply of your own just send Randy an email.

Listen to this week’s program to learn more: Vicki's
Wicked Potions

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

BCS Communications Celebrates Ten Years

ZimmCast 419In this week’s program we’ll help celebrate BCS Communications ten year anniversary. They actually celebrated quite a bit last night but I couldn’t be there. It was their annual holiday open house.

BCS Communications and Robert De NiroHowever, a lot of people were there including surprise guest Robert De Niro (red jacket). So, congratulations to the agency for this milestone celebration. We’ve got a few months to go until we can celebrate ours.

I just got off the phone with Kelly Schwalbe who brought me up to speed on what’s new with BCS. He says they continue to grow with new accounts and new staff. Some of those accounts are outside their core of agriculture but that’s just good business sense. A little diversification is a good thing.

Listen to this week’s program to learn more: BCS Ten Year Old Party

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

Classic + Ag Connect = Really Big Show

nafb13-aem-classicWith corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum growers all part of the Commodity Classic, who thought it could get any bigger?

But it will definitely be bigger in 2016 when Classic joins forces with AG CONNECT expo to become what may well be the biggest farm show on Earth.

ZimmCast 416In this edition of the ZimmCast, we hear from Sara Mooney, AG CONNECT show director with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and National Corn Growers Association board member Rob Elliott of Illinois about this partnership and what it will mean for the agriculture community as a whole. AG CONNECT and Commodity Classic

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

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

ZimmCast with NAFB President Elect

nafb13-janetThe lovely and talented Janet Adkison is our guest on this week’s ZimmCast, live and unplugged from the 70th annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention in Kansas City.

Janet is the president-elect of NAFB and has been in farm broadcasting for many years, starting with local radio in Springfield, Missouri. We hired her from there to work at Brownfield for a few years, then she went to work for KMZU in Carrollton, Missouri. Earlier this year, she made the move to Nashville to join the RFD-TV team and has helped to develop their radio channel on Sirius.

ZimmCast 416Hear more about Janet’s new job and the NAFB meeting, which she coordinated this year, in this edition of the ZimmCast. NAFB President-Elect Janet Adkison

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

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

The Young Agrarian Community

ZimmCast 416Hello and welcome to the ZimmCast. In this week’s program we’re going to talk about Young Agrarians. During the 2013 Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation conference you met Sara Dent from a presentation she did at our opening reception.

Young AgrariansNow meet Sara in a more personal way via a conversation we had at the close of the CFWF conference. My focus was to learn more about how Young Agrarians got started and what their goals are. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Listen to this week’s program here: Young Agrarians

Here’s what a young agrarian is: A new entrant into agriculture. Someone from the country to the city who values food, farming, nature and community.

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

2013 Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation Photo Album

Will We Farm with Glass?

ZimmCast 415Hello and welcome to the ZimmCast. In this week’s program we’re going to talk about Glass, as in Google Glass.

Bruce RasaWill this new technology be coming to a farm near you? It has actually been used on farms as part of a Google Explorers project being conducted by Bruce Rasa, Inventive Branding. Bruce was one of a select few chosen my Google to receive and use Google Glass prior to the actual public launch of the product in 2014.

Google Glass (styled “GLΛSS”) is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with a mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.

Bruce spoke to a group of software developers during last week’s John Deere API Integrator Conference. He gave us a “what if” scenario for how you might use a device like this on the farm that included several videos with farmers who used Glass on their farm. He’s got some great ideas that I think you’ll enjoy by listening to this week’s program.

Listen to this week’s program here: Google Glass on the Farm

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