Farmer Internet Use On The Rise

Chuck Zimmerman

American Business Media Agri CouncilThe Agri Council of American Business Media released their latest research on farmers use of media. If you’re wondering whether farmers use the internet and how much then wonder no more. Here’s a couple tidbits from the study as it relates to the internet.

*The Internet stands out as a source whose usage is on the rise – significant minorities of respondents indicate greater usage than several years ago and even more say they will increase their usage in the next 3 to 4 years.
*The Internet is growing in importance as a source of information used by farmers and ranchers as majorities are online or plan to be in the future.
*The Internet is currently used to check on markets and the weather, and research new products and services. In the next 3 to 4 years, respondents expect to spend more time using the Internet to keep up with key information that helps them to run their business.

This kind of information documents that farmers are really no different than the general public in regards to their internet use. Everyone is using it more and will continue to do so. That’s why technologies like blogging, podcasting and RSS exist and you’ll see even more to come. It’s really blurring the distinctions between media and forcing us to change the way we communicate!

Internet, Media

WTO World Trade Report Now Available

Chuck Zimmerman

World Trade OrganizationSpeaking of the WTO (last post). . . They just released their 2005 World Trade Report (executive summary)(pdf file). This is a lengthy document so if you want the full report you’ll have to go to their website. I have not read the full report but didn’t see anything very specific to agriculture in the summary. However, there is some interesting information you may want to check out. For example it looks like trade is picking up in other parts of the world as evidenced by the following excerpt.

Global output and trade grew more strongly in 2004 than in the previous three years. Global GDP growth amounted to 4 per cent in 2004, providing a solid basis for strong trade growth. For some regions, notably Central and South America and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), this represented the best growth for more than a decade. In all seven regions defined in this Report, output and export growth were higher than the average annual rates for the 1990s. Real merchandise trade grew by 9 per cent, the best performance since 2000 and the third highest rate over the last decade. In line with the prevailing post-war pattern, trade growth outstripped GDP growth by a significant margin – on this occasion by 5 percentage points. As this pattern continues, trade becomes an ever more crucial component of global economic activity. The most dynamic traders in 2004 were in Asia, South and Central America, and the CIS. Average trade growth in all of these regions was in double digits. Africa’s trade grew strongly on average in 2004, buoyed in part by firmer commodity prices, particularly for oil and metals. Oil prices also had a strong influence on trade growth in the Middle East. North America’s exports gained further momentum in 2004 compared to previous years, but growth was below the global average. Similarly, improved merchandise trade growth in Europe in 2004 was also very important for world trade growth, but Europe’s trade and output growth remained well below the global average.

WTO

WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Getting Organized

Chuck Zimmerman

World Trade Organization Hong Kong MinisterialI just sent in my request for credentials for this December’s Hong Kong Ministerial of the World Trade Organization. I’m seeking a sponsor of my coverage of this extremely important event to all of U-S agriculture, especially from a marketing standpoint. Please contact me if you’re interested in becoming one of the AgWired Hong Kong sponsors.

There’s not a lot of information out yet on the conference but I’ll begin regular posts about is as we move closer. Here’s why the conference is important according to the WTO website:

Highest authority: the Ministerial Conference

So, the WTO belongs to its members. The countries make their decisions through various councils and committees, whose membership consists of all WTO members. Topmost is the ministerial conference which has to meet at least once every two years. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.

The last conference I attended was the never-to-be-forgotten Seattle conference when I came in contact with protestors up close and personal. Here’s to hoping this conference will be a little different. I kind of think the authorities there will handle it differently than we did in Seattle.

WTO

Landec Ag Acquires Heartland Hybrids

Chuck Zimmerman

Landec AgHot off the presses is today’s talking news release from Landec Ag.

LANDEC AG, INC. ACQUIRES SECOND LARGEST DIRECT MARKETER OF SEED CORN
HEARTLAND HYBRIDS TO JOIN FORCES WITH FIELDER’S CHOICE DIRECT

MENLO PARK, CA – June 30, 2005 – Landec Corporation (Nasdaq: LNDC), a developer and marketer of technology-based polymer products for food, agricultural and licensed partner applications, announced today that its agricultural seed subsidiary, Landec Ag, Inc., has acquired Heartland Hybrids, Inc., the second largest direct marketer of seed corn. Landec Ag, through its Fielder’s Choice Direct® brand, is the leading direct marketer of seed corn.

Under the agreement, Landec Ag will acquire the assets of Heartland Hybrids, which is based in Dassel, Minnesota. The agreement is expected to close before the end of August 2005.

Tom Crowley, Landec Ag’s President and Chief Executive Officer, says the acquisition of Heartland Hybrids solidifies Landec Ag’s market position in the direct-to-the-farm sales channel for agricultural seeds. . .

Heartland Hybrids . . . Heartland Hybrid’s President, Jay Asplin, agrees that the agreement will be a great benefit for farmers. “We really believe the acquisition of Heartland Hybrids by Landec Ag is only going to enhance our ability to bring greater value to our customers. By combining both of our brands together, both of our companies, under the Landec Ag ownership, we’re really going to strengthen our ability to bring farmers across the country the opportunity to buy seed at a great value.” (full release)

For more information contact Bill Gass, Vice President of Marketing, (574) 583-2741 ext.107.

Agribusiness, Audio, Talking News Release

FEW Seminars Offered

Chuck Zimmerman

Fuel Ethanol Workshop SeminarLest you think the 2005 Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo is mostly Expo, think again. They don’t always make for pretty pictures but there was a whole lot of educating going on.

Besides a keynote address to kick things off by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, the FEW offered numerous seminars on topics and issue important to anyone in the ethanol business.

Ethanol

Checking Email Between Sessions At FEW

Chuck Zimmerman

Fuel Ethanol Workshop Internet CafeThis is becoming a standard feature of trade shows everywhere. I like the idea of having an internet “cafe” in the trade show so people have to go there for their free periodic email check. Each time I walked by the internet cafe the work stations were filled and even had people waiting. The 2005 Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo set up a very nice one.

It’s an internet world and we gotta get our fix!

Ethanol

Turning Corn Oil Into Biodiesel Fuel

Chuck Zimmerman

Greenshift CorporationThis release came out just in time to be mentioned while an ethanol conference is going on in Kansas City. I guess corn can also be made into biodiesel. You just don’t hear as much about it. There’s certainaly a lot going on in the renewable fuels sector right now. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a champion in the White House either.

GreenShift Acquires Stake in Ethanol Oil Recovery Systems
Breakthrough Green Technology Efficiently Converts Corn Oil Into Biodiesel Fuel

MOUNT ARLINGTON, N.J., GreenShift Corporation (BULLETIN BOARD: GSHF) today announced the completion of its investment in Ethanol Oil Recovery Systems, LLC (“EORS”).

EORS, a green technology development company, is the inventor of a new patent-pending breakthrough technology for the cost-effective conversion of corn oil into biodiesel fuels. EORS has agreed to transfer its technology to a new development partnership called SunSource BioEnergy, LLC, that is comprised of and managed by some of the ethanol industry’s leading producers, including VeraSun Energy, Glacial Lakes Energy, KAAPA Ethanol, Golden Grain Energy. EORS owns an 18% stake in the SunSource BioEnergy partnership.

“Our technology is an innovative and unique approach. After considerable research, development and testing, we are pleased to contribute the technology to the SunSource BioEnergy industry partnership,” stated David Cantrell, chairman and founder of EORS.

For more information contact Jim Grainer, President and Chief Financial Officer of GreenShift Corporation, +1-973-398-8183.

Corn, Ethanol

Crop 1 PRP Subject of Senate Testimony This Week

Chuck Zimmerman

Crop 1 InsuranceIt looks like there’s a lot of pressure being put on congress as it relates to crop insurance this year. Crop 1 Insurance sent out a talking news release today with sound bites from their president’s testimony on capitol hill on Tuesday.

CROP1 INSURANCE SAVES FARMERS ESTIMATED $2.4 MILLION THIS YEAR
Premium Reduction Plan Benefits Small Farmers

Des Moines, Iowa — The Crop1 Insurance Premium Reduction Plan (PRP), targeted for elimination in the agriculture appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month, will save farmers an estimated $2.4 million in premiums this year and benefits many small farmers, according to new figures released by Crop1 Insurance in testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. Crop 1 Insurance president and CEO Billy Rose testified that the company has already saved farmers millions of dollars through the PRP.

“To kill PRP sends a simple message – insurance company profits and agents’ commission checks are more important than helping farmers save money. Since the inception and approval of our program, we have saved the American farmer, out of our pocket, over four million dollars – no cost to the American taxpayer.” (full release)

For more information contact Greg Ehm.

Audio, Talking News Release