Fruitcakes Can Mean Cash

Chuck Zimmerman

Oregon LotteryThanks to my good friend Adam Finley (AdJab), someone who I’ve never met, spoken with or written to, you can hear some strange songs about fruitcake. This is agricultural in a very twisted sort of way. At least it’s in the holiday spirit.

Actually it’s the Oregon Lottery promoting a new scratch-off game called Fruitcake Cash. The songs are jingles used in their advertising. Of course it has it’s own website. You can listen to the music from links on the site.


Are You Customer Focused? – The Truth Revealed

Chuck Zimmerman

NAMAIn case you didn’t make it to the National Agri-Marketing Association’s Agribusiness Forum, you can still participate in an online version of one of the sessions: “Are You Customer Focused? – The Truth Revealed!” The session will be done as a webinar.

Dr. Gene Brown, professor of marketing in the Henry W. Block School of Business, at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC), conducted original research among the members of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), to gauge the degree of customer focus in their companies. The findings of his research were presented during the 2005 Agribusiness Forum, November 8-9 in Kansas City. This web-based seminar (Webinar) will provide an opportunity to hear the results of this research and to learn how to determine if your company is truly customer focused.

Cost for the webinar is $35 for individual registrations. To participate in the Webinar, you need to have access to a telephone and a computer. Once you are registered for the webinar, you will receive an e-mail with the phone conference information and web link to log in. To register visit,

For more information visit,


Farm Podcasting To Your Customers & Members

Chuck Zimmerman

Are you still skeptical about the whole podcasting thing we’ve been championing since early this year? Let’s see how skeptical you may be after some new information.

For example, the Apple Ipod is probably the most well know brand and last I saw over 28 million of them have been sold. But that doesn’t take into consideration all the other brands out there that have been aggressively competing with them or the fact that most pda’s and even some mobile phones now allow you to download audio to them.

How about a recent survey by Bridge Ratings: The study estimates that 4.8 million persons have at some time during 2005 downloaded a podcast from either a radio station or other source. iTunes was referrenced as the most often accessed portal for podcast downloads. This 4.8 million estimate is up from 820,000 podcast users in 2004. . . . By 2010 podcast audience growth is expected to reach a conservative 45 million users who will have ever listened to a podcast. Aggressive estimates place this number closer to 75 million by this date.

Do you read the Sunday newspaper? Did you see this week’s Parade Magazine? If not, you can find the archive when they post it on November 28. In this week’s edition they have an article titled “Now, Hear This.” The subtitle says “Podcasting may change the way you think about radio.” They quote the “Podfather,” Adam Curry, former MTV VJ, “Podcasting is not appointment-based listening. It’s there for you when you want it.” That’s one of the keys to this whole podcasting thing.

Okay, but what about farmers? Are you one of those people who for some reason can’t accept the fact that farmers aren’t much different than the general public? Do you think they don’t know how to use computers or that they don’t have anything but slow dialup? Get with the program folks! Here’s a farmer comment from a loyal AgWired fan and ZimmCast (my podcast) subscriber: “The only thing better than Sirius, is listening to the Zimmcast and other farm commentary podcasts on my Ipaq. Farmers spending so many hours on the tractors should be jumping on the Ipod bandwagon in a big way. Especially in Canada now that the NHL is back! Keep up the great work.”

Ag companies and ag groups are finding out that they can create their own programming and target a very niche audience of customers and members with it. How about you? Need some help getting started? Need someone to produce your programming because you don’t have time? Give us a call, eh?

Podcasts, ZimmCast

New Holland Teams Up With Michael Peterson

Chuck Zimmerman

ZimmCast43 - Michael PetersonMeet Michael Peterson, country music star, who is about to release a new album that I am sure is going to be a huge hit. The only place you’ll be able to buy one will be your local New Holland dealer. It’s expected out right after the first of the year. Michael was at the recent NAFB Convention. He was a big hit with folks there.

You can listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: Download MP3 File

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired which you can subscribe to using the link in our sidebar. You can also now find the ZimmCast on CoolCast Radio.

Agribusiness, Audio, Podcasts, ZimmCast

Diouf Re-elected As DG For FAO

Chuck Zimmerman

FAOThe FAO just re-elected Jacques Diouf. If you need help pronouncing that give me a call.

Dr Jacques Diouf of Senegal was re-elected to a third six-year term as Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today. He received a total of 137 votes out of 165 votes cast and was the only candidate nominated by the Organization’s 189 members. An intergovernmental organization, FAO has 188 member countries plus one member organization, the European Community.


Pork Board Budget Approved

Chuck Zimmerman

National Pork BoardThe National Pork Board has finalized its new budget. They’ve got an aggressive plan to spend just under $50 million. This means the continuation of pork racing and the approval of all state budgets. Producer approval is high too according to their annual survey: the survey showed that producer support of the Pork Checkoff and the programs the Checkoff supports is now 71 percent in favor and 19 percent opposed. In 2004, the support level was 61 percent in favor and 26 percent opposed.

That’s nothing to be blah about!

Ag Group, Pork

Avian Flu: It’s Not In Your Food

Chuck Zimmerman

I don’t know about you but I’m getting a little tired of all the avian flu news. I was at a church dinner recently and overheard an elderly couple discussing it. The man was explaining what a pandemic is and how many people in the United States would die if “it” gets here.

Maybe you’re wondering about it too. If so, you might want to visit It’s a simple website designed for one purpose – to provide facts about avian flu. The home page title says it all: “Avian Influenza: It’s not in your food.” BTW. I like simple websites. Why can’t they all be that way?

It looks like the site was put together by the “poultry industry,” meaning The National Chicken Council, The National Turkey Federation and The Egg Safety Center. Their main focus is on the fact that this isn’t a food safety issue but a health issue. That’s why we should feel very safe eating our turkey next week here in the United States.

It seems like the media wants to speculate on the pandemic potential without a care about facts and a look at history. It’s a real disservice to their audience. Although avian flu is very real and has been the cause of millions of birds being killed in Asia and about 116 people actually contracting the disease from their close contact with infected animals I just don’t see why we should be scared to death of it. At least not until it starts moving human to human for example. This hasn’t happened. Maybe it never will.

I feel better now. Looking forward to cooking a bird next week.

Ag Group

NAFB Changes Name

Chuck Zimmerman

National Association of Farm BroadcastersFarm broadcasters were busy last week at their convention. NAFB, Executive Director, Bill O’Neill just sent out a report that announces a new name for the organization. It’s now the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. This was done he says to better represent the “full inclusion of agribusinesses, marketing and communications agencies, farm organizations, and all “allied” providers who are integral to the business and marketplace of farm and rural lifestyle broadcasting.”

I’m interested to know how they define “broadcasting.” That word has traditionally meant over-the-air transmission of audio and video. How about those who only provide over the internet programming? Or how about those who also write for a print publication? The lines are certainly blurring!

Bill also announced “Your new NAFB Board representatives for 2006 are Chairperson Fred Stemme of the National Corn Growers Association, and Vice Chair Hugh Whaley of Osborn & Barr Communications. ” This is for the Allied Industry Council. He thanked Lyle Orwig for his 3 years of service.

Barry Nelson of John Deere’s Ag Division, Lenexa, Kan., was recognized for his dedicated support and leadership with the NAFB Meritorious Service Award. Lynn Ketelsen of Linder Farm Network, Owatonna, Minn., received the prestigious Farm Broadcaster of the Year honor.

Finally, the 2006 NAFB Convention is November 15-17, for the 34th year at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City.