Nebraska Farm Bureau Should Podcast

Chuck Zimmerman

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is about to kick off its annual convention in Kearney. I bring this up because we have such good friends there and I don’t get a chance to write about state groups as often as I’d like. However, I want to use NEFB as an example of a group that I recommend start podcasting.

I know you’re saying “Not podcasting again.” But when you’re an evangelist you never give up on what you believe in.

I recommend podcasting to organizations like NEFB because they’re already producing their own audio. For example, you can listen to Tina Henderson’s first convention report which is available as an audio download from their website. It wouldn’t be much trouble to podcast that. Producing and hosting the audio is the hard part. By podcasting it members don’t have to be at their computer to listen. They can subscribe and if they have an iPod or other digital audio player, they can listen wherever they want. They’ll also get updates without even having to go back to the website.

So in a soon to be memorial line “Gentlemen & Ladies, start your iPods.” It’s farm podcasting and coming to a farmer’s iPod near you.

Oh, and Tina, you sound marvelous.

Ag Group, Audio, Podcasts

Honey, I Grew Up On A Farm

Chuck Zimmerman

I Grew Up On A FarmJust in time for the Christmas season is another gift idea with a farm theme. This time it’s a children’s book, “I Grew Up On A Farm.” The book is written by Alan Lewis.

Believing he had a story that needed to be told, Alan Lewis decided to write a children’s book about his childhood growing up on a farm. With the ever-increasing numbers of houses being built in place of the farms that used to fill the landscape, Lewis felt something of that past way of life – the life of the American farmer – needed to be preserved for future generations. Lewis wrote the text and artist Bob Fletcher took Alan’s black and white family photos and expanded them into full-color pastel illustrations. I Grew Up On A Farm, the result of this collaboration, is being published by Moo Press of Warwick, NY.

You can purchase the book from Moo Press (Keene Publishing) for $19.95.


Ag Lobbyists See Power of Blogging

Chuck Zimmerman

Cansler, Venosdel and Associates, LLCOkay these guys got my attention. Yes they have specific agricultural experience but hey, they blog! They’re Cansler, Venosdel & Associates.

Cansler, Venosdel and Associates, LLC, a lobbying and consulting firm announced its formation this week in Washington D.C. The two principal partners are Paul Venosdel and Tim Cansler.

Here’s how they are employing new technology strategy into their own communication efforts: “So, we begin by focusing on combining individual client service with using the latest technology (virtual conferencing, blogs, and hand-held email) that produce instant communications and low overhead costs that, in turn, provides more valuable and measurable results for clients.”

These are lobbyists talking here. How about companies that want to communicate with their clients (farmers)? This is what got my attention. BTW. These guys specialize in ag.


Top Ten New Products At World Ag Expo

Chuck Zimmerman

World Ag ExpoMost trade shows or farm shows are meant to showcase “what’s new.” I’m on the committee for a trade show and this has come up often in our discussions. That’s why I think it’s interesting that World Ag Expo has for the second year picked the top new products that will be displayed at the show. How’d you like to be on the judging for that?

1) Basic Industries, Pixley, Ca.; G Street 10: “Yard Dog” Self-Propelled Lube System.” Instead of taking your equipment to the shop, take the shop to your equipment. Hydrostatically driven, the Yard Dog comes with a 45-gallon waste oil tank. Basic Industries is a Top-10 New Products winner two years in a row.
2) Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co., Woodinville, Wash.; A Street 19: CP Quiet Rotary Screw Air Compressor designed for 100 percent continuous duty 24 hours a day. Low energy consumption; available in 3-15 HP with no wearing parts.
3) SSI Energy, LLC, Sausalito, Ca.; Pavilion C 3606, 3607: BioPro 190 Biodiesel Fuel Processor. Industrial grade biodiesel automatic fuel processor uses fresh or used vegetable and animal-based oils then returns back 100 percent biodiesel.
4) John Deere Company, Reno, Nev.; North & O Streets : JDLink Machine Messenger allows user to keep tabs on each tractor in the fleet with this wireless communication and information system for John Deere tractors.
5) Lechler, Inc., St. Charles, Ill.; Pavilion B 2519 : Electronic Tank Level Indicator measures the liquid level of any size tank. The programmable microprocessor will adapt to any manufacturer’s tank. Can read results from the cab.
6) Leister / Assembly Supplies, Co., Escondido, Calif.; Pavilion A 1300: Fusion Extruder. Compact hand-held plastic welding tool. Ideal for punctures, cracks or voids in any PP/PE plastic equipment such as poly tanks. Portable.
7) OXBO International Corporation – Vineyard & Berry Products, Lynden, Wash.; N Street 19, 21: Korvan 4012 Multi-Function Power Unit features an all-wheel drive system with John Deere engine; fuel tank at low center of gravity. Performs well in California’s most extreme hillsides. Picking system and 12-inch bucket conveyance allows for cleaner, whole fruit.
8) Parkson Corporation, Vernon Hills, Ill.; Dairy Center 6239: Parkson Sand Saver recovers bedding sand from sand ladened dairy manure (SLDM) and produces a clean, dry, odorless sand ready to be reused.
9) Spectrum Technologies, Plainfield, Ill.; Pavilion B 2130, 2131: IPM Scope Digital IPM Camera. Aids in identifying and tracking plant pest and disease pressures; captures and magnifies images or video 40X to 10X. Images can be uploaded and emailed for identification.
10) Towing Products / Convert-a-Ball, Sidney, Neb.; B Street 9 : Kwik Gate, designed for full-sized pick-up trucks, the back panel flips down to be used as a step or flips up to haul lumber and other material too long for the bed. Easily installed. Many uses including construction.

Farm Shows

Farm Credit of Missouri Re-Branding With Osborn & Barr

Chuck Zimmerman

Farm Credit of MissouriFarm Credit Services of Missouri has named Osborn & Barr agency of record to re-brand the organization.

The assignment will include rebranding the 90-year-old rural lender. The image will expand and embody all present-day FCS customers in the areas of rural lifestyle living and capital markets, as well as production agriculture. At the same time, it will maintain pride in its agricultural roots. “We especially want to open our appeal to those moving to the country for lifestyle reasons,” explains Daryl Oldvader, chief executive officer, Farm Credit Services of Missouri. “Buying land or homes in the country is different from buying or building a home in the city. We understand those differences and have the experience to help people make the adjustment. We want our brand to say, ‘Come to us, we know the neighborhood and would be glad to show you around.”

The project will include market research, strategic insight, branding exercises and design.

Agency, Agribusiness

Make Sure Your Daddy Is Angus

Chuck Zimmerman

ViaGenNational animal id has come a long way very quickly. DNA testing is certainly a part of this whole process. Now ViaGen has received USDA approval of it’s DNA verified beef program.

Today they held a press conference to discuss the program. You can listen to the first 8 minutes of the press conference here.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved ViaGen’s groundbreaking DNA verified beef program. The new program trademarked AnguSure™, uses genetic testing to verify the genetic heritage of animals sold as “Angus.” Cattle with a high percentage of Angus have been shown to reliably produce the quality beef required by many premium brands. The program is supplemental to existing requirements for all USDA-certified Angus programs.

Other than a registered pedigree, a DNA test is the only way to confirm genetic heritage. AnguSure utilizes ViaGen’s patented genetic breed identification technology to quantify the amount of Angus genetics in any cattle DNA sample. The tested animal is compared to more than 275 registered Angus bulls, which have collectively sired more than 100,000 calves in the last decade.


Put Your News Release In Front of the Farmer

Chuck Zimmerman

QuickfarmJust a couple weeks ago we announced, your national ag news distribution service. We’ve definitely opened some eyes and created the very excitement that we hoped we would.

Starting next Monday, December 5, the newest, most unique element of will be officially available and we’ve already got releases scheduled and ready to send. I’m talking about the Quickfarm Network. This is a network of websites that Quickfarm has built and maintains for farmer cooperatives across the United States. There are about 2,000 cooperative locations involved. Our exclusive agreement with Quickfarm allows your news release to be posted in the home page content that Quickfarm supplies to those cooperative websites. That means your message goes directly to the farmer. Show me a news release distribution service that can guarantee you that! You can see a map that shows the locations of the cooperatives involved in the Quickfarm Network here.

Additionally, your release is posted to the website. We’re going to be working to encourage ag journalists from around the world to subscribe to and receive all releases posted their via the RSS feed. Gotta love RSS don’t you? You can find out more about the distribution points here.

We’ve got a lot of plans for the development of It will grow out of your support whether you’re a journalist, communications director or public relations professional. Our rates are very reasonable and include the distribution of both traditional text only releases, Talking News Releases and even video and other images. You can see our rate structure here.

I will be on the road presenting around the country starting today in St. Louis. If you’d like to have a personal presentation about our new service or other ZimmComm services (blogging and podcasting), please give me a call or send me an email. Chances are I’ll be in your area or at a meeting with you over the next several months.

Public Relations

Trucking The Bio Highway

Chuck Zimmerman

BioTruckerHey all you 18 wheeler drivers. Now there’s a earth friendly website for you. It’s the United Soybean Board funded which I guess is produced by the National Biodiesel Board.

This holiday season, thousands of gifts ship over the road in big rigs running on biodiesel. Recently, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) announced endorsement of a 5 percent blend of biodiesel known commonly as B5 as part of the trucking industry’s move toward cleaner, renewable fuel. The soybean checkoff-funded National Biodiesel Board (NBB) launched to provide access to encourage further biodiesel use in the trucking industry. Additional support for the increased use of B5 biodiesel is evident because most major diesel engine manufacturers including Detroit Diesel, Caterpillar and Cummins, have stated that B5 can be used in their diesel engines as long as the B5 blend meets the American Society for Testing and Materials D-6751 biodiesel standard. NBB estimates biodiesel production for 2005 to reach 75 million gallons, 50 million gallons more than last year.

There’s a video that automatically plays on the homepage if you leave it up that I thought was well done and amusing. Amusing because it has National Biodiesel Board Exec. Dir., Joe Jobe in it and the announcer formally calls him Joseph Jobe. It doesn’t take much to make me smile I guess.

Anyway, this is an interesting site. There’s links to other sites that truckers should be interested in and “user forums.” I think the user forum idea is a good one and kind of wish they were on more websites. Sometimes they’re the only place I can find stuff I want on a website where the company doesn’t readily provide the information I’m looking for.

Ag Group

Yonder In The Pawpaw Patch

Chuck Zimmerman

KSU Picture - Pawpaw FruitHow many of you know about the Pawpaw? It’s a native American fruit. I can’t say I’ve had any experience with it. Apparently there are efforts to bring it “back.” I don’t know from where but after reading about it I’d sure like to try some.

There’s a story in USA Today titled “There’s one flaw in the pawpaw.” I guess it’s a fruit that doesn’t transport well.

You can learn a lot about the Pawpaw at Kentucky State University’s Pawpaw Information website. It claims to have the only full time pawpaw research program. It’s also the home to the Pawpaw Foundation. And in case you never sang the Pawpaw patch song you can see and hear it online.

Audio, Farming, University

Rural Internet Loan Situation

Chuck Zimmerman

Speaking of New York. There’s an interesting story in the New York Times (requires free registration) about rural wireless internet access titled “Money Is There to Aid Rural Internet, but Loans Are Hard to Get.” I’ve reported before on the USDA Rural Development program that provides loans to companies that want to install and bring more broadband access to rural Americans (farmers). This article quotes some folks who aren’t happy with the pace at which USDA is granting the loans, the requirements for getting a loan and with the amount of money they’ve given away so far.

However, it does quote representatives of USDA and companies that have benefited from the program. It appears to me that USDA is doing the best it can and is just trying to be careful with the money they have. Let’s face it. Whenever you depend on the government to do it for you you’re probably going to be disappointed and frustrated anyway.

The complainers aren’t happy at the loan applications that have been denied and that some traditional large companies have received the loans. I think this statement makes it pretty clear why USDA is being so careful and deliberate. “None of its telephone company borrowers have ever defaulted on a loan, though $30.4 million in loans for high-speed Internet access, or broadband, are in default now.”

We certainly need broadband out in the countryside but it’s getting there quickly. A couple that moved into rural Iowa and now can’t get broadband is the subject of the article. They claim to be in a dead space for the wireless access that’s closest to them. However, the article quotes a QWest representative as saying (the company is) “expected to have broadband in all Iowa telephone exchanges by the end of 2006.” I guess that they’ll just have to be patient for a little while longer.

This whole government loan program is part of President Bush’s initiative to have broadband access to all homes in America by the end of 2007. Keep that in mind as you plan your communications programs over the next 2 years!

Thanks to my good buddy Steve Mays for the heads up on this one.

Government, Internet