MyPyramid Lacking In “Buzz”

Chuck Zimmerman

USDA MyPyramidWhat’s the buzz about the USDA Food Guide Pyramid? Not much according to a recent report by BuzzMetrics, the word of mouth advertising measuring and tracking people. In fact they characterize it as “indifferent.”

According to BuzzMetrics, the leader in word of mouth research, the share of online conversation about MyPyramid among the 500 most influential food and nutrition enthusiasts increased from 6 percent to 10 percent between the first and second quarters of 2005. However, that is down from 12 percent in the second quarter of 2004, when the USDA was still actively soliciting public and expert input while developing the guide. BuzzMetrics continuously tracks the conversations, opinions and recommendations of these influentials across over 100 online nutrition forums, community message boards, health Web sites and blogs.

This is despite intense launch publicity. Many organizations have been creating communications strategies centered around the new food guideline campaign. BuzzMetrics senior analyst, Alison Kalis suggest they may want to move their focus elsewhere.

“While there was much industry anticipation and media hype, the data suggest MyPyramid’s impact as a trend-setting diet force is minimal and lacking in credibility,” said Alison Kalis, senior analyst, BuzzMetrics says, “Some food companies might benefit by positioning themselves around MyPyramid, but the reality is that the new food guide is barely a blip on the public conscience, and companies would benefit by directing their attention to other more influential and polarizing issues.”

By the way, BuzzMetrics announced today that they are being acquired by Trendum with strategic backing from VNU, owner of such renowned research brands as ACNielsen and Nielsen Media Research.


Taiwanese Goodwill

Chuck Zimmerman

CornTalk podcastCornTalk, a weekly program for the Missouri Corn Growers Association, features an interview with a familiar voice to Missouri corn growers! Fred Stemme, the current vice president of marketing for the National Corn Growers Association and former director of communications for MCGA, discusses last week’s visit by the Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission. The mission toured the United States following the signing of the Sept. 14, intent-to-trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan. Included in this high-profile tour was a stop in Missouri. Fred provides details of the event and also highlights the important role that this longstanding and important trading partner plays in the U.S. corn economy.

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

CornTalk is a weekly AgWired podcast which you can subscribe to using the link in our sidebar.

Ag Group, Audio, Corn, CornTalk, Podcasts

EPIC Growth & Plans

Chuck Zimmerman

ZimmCast35 - Tom SluneckaIn just a few short months the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) has really put together some fantastic projects to promote ethanol as an excellent renewable energy fuel source. The organization has grown in membership and boasts significant backing for its future. Plans are being made now for 2006 and we look forward to what they have in mind. To find out more I interviewed EPIC Executive Director, Tom Slunecka for this week’s ZimmCast. Tom talks about the organization, some of their research and ways they are continuing to promote ethanol to the public.

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

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired which you can subscribe to using the link in our sidebar.

Ag Group, Audio, Ethanol, Podcasts, ZimmCast

Propane, Running All Around My Brain

Chuck Zimmerman

PropaneThe folks at PERC (Propane Education & Research Council) have teamed up with to offer growers a tool to compare energy costs. The release says has about 250,000 visitors per month. That’s a lot for any website much less one targeting agriculture. AgWired’s getting there but we’re not that high. So what about all those growers who want to use this tool but don’t or can’t get online? They can order the ag cost estimator in a printed format by contacting PERC at (866) 840-1075 and requesting item #PRC001020!

The purpose of the Agriculture Cost Estimator is to allow growers the opportunity to see the estimated difference in the cost of using propane compared to other energy sources,” said PERC Director of Agriculture Programs Mark Leitman. “Specifically, the cost estimator shows the differences in two common applications for propane: irrigation and grain drying.”

If you really want to know about how important propane is to the farm use the link from this post I really like at

Ag Group

Siemen Says

Chuck Zimmerman

Harry SiemensAll right. He’s earned a post. He’s Harry Siemens and he’s been sending me his newsletter, FarmWatch, and he’s got a lof of good news in it.

Harry is currently consulting, speaking, holding training seminars, broadcasting, and writing for publications such as Manitoba Cooperator, Grainews, Prairie Hog Country, Western Dairy Farmer and AgriPost – as well as his own e-newsletter FarmWatch.

Harry can be reached at: tel: 204.325.5143,, 134 Redwood Dr., Winkler, MB R6W2A2


Meat Me In Brisbane

Chuck Zimmerman

World Meat CongressWho wants to sponsor me to cover the 2006 World Meat Congress? Huh? Huh? This sounds like my kind of convention. That’s what “congress” means in other countries, “convention.” How about breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner and it’s all meat!!! That would be my kind of menu for a convention. No need to have carrots, celery sticks, etc. Just a bunch of meat on a stick. Of course you need something cold to wash it down and for my money I’d make it a XXXX or a Fosters.

The Congress, being held in Brisbane, Australia, April 26-29, 2006, is expected to attract over 500 of the world’s most influential players in the global beef, lamb and pork industries. Chairman of the 2006 World Meat Congress, Mark Spurr said the event will focus on global trends, innovations and issues affecting the world’s meat industries. “This is the biggest and most important meat industry event on the calendar. It is where the key decision makers gather in the one place at the one time to discuss the current and future issues facing the world’s meat industries,” Mr. Spurr said. “The key themes of the 2006 World Meat Congress will be focused on the consumer, the community, supply and trade policy, and we will be attracting the world’s leading experts to address the Congress on these topics.”

Ag Group

Argentine/Peru Ranches Tour

Chuck Zimmerman

National Cattlemen's Beef AssociationYeah, right. Uh, we’re going to go to Peru to check out the uh, ranches. “Honey, it will help enrich our understanding of global agriculture and maybe we can learn some new techniques to apply here on our ranch.”

I can just hear it now. Actually I’d love to go on this trip. Who wouldn’t? How did the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association decide on this trip? You know there’s a lot of grass fed beef down there. Me. I really like mine corn fed in the midwest!

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Tour of the Year is set for November 13 through 22. “The Best of Argentina and Peru” will feature visits to some of South America’s greatest historic sites and tourist attractions, as well as great educational opportunities to view the workings of the region’s cattle industry.

While in Argentina, the group will receive a full tour of Buenos Aires, as well as lunch at one the city’s finest steakhouses. They will also visit a private cattle ranch and cattle auction, as well as a professional polo ranch – including polo lessons and a polo tournament.

In Peru, highlights include a visit to Cusco, capital of the ancient Incan Empire, and a guided tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This will be followed by a full-day excursion to Machu Picchu, the magnificent “Lost City of the Incas” located in the highest reaches of the eastern Andes Mountains.

The trip will conclude with a visit to a pre-Columbian temple, lunch at a historic Peruvian ranch, and a chance to experience the El Paso horse exhibition.

For reservations, contact Global Travel at 800-722-9017.

Ag Group, Beef

Normally I Love Microsoft

Chuck Zimmerman

Please excuse the fact that I didn’t post more today. At about 12:30pm I noticed a serious Microsoft Word issue on my desktop computer that is completely baffling. It’s now 6 hours later. I’ve spent over 2 of those on the phone with 4 different Microsoft technicians who waver between a software update problem and that it’s not their problem. Unbelievable! If you’re using Microsoft Office I wouldn’t recommend updating with the latest Microsoft Word Security update like I did this morning. One of the techs admitted that that update might have caused this problem. Might? *&$^#)*%&

We even removed Microsoft Office and I re-installed it from CD. No change. Who knows what’s wrong or when it will get resolved.


Thank you for letting me rant for a moment.


Listen To The Expo Marketing Manager

Chuck Zimmerman

Chuck & Lisa BehnkeHow’d you like to be responsible for all the media and marketing for a farm show that attracts about 65,000 people? We’re talking international reporters and visitors. Well in the case of World Dairy Expo it’s all the work of Lisa Behnke, Marketing Manager (pictured to the right of yours truly). She’s hard at work now getting ready for all the media representatives who will be covering Expo. Of course she also does other things and I think you’ll be able to tell from my interview with her that she’s proud of World Dairy Expo and committed to making it even better.

You’ll be reading a lot about World Dairy Expo in the next couple weeks as I blog the event. You can also follow it on our sister site, World Dairy Diary!

You can listen to my interview with Lisa here: Download MP3 File (MP3 File 5MB)

Audio, Farm Shows, General, World Dairy Expo