Ag Law Meeting In KC, MO

Chuck Zimmerman

American Agricultural Law AssociatonI didn’t even know there was an American Agricultural Law Association until a notice about this conference was sent to me.

The 2005 Annual Agricultural Law Symposium will be held in Kansas City, MO at the Country Club Plaza Marriott, October 7 & 8. Registration information and program schedules:
MS Word
Registration forms:
PDF (the PDF form can be filled out on your computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0 or above)
MS Word

For more information contact Robert Achenbach, AALA Executive Director or by phone at (541) 485-1090 (Eugene, OR).


What Will Happen In Hong Kong

Chuck Zimmerman

World Trade OrganizationDon’t say it Supachai. We want to see something accomplished in Hong Kong. I’ve already been to one WTO Ministerial (Seattle) when nothing was accomplished. It just goes to show you how difficult it is and always will be to get hundreds of countries to agree on anything. The World Trade Organization is planning a conference later this year in Hong Kong and AgWired is hoping to cover it. Let’s just hope we have something to cover!

Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi called on ambassadors in an informal meeting on 8 July 2005 to immediately change gear in the trade negotiations, stressing that “progress is nowhere near sufficient in terms of our critical path to Hong Kong”. He said that there is still a “slender chance” of averting a crisis, “but every hour must be made to count”.


PMN Is 5 Years Old

Chuck Zimmerman

Plant Management NetworkThe Plant Management Network (PMN) is celebrating its first five years of online publication. To commemorate the occasion, PMN took a look back interviewing some of those involved when it began.

Started in July 2000 as a single journal, PMN now offers a full suite of applied science-based agricultural resources. Said Tim Murray, first Plant Health Progress journal editor-in-chief and Washington State University plant pathologist, “As one of the web’s first electronic-only publications, I remember that when we first went online people wondered if it would last. After five years, I think the answer is definitely ‘yes’. Not only is the journal now part of the permanent literature, it has evolved into a comprehensive network for applied agriculture.” He added, “People I talk with today can’t imagine not having this kind of hands-on information available electronically.”

Internet, Publication


Chuck Zimmerman

Biotechnology Industry OrganizationThe Biotechnology Industry Organization has a new board chairman and annouces its new board of directors. The organization started in 1993.

BIO Names Chairman, Board Members for 2005-2006

WASHINGTON, July 15 – James C. Mullen, president and CEO of Biogen Idec Inc., has been elected chairman of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Board of Directors. Mullen replaces Richard F. Pops, CEO of Alkermes Inc.

“Richard Pops guided BIO through two important years marked by the successful negotiation and passage of historic Medicare reform that includes prescription drug benefits for senior citizens,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “As Richard’s term successfully ends, I look forward to the next two years working with Jim Mullen.

For more information, including a list of the new board members, contact Debbie Strickland, +1-202-962-9200.

Ag Group, Agribusiness

Lamberton New To NAWG

Chuck Zimmerman

National Association of Wheat GrowersThere’s a new kid in town. Actually he’s not a new kid but he’s new to the National Association of Wheat Growers.

NAWG Hires Communications & Industry Relations Director

NAWG is pleased to announce that Lance Lamberton will join the organization’s staff on August 1 as Director of Communications and Industry Relations. In this post, he will be responsible for maintaining and cultivating relationships with news organizations and publications, communicating NAWG priority issues and managing special projects and relationships with NAWG industry partners.

Lamberton comes to NAWG with a long and distinguished career of communications experience and accomplishment. His career has included stints in the communications departments of Delta Air Lines, Lockheed Martin, Jersey Central Power & Light Company and Exxon Corporation. He also served as the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Policy Information under President Ronald Reagan.

For more information contact Lance.

Ag Group

New Podcasting Info

Chuck Zimmerman

PodcastingI thought you might be interested in some new information about podcasting. Although you can debate the current statistics and maybe you don’t want to download and listen to audio wherever and whenever you want, a lot of people are doing it and I think it’s a great public relations tool!

PodblazeTo start with there’s a great little white paper on podcasting from the folks at Podblaze. It’s titled “What You Don’t Know About Podcasting Could Hurt Your Business: How to Leverage & Benefit from this New Media Technology.”

You can download the paper here. “The purpose of this white paper is to educate readers about the potential marketing value of Podcasting, and how to leverage this new media technology for maximum benefit. This new media audio technology provides ample opportunity for businesses and individuals to leverage their subject matter knowledge and expertise to generate increased brand exposure, improved product awareness, increased sales and additional revenue opportunities.”

Podcasting NewsNext you can check out this post at Podcasting News In it you’ll find information from a report by The Diffusion Group. For example, “Demand for time-shifted digital audio files or podcasts is expected to grow from less than 15% of portable digital music player owners in 2004 to 75% by 2010, according to new forecasts from The Diffusion Group, a consumer technology research and marketing firm.”

Podcast Guide BookFinally, you might want to check out this book, “Podcasting: Do It Yourself Guide.” From the back cover, “It’s your show, and you can do what you want. Got something to tell the world? Want unlimited listening options? Podcasting makes it happen. It’s the hottest communication trend of the twenty-first century, and one of the first guys to jump on board is ready to get you started. Todd helps you choose software, subscribe to the best podcasts, produce one with equipment you already have, record and distribute your shows—even explore the geeky stuff. Whether you’re producing a podcast or listening to one, podcasting puts you in charge.”

So there you have it. Some new information and resources if you’re considering podcasting!


Obesity Warning Labels A Joke

Chuck Zimmerman

Food Products AssociationHere’s something I totally agree with. The whole idea that just by putting a label on foods we’ll somehow eliminate obesity is ludicrous. To start with don’t think obesity is some new problem in America. It’s just another scare story because the mainstream media has to find something to shock us with. No one ever talks about personal responsibility anymore. Let’s just blame the food companies and the people who grow food for the fact that we can’t stop eating.

Singling Out Individual Foods “Does Not Help Address Complex and Multi-faceted Nutrition Issues,” Say FPA – CSPI’s Call for Obesity Warning Labels is “A Bumper Sticker Approach to Nutrition Education”

(Washington, D.C.) – Commenting on calls by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for obesity warning labels and other measures targeted at soft drinks, Robert Earl, MPH, RD, Senior Director of Nutrition Policy for the Food Products Association (FPA), made the following remarks:

“Singling out individual foods or ingredients does not help address complex and multi-faceted nutrition issues, such as obesity. What helps consumers is balanced, science-based information on how to include a variety of foods to achieve balanced, healthful and enjoyable diets with adequate hydration, coupled with an appropriate level of physical activity – not attacks on products.

“In calling for unjustified obesity warning labels on non-diet soft drinks, CSPI is advocating a ‘bumper sticker’ approach to nutrition education. Consumers deserve better than that.

Ag Group

Farmer Mac Has New VP

Chuck Zimmerman

Farmer MacYou’ve heard of Farmer Mac, right? What does it stand for? The Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation of course.

Mary Waters Joins Farmer Mac as VP of Corporate Relations

WASHINGTON, July 14 – The Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac), the Congressionally chartered secondary market for agricultural real estate and rural housing mortgage loans, has announced that Mary Waters has joined the company as Vice President – Corporate Relations.

“I am delighted that Mary is joining Farmer Mac to lead our government relations and producer group outreach efforts as well as manage other important external corporate relationships,” said Farmer Mac CEO Henry D. Edelman. “Continuing developments at Farmer Mac have made it important for us to have an experienced professional managing these important corporate functions. Mary brings with her a tremendous amount of Washington experience working with Members of Congress and the agricultural community.”

Most recently, Ms. Waters served as Assistant Secretary, Congressional Relations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, having been nominated by President Bush in April 2001. At USDA, Ms. Waters led USDA’s interaction with Congress on successful passage of Administration priorities including the 2002 Farm Bill, Trade Promotion Authority, the Healthy Forests Act and the Child Nutrition Act.

For more information contact Jerome Oslick of Farmer Mac, +1-202-872-7700.

Agribusiness, Government

More Farm Bill Forums

Chuck Zimmerman

USDA Farm Bill ForumsYou may already know that the first USDA Farm Bill Forum is complete and that several more have been announced. This is very early in the process so it’ll be interesting to see how these go. The first one had about 400 people participate in Nashville, TN. You can download a Word doc transcript of the forum here.

Sec. of Ag Johanns“The interest in the next farm bill shown here today has exceeded my expectations,” Johanns said. “The thoughtful discourse on the direction of future farm policy is very encouraging and I look forward to the same caliber of discussion at future Farm Bill Forums as we continue our nationwide tour.”

The Secretary announced the following Farm Bill Forums:

July 26 – 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (CST) North Dakota State Fair – Minot, ND
Aug. 3 – 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Minnesota Farm Fest – Redwood County, MN
Aug. 4 – 11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. Wisconsin State Fair – West Allis, WI

The public is also welcome to submit comments via the USDA Farm Bill Forums website.


Do Blogs Create Net Rage?

Chuck Zimmerman

Catalyst Group DesignThrough a post on Mediapace I found a link to a study done by Catalyst Group Design titled “Net Rage” A Study of Blogs and Usability At first it sounded like a pretty good document and I suppose you can gain some insight from their study and findings. However, it says they did this study using 9 people. I’m familiar with doing research on small groups of participants but not this small. I wonder what the study would have concluded if they’d used a group of at least 50 or 60 participants.

With this small sample size they came to this conclusion:

Even assuming mainstream interest, current blog design standards – at least in terms of navigation, nomenclature and taxonomy – are a barrier to consumer acceptance. In fact, the design of most blogs can incite “net rage” (in the words of one test participant).

I think this is a stretch but if you read the full document there are some conclusions that I can understand and am not surprised at. For example, “Not a single participant understood the function or significance of trackbacks or trackback pings.” I can relate to that. I’m not sure I even understand trackback eventhough I have this feature enabled on AgWired and use it.

I’m finding that most people can search for and surf around a website, even a blog. They don’t seem to know when they’re on a blog or even particularly care. I don’t care if they know AgWired is a blog as long as they visit and use the RSS site feed to subscribe. I have been somewhat amazed to learn how little people do know about using the internet, especially people in professional marketing positions.

We just need to keep our audience in mind when we create a website, any website, including a blog. It looks like Catalyst Design Group has been very successful in creating websites since they’ve done work for some big companies. Not only do they have their own website but you can find their blog here.

If you have a chance to read the full study let me know what you think. By the way, that link at the bottom of this article that says “Comment/Trackback” is what you click on to write your own online comment to this article! Just in case you didn’t know.