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.


Biofuels Symposium In China

Chuck Zimmerman

World Biofuels SymposiumThey managed a great conference on ethanol recently in Kansas City. Now it’s time for a broader conference in China. They are BBI International. I just wish it didn’t conflict with deer season in Missouri!


Exciting new energy legislation, that includes biofuels provisions, will become law in China in January 2006. This Symposium will address China’s need to meet the anticipated demand from the new legislation and the latest information about biofuels production and use.

Keynote Speaker: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Chair, U.S. Governors’ Ethanol Coalition

China’s energy situation
Biofuels: New production technologies
Market development
Research & development
Environment & air quality
Government policy & energy strategies

For more information visit their website at World Biofuels Symposium.


Bunge Invests In China

Chuck Zimmerman

BungeJust as our Sec. of Ag departed on his trip to China, Bunge announced their plans to grow into the country. Looks like trade will be picking up with this huge new market area.

Bunge Agrees to Purchase Soybean Processing Plant in China

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., — Bunge Limited (NYSE:BG) today announced that it has agreed to purchase a controlling interest in an integrated soybean crushing and refining plant in the port city of Rizhao, Shandong Province, China, from Sanwei Group Ltd. The plant, Bunge’s first in the country, will link Bunge directly to customers in the expanding soybean meal and oil markets in the Shandong region. Sanwei will retain a minority interest in the newly created joint venture company.

For more information contact Stewart Lindsay.


Back In The Blogosphere

Chuck Zimmerman

Ave Maria UniversityI’m back. After 9 days, 5 of them driving. I thought I could get more posted while on this trip but it just didn’t work out that way. It was a family thing and spending time shooting fireworks with my nephews & nieces in Georgia or at a reception with in-laws in Florida was just more important. The main reason for the trip was to move my oldest daughter to south Florida. She’ll finish her college career at Ave Maria University in Naples. It’s a pretty cool place. They’re in a temporary campus while they build a new college and town nearby. Very amazing place.

So, it’s back to the blogosphere for me. I’m sure I’ll find something to post out of the several hundred emails I’ve saved over the last week!

General, Personal

Sec. of Ag In China & Africa

Chuck Zimmerman

Mike Johannes In ChinaI thought my 3,000 plus miles in the last 9 days was a lot of travel but our Sec. of Ag Mike Johannes is doing much more. He’s travelling in China and Africa July 9-21 for multilateral and bilateral meetings on agricultural trade and development. Although it doesn’t have frequent postings he is writing a travelogue of sorts. I kind of think a blog would be a better way to do it but then what do I know? Here’s an excerpt from his latest post.

Monday, July 11, 2005 Posted 2:00 AM BEIJING, CHINA

I’ve been to China a number of times over the past several years. Each time I return I see significant changes. First of all, China’s economy is expanding rapidly. The pace of development is tremendous; that’s especially true in the larger cities. This is an economy to be reckoned with. It is certainly not an economy to turn away from — China is simply too good a market for our agriculture products.

It is important that I travel internationally to raise important issues with our international counterparts. One reason I am in Beijing is to work through some issues related to our ability to export beef into the Chinese market. We had a significant breakthrough. The Chinese agreed to send a technical team that will be in the U.S. this October. That is a very positive development. Full post


Changes To MBIC Website On This Week’s MBIC Report

Chuck Zimmerman

Missouri Beef Industry CouncilIn this week’s MBIC Report, executive director Steve Taylor, discusses changes being made in the organization’s website to make it more user friendly and to add to the amount of content available.

You can listen to the MBIC Report here Download MP3 File

The MBIC Report is a weekly podcast of AgWired which you can subscribe to using the link in our sidebar.

Ag Group, Audio, MBIC, MBIC Report, Podcasts

European Trip Discussed On CornTalk

Chuck Zimmerman

Missouri Corn Growers AssociationMCGA CEO Gary Marshall just returned from his second trip to Switzerland in the last couple months. While there he met with the folks at Syngenta’s headquarters office. He also stopped in France to meet with French corn growers. Learn about his trip in this week’s CornTalk program.

You can listen to CornTalk here Download MP File

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

Ag Group, Audio, CornTalk, MCGA, Podcasts

Distinguished Young Holstein Breeders

Chuck Zimmerman

Holstein Association USAButtles Named Holstein Association 2004 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeders

BRATTLEBORO, Vt., June 28, 2005- Andrew and Lynette Buttles, Lancaster, Wis., have been selected as the 2004 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeders by Holstein Association USA. They were honored at the National Holstein Convention in Portland, Maine on Tuesday, June 28.

Distinguished Young Holstein BreedersAndy and Lyn have both been involved in the dairy industry for many years. Andy graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science. Lyn grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania and earned her bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science from Penn State and has her master’s degree in Dairy Nutrition from University of Wisconsin – Madison.

For more information contact Lisa Perrin.

Ag Group

1.4 Minutes To Select Your Pork

Chuck Zimmerman

National Pork BoardI know I’m not your average consumer and this information is about those folks. I see a package of pork I want and I just grab it! Not too much thinking goes into my decisions.

DES MOINES, Iowa (July 2005) – In an effort to help retailers merchandise and move more fresh and processed pork, the National Pork Board is determined to find out one thing: What motivates consumers to purchase pork? The Point of Decision 2 (POD2) research conducted by the National Pork Board recently was geared to find out just that, and much more.

A major finding from the POD2 research is that consumers spend 1.4 minutes on average making a pork purchase. Pork purchases were primarily determined by cut of meat and cooking method. Seventy-nine percent of consumers purchasing pork inspected multiple packages and 77 percent spent time reading package information.

For more information contact Cindy Cunningham.

Ag Group, General, Pork