WOTUS Subject of Senate Ag Panel

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The proposed ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) rule was the topic of the day for the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday, led by Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) who is concerned about the impact of the regulation on numerous industries.

“I find it particularly troubling that despite the unanimous outcry from a broad coalition of stakeholders and industries that have voiced concern about the manner and process by which EPA advanced this proposed rule, EPA continues to plunge ahead,” Chairman Roberts said.

metzgerAmong the witnesses who testified at the hearing was Kansas Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Susan Metzger who noted that “the distraction and diversion brought forth by this rule will incur additional expenditures at the state level for marginal environmental benefit and diminished success in water quality improvement in Kansas.”

“The inevitable slow-down in permit reviews and increase in bureaucratic paperwork will unnecessarily delay and deter economic growth and impede the adoption of soil and water conservation practices by the farmers and ranchers of Kansas,” added Metzger.

metzNebraska farmer Jeff Metz told the panel that the rule would do little to protect the environment, but would cost him time and money and possibly prevent him from using his own land.

“I have seasonal draws, valleys and canyons as well as ponds and other natural depressions on my land that will at times fill or flow with water during precipitation events. Many rarely, if ever, have flow that reaches a flowing stream,” said Metz. “This rule could require that I obtain a federal permit in order to plow, apply crop protection products, graze cattle or even build a fence in or around these areas.”

pepplerRocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) president Kent Peppler said they wanted to work with EPA to make the rule better. “Our understanding of the process compelled us to stress the advantages of the new rule and present EPA with instructions on how to make the rule work for family farmers rather than resist the process entirely,” said Peppler, who submitted written testimony detailing what they believe could be improved.

Peppler calls the “inflammatory rhetoric” surrounding the WOTUS rule “counterproductive” and added that RMFU “does not view the proposed rule, as some groups do, as a greedy grab for power or land.”

EPA, Government

Growers Sought for Sorghum Checkoff Board

John Davis Leave a Comment

sorghum-checkoffThe United Sorghum Checkoff Program Board will have four positions become vacant at the end of this year, including two positions from Kansas and the other two from an at-large seat and the other a Texas sorghum grower.

As organizations in Kansas certified to nominate producers to serve on the Board, the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission, Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association and Kansas Farm Bureau, collectively, are searching for sorghum producers interested in appointment to the United Sorghum Checkoff Board. The term for these seats will expire at the Board’s winter meeting in December 2018.

In accordance with the program rules, persons interested in being nominated must be a sorghum producer and need to complete and submit USDA’s Form AD-755 – Advisory Committee Membership Background Information, and the Nominee’s
Agreement to Serve Form along with a cover letter outlining their interest to serve on the USCP Board. Application forms may also be accessed on USDA’s website at: www.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms by selecting the “Sorghum Program.”

Applications for the Kansas positions must be received at the office of the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association (jill@ksgrainsorghum.org) or the Kansas Farm Bureau (nelsonm@kfb.org) office by 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 24, 2015.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, sorghum

Farm Broadcasters Offer Scholarships

John Davis Leave a Comment

NAFB LogoTo invest in the future of farm broadcasting, the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Foundation will award three scholarships of $5,000 each. NAFB will award the college scholarships to students pursuing careers in agriculture communications.

The scholarships are named after farm broadcasting pioneers:

Glenn Kummerow Memorial Scholarship. Glenn dedicated himself to the farm broadcasting industry, and was a respected authority in ag radio. He was a true friend and loyal supporter of the Association.

George Logan Scholarship. George was the first NAFB Executive Director, a long time farm broadcaster and television manager. He was a mentor to many broadcasters during their careers.

Orion Samuelson Scholarship. Orion is the most recognized radio and television farm broadcaster in history. Orion along with George Logan started the NAFB Foundation in 1975.

Eligible applicants are in-coming college juniors, seniors or graduate students currently enrolled in a college or university agriculture communications program and pursuing careers in agriculture communications. Deadline to apply is June 6, 2015.

Ag Group, NAFB

Doane Releases Planting Intentions Survey Results

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

doaneDoane’s 2015 Planting Intentions Survey was released to subscribers and clients Friday, March 20th. Results from this year’s survey show a continuation of recent trends toward more soybeans and less corn acreage. Last year’s corn acreage declined significantly in 2014, down 4.8 million acres from the 2013 level, just a bit more than the 4.5 million acre decline implied by Doane’s 2014 survey results and more accurate than USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report last year which showed only a 3.7 million acre decline.

The 2015 results show another big decline in corn acreage in the works for this year, to 87 million acres which is the lowest level since 2009. While traders are expecting a slight drop in 2015 based on USDA’s preliminary estimate of 89 million acres at its February Outlook Forum, the Doane survey would most likely prove bullish if confirmed by USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report.

Soybean acreage on the other hand will rise sharply according to Doane survey results, which imply national acreage of a record 87 million acres, with largest increases percentage-wise for the Northern Plains states. The Doane survey results imply a significant increase in sorghum acreage this year.

While some forecasts show significant year-over-year declines in total crop acreage planted to the principle crops for 2015, Doane results suggest otherwise. Expected declines for corn, cotton, and winter wheat acreage will be offset with more acres of sorghum, barley, durum wheat, soybeans, sunflower, canola and hay.

Link to full release here.

Agribusiness, Corn, sorghum, Soybean

Mail a Spud – Why Not?

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Mail a SpudWondering what to send to a special person to show that you’re thinking of them? Flowers? No? How about a potato?

What’s Mail a Spud?

I bet you’re wondering WTF this site is all about…

A potato in the mail, really??? Who in their right mind would want to do that!
Yes, it is true that you can send an actual potato through the freaking mail.

No box. No envelope.

Just a potato and some stamps.

Food

Meet Bethany – Farm Mom of the Year

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 2.21.17 PMThe Farm Mom of the Year is an award presented by America’s Farmers for those mom’s out there who don’t ask for recognition for everything they do. It’s a simple opportunity to thank them.

Bethany Pugh, Monsanto Farm Mom of the Year, hails from North Carolina and is the heart of Middle Creek Farms and Pamlico Shores Produce. Ken Rahjes, AgView, caught up with her at this year’s Commodity Classic and here is her story.

“I mainly work in the office. Keep the books, complete the FSA reports and serve as support for my husband as he bounces ideas off me. As far as driving the tractor, I don’t do that as much since we have had children.”

Bethany said when she found out about the award she quickly had tears in her eyes and was truly honored. “A friend of ours who is also our county extension agent nominated me and I didn’t know anything about it until I received the call from Monsanto. I was speechless. It has been such an honor to have been involved with the program and for it to broaden my horizons.”

She added that she believes it has given her an opportunity to share her families story. There are fewer farm families out there these days and Bethany understands the importance of her voice.

Listen to Ken’s complete interview with Bethany here: Interview with Bethany Pugh, Monsanto Farm Mom of the Year

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by
Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by BASF Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by New Holland Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by Propane Education and Research Council
Ag Group, Audio, Award, Commodity Classic, Monsanto

Case IH Introduces Certified Pre-Owned Program

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 12.08.22 PMDan Danford, Case IH, talked with Ag View‘s Ken Rahjes at the 2015 Commodity Classic about the Case IH Certified Pre-Owned Program. The program is aimed to give customers the best warranties and financing on late model Case IH Steiger tractors, Magnum tractors and Axial-Flow combines.

“This is targeted for those who over the past five or six years have been trading in for new equipment and might be interested in looking into some used equipment, but don’t want to sacrifice reliability or peace of mind.”

The new program will assign additional warranty on units that have met the stringent CPO qualification requirements. CPO standards will include a rigorous 100+ point inspection, fluid analysis (engines, hydraulic/transmission and coolants) and genuine Case IH parts wherever any replacement is necessary.

Program Highlights:
– Includes late-model Axial Flow series combines and Steiger and Magnum tractors.
– Industry-leading Case IH Protection Plan with Extended Powertrain Coverage; 12 months/2,500 total engine hours, whichever occurs first for Steiger and Magnum tractors and 12 months/2,000 total engine hours, whichever occurs first for Axial Flow combines, covered by Case IH.
– $0 deductible on all qualified Certified Pre-Owned warranty visits.
– CNH Industrial Parts & Service will issue a $100 reward card, which can be used to purchase genuine Case IH parts at a Case IH dealership, for each Certified Pre-Owned unit purchased.

Listen to Ken’s complete interview with Dan here: Interview with Dan Danford, Case IH

2015 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by
Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by BASF Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by New Holland Coverage of Commodity Classic sponsored by Propane Education and Research Council
Agribusiness, Case IH, Commodity Classic, Equipment, Tractor

Ag Day 2015

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ZimmCast 470National Ag Day activities are conducted by the Agriculture Council of America. This year’s Chair is Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In this week’s program I talked with Colin about the work of the ACA and this year’s activities. I also spoke with Amy Bradford, GROWMARK, an Ag Day sponsor and sponsor of my coverage of Ag Day activities as well as the weekly ZimmCast.

Colin WoodallColin says that the ACA works to “make sure Ag Day is a success.” That effort has been going on for 42 years. Besides the national events in Washington, DC there are events all over the United States and he says it provides a great opportunity for agriculture to tell it’s story.

Amy says that as an organization supplying 250,000 customers in the U.S. and Canada, GROWMARK feels it is necessary to be visible supporting farmers and the Ag Day activities provide them with a venue to do that. Additionally, GROWMARK sponsors several of the students being brought in to our nation’s Capitol on Ag Day.

You can get more information on how to support the ACA and Ag Day at AgDay.org.

Learn more about Ag Day and how you can support it in this week’s program: Ag Day 2015

Ag Day 2015 Photo Album

Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here.

The ZimmCast

sponsored by
The ZimmCast podcast is sponsored by GROWMARK
Locally owned, globally strong.
Ag Day, Ag Group, Agribusiness, Audio, GROWMARK, NCBA, ZimmCast

Increasing Access to Affordable Broadband

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

USDAThe White House along with USDA held a press call to “lay out next steps to increase access to affordable high-speed broadband for all Americans.” On the call are Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council and Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

The call talks about efforts on the part of private enterprise as well as those by government to help bring access to all Americans. They pointed to a study that says that 98 percent of all Americans have access to at least 4G broadband and talked about efforts to increase wired service. New loans to private providers was also announced.

I did not get picked to ask a question but wanted to ask how they are figuring in the use of mobile phone service and internet access via personal hotspots as well as satellite service providers. I recorded today’s call on my AT&T hotspot while on a farm outside Springfield, MO which has wired service less than a mile away but cannot obtain any other service right now.

You can listen to the press call here: White House/USDA Broadband Press Call

Also announced today:

Today the President signed a new Presidential Memorandum making good on his promise in Cedar Falls to stand up a new Council singularly focused on increasing broadband investment and adoption.
Read More

Government, Internet

Young Farmers Still Concerned About Adequate Land

John Davis Leave a Comment

farmbureausurvey1A new survey shows that young farmers are still worried about getting adequate land to grow crops and raise animals. This news release from the American Farm Bureau Federation says the group’s annual outlook survey of participants in the Young Farmers & Ranchers program found that 29 percent of respondents were concerned about that issue, followed by government regulations, which was identified by 13 percent of the respondents.

“For young people who want to begin farming or ranching or expand an established farm or ranch, securing adequate land remains their top challenge,” said Jon Hegeman, AFBF’s national YF&R Committee chair and a farmer from Alabama. “Another major challenge is coping with burdensome government regulations.”

Other issues ranked as top concerns by young farmers and ranchers included the willingness of parents to turn over the reins, 10 percent; overall profitability, 10 percent; taxes and the availability of water, both 7 percent; and urbanization and the availability of ag financing, each coming in at 5 percent.

The 23rd annual YF&R survey revealed that 84 percent of those surveyed are more optimistic about farming and ranching than they were five years ago. Last year, 91 percent of those surveyed said they were more optimistic about farming compared to five years ago.

That optimism in farming also showed with 92 percent of the nation’s young farmers and ranchers say they are better off than they were five years ago, and another 91 percent considering themselves lifetime farmers, while 97 percent would like to see their children follow in their footsteps.

Three-fourths of those surveyed also consider communicating with consumers a formal part of their jobs, using social media and traditional outreach methods, such as farm tours, agri-tourism and farmers’ markets, to get that done.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Farm Bureau