#IFAJ2016 Tour – Bayer Forward Farming – Part 1

Chuck Zimmerman 1 Comment

Dr. Andreas MehlWelcome to a series of presentations on the work that Bayer CropScience is doing at its Monheim, Germany headquarters and in farms affiliated with their ForwardFarming initiative which demonstrates sustainable farming in practice. In line with Bayer’s mission “Science for A Better Life”, Bayer CropScience is committed to delivering innovative solutions to further promote sustainable agriculture. I’ll be posting these episodes a couple times per week for several weeks and hope you enjoy them.

In our first episode the focus is on Bayer’s Institute for Disease Control. Our presenter is Dr. Andreas Mehl, Product & Project Support. The Institute conducts research and development of new fungicides to combat plant diseases and have them adapted to market and customer needs. In the presentation you’ll hear Dr. Mehl describe the process and how they develop these new products.

You can listen to the presentation here or watch below: Dr. Andreas Mehl Presentation

2016 IFAJ Congress Photo Album

Coverage of the IFAJ Congress is sponsored by Coverage of the IFAJ Congress is sponsored by Bayer
Agribusiness, Audio, Bayer, Crop Protection, Farming, IFAJ, Video

Senator Donnelly Receives NCGA President’s Award

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

NCGA President's AwardU.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana has earned the President’s Award by the National Corn Growers Association.  Chip Bowling, president of NCGA, explains that the honor is given to leaders who strive to advance important issues to corn farmers and agriculture.

“Senator Donnelly is a true advocate for farmers in Indiana and throughout the country,” said Bowling. “He is one of ethanol’s biggest champions in Congress. He understands the importance of ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, which has made America more energy independent, strengthened the rural economy, and given consumers more choices, lower prices, and cleaner air. He has consistently defended the RFS and has spearheaded meetings with the Administration in support of this policy. He is also a lead sponsor of a bill that would give consumers access to higher blends of ethanol year-round.”

“Indiana and America’s corn farmers are providing the feed, food, and fuel that help to feed our families and power our economy,” said Senator Donnelly. “It is an honor to be recognized by the National Corn Growers Association, and I look forward to continuing to work hard every day to bring the wisdom of America’s farmers to Washington to advance the interests of our farming and rural communities.”

“Senator Donnelly knows that farmers need clarity and certainty when it comes to regulations that affect their business,” said Bowling. “He cosponsored the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, a bipartisan bill to improve and clarify the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ Waters of the U.S. rule. While the bill ultimately fell short, we appreciate his efforts to find a permanent, constructive solution to the WOTUS rule.”

Joe Donnelly is the junior Senator from Indiana. He previously represented the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he helped negotiate and pass the 2014 Farm Bill, which included a landmark shift toward a market-based risk management program. He has also supported increased funding for inland waterways, roads, bridges, and railroads, which help farmers and ranchers get their products to market quickly, safely, and efficiently.

Donnelly is Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management. Prior to serving in Congress, Donnelly helped run a small business and practiced law.

“Senator Donnelly is a leader and problem-solver at a time when Washington is desperately lacking in both,” said Bowling. “It has been a privilege to work closely with him and his staff during his time in Washington, and we look forward to continuing that relationship.”

Ag Group, Award, Government, NCGA

#FoodDialogues to Celebrate MN #Water

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

If there is one issue that impacts everyone on the planet, it is water.

FR_MN Food Dialogues Header Image v2That’s why the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) in collaboration with the Farm and Food Alliance of Minnesota, will host a Food Dialogues next week in Minneapolis called “A Celebration of Minnesota’s Waters.

“We’re addressing this as a celebration of water but also working to try to communicate to a new audience,” said USFRA CEO Randy Krotz. “We’re really focused on young people this time.”

Krotz says they feel there is a real need to communicate with high school and college age people because each generation becomes a little further removed from food production. “They’re very distant from agriculture but they have more interest in how they’re food was grown and raised than they ever have,” he said.

Water issues may vary from one region of the country to another, but Krotz says whatever they are, it’s important that farmers are part of the conversation to educate the rest of the public about “the incredible strides that agriculture has made in the area of sustainability and water quality over the past several decades.”

A Celebration of Minnesota’s Waters” will be held July 26 from 2:00-4:00 pm with registration and networking beginning at 1:00 pm at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis. Learn more in this interview: Interview with Randy Krotz, USFRA

Audio, Food, USFRA, Water

Bayer Disappointed with Monsanto Rejection

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

bayer-logoBayer AG officials are “disappointed in Monsanto’s decision to reject its increased all-cash offer of USD 125 per share” made public last week.

Monsanto’s Board of Directors unanimously rejected Bayer’s proposal as “financially inadequate and insufficient to ensure deal certainty.”
The offer represents a 40 percent premium over Monsanto’s closing share price on May 9, 2016. In addition, Bayer has offered a USD 1.5 billion reverse antitrust break fee, reaffirming its confidence in a successful closing.

Both companies say they are looking forward to continued dialogue.

Agribusiness, Bayer, Monsanto

Vilsack Named Possible Democrat #Veep

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The media and the Twitterverse spread the news quickly Wednesday that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is considering Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as her running mate, but the buzz about that potential has been around for almost a year in the ag world.

clinton-vilsackLast August, Vilsack introduced Secretary Clinton at an Iowa campaign event where she discussed agricultural issues with a John Deere tractor as a backdrop.

“This is a woman who will listen to us, who will fight for us,” said Vilsack introducing Mrs. Clinton at the event. “I and my wife will always remain loyal to our friend Hillary Clinton.”

Vilsack has pretty good credentials to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. He actually started to run for president in the 2008 election, announcing his candidacy early but dropping out within three months. He was a two-term governor in Iowa, is the only original member of Obama’s cabinet, and is the longest-serving agriculture secretary in modern history. Vilsack has traveled around the world working on trade and policy issues and is a strong supporter of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Secretary Vilsack has also become a close ally of nearly every agricultural group in the country, attending what is certainly a record number of commodity group annual meetings over the past seven and a half years. If Vilsack is selected, he will have to resign as agriculture secretary.

Clinton has reportedly narrowed her VP choice to Vilsack, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. The announcement is expected from the campaign this weekend.

Government, politics

Even on Food Issues, Politics Divide Americans

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

As the elections fast approach, not only are there political divides across parties, but also in food issues. The 2016 Food and Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health looks at how consumers differ in their views on food issues and find that conservatives and liberals think differently about sustainability, trust in government for food-related information and their top food safety issues. The study was conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 1.01.00 PM“The 2016 Food & Health Survey marks the 11th edition of an ongoing investigation into the beliefs and behaviors of Americans,” said Kimberly Reed, president of the International Food Information Council Foundation. “We are seeing a growing national food dialogue, and Americans are hungry for more information about nutrition and the food system,” Reed said. “The 2016 Survey, which includes a special focus on understanding the complex array of factors that influence food decisions, provides important insights and trends for health professionals, government officials, educators, as well as others who seek to understand and improve the health of all Americans.”

In terms of sustainability, liberals more readily cite the importance of environmental aspects of sustainability while conservatives focus on economic reasons for sustainable practices. Both conservatives and liberals agree overwhelmingly that it is important for food products to be produced sustainably. However, liberals (56 percent) are much more likely than conservatives (35 percent) to say that they would pay more for sustainably produced products.

Media exposure may play a role in the differences of opinion. More than half of liberals (51 percent) report having read an article examining the food system in the past year, while about one-third (31 percent) conservatives reported doing the same. Similarly, a much larger proportion of liberals (27 percent) report seeing a movie or documentary that examined the food system in the past year, compared to conservatives. (13 percent).

Other findings include that liberals are more likely than conservatives to cite the government as a top source of trust for information on the safety of food and ingredients (58 percent vs. 46 percent). One in four (27 percent) conservatives highlighted the government as a top source of trust for information about the types of food you should eat, while nearly half of liberals (48 percent) highlight the government as a top trusted source for this information.

And in terms of food safety, concern about Foodborne illness from bacteria” ranked first among both liberals and conservatives (55 percent and 58 percent respectively). Yet liberals are far more likely to cite “pesticides” as a top food safety issue (38 percent vs. 24 percent), while conservatives are twice as likely to cite “carcinogens or cancer-causing chemicals in food” (40 percent vs. 20 percent). Those who identify as somewhat liberal (12 percent) are twice as likely as those who are somewhat conservative (6 percent) to cite “food additives and ingredients” as a top food safety issue.

Food, Food Security, Research, Sustainability

Sorghum Shootout Update

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

Sorghum Shootout grower Tim Fisher, of Wyne, Arkansas, shows off his head-high sorghum fields.

Sorghum Shootout grower Tim Fisher, of Wyne, Arkansas, shows off his head-high sorghum fields.

Have you ever seen sorghum growing head-high by mid-July? We haven’t either! Sorghum Shootout grower Tim Fisher is already seeing head-high sorghum fields at his operation in Arkansas, thanks in part to the Sorghum Shootout program.

Sorghum Shootout is the latest National Sorghum Producers (NSP) program, sponsored by StollerUSA – which you may remember we told you about when they introduced it at Commodity Classic. The Shootout is designed to help growers push through yield barriers and raise the roof on sorghum yields. It was created to provide a forum for sorghum growers across the country to be exposed to some of the best management practices available.

These practices are needed to reach the highest yields in sorghum production year after year, and farmers like Fisher are already seeing results.

The Sorghum Shootout will chronicle the management styles Fisher, as well as Earl Wetta, of Garden Plain, Kansas, and Steven Albracht, of Hart, Texas, two other award-winning growers.

To see how the growers are doing so far and to follow their progress throughout the season, check out the Sorghum Shootout website.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Agronomy, Company Announcement, Farming, Harvest, sorghum, StollerUSA

Is the Trump-Pence Republican Ticket Good for Ag?

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

zp-nh1Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What do you think about the Senate’s GMO Disclosure Bill?

The Senate has passed it’s version of the GMO Disclosure Bill followed by the House passing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, and the President is expected to sign the bill into law soon. However, 40 percent of voters believe the legislation is bad for everyone.

Zimmie Poll Results

Here are the poll results:
Good for Ag – 10%
Good for consumers – 5%
Good for both – 25%
Bad for everyone – 40%
Other – 20%

Our new ZimmPoll is live and asks the question, Is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket good for agriculture and biofuels? During his campaigning Trump has been a vocal supporter of biofuels visiting an ethanol plant in Iowa last summer and has repeatedly said he could “be a farmer“.  However, one-term Indiana Governor Mike Pence is being heralded by the ag industry as understanding and supporting many facets of agriculture from small farms to large agribusinesses.

Agribusiness, Biofuels, politics, ZimmPoll

2016 Wallace-Carver Fellows Announced

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

the_world_food_prize Thirty seven students from across the country have been confirmed for the prestigious Wallace-Carver Fellowship. The fellowship, made possible with the support of The World Food Prize Foundation and The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), offers exceptional college students the opportunity to collaborate with world-renowned scientists and policymakers through paid summer internships at leading USDA research centers and offices across the United States.

“The Wallace-Carver Fellowship exposes the best young minds in agriculture to the wide variety of opportunities available to them through civil service,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “Their experiences as Fellows will prepare these exceptional young leaders to carry out the vital research and innovation we will need to address the challenge of feeding a growing global population.”

49 million Americans are food insecure today, and one in nine people on the planet go hungry each day. Food security remains a critical issue as the world population continues to grow. Sec. Vilsack and Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of The World Food Prize, created the Wallace-Carver Fellowship to inspire the next generation of American scientific, agricultural, and humanitarian leaders.

“These students are among the brightest and most passionate young people in the country, and we are thrilled to connect them with these opportunities that put them on track for promising careers in agriculture and international development,” Amb. Quinn said. “I am sure they will be the leaders of the future in global food security.”

The Fellowship includes a culminating week-long, high-level leadership symposium at the USDA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., which is hosted by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The Fellows will participate in a series of high-level briefings, tours and discussions around Washington DC with key government officials, congressional and humanitarian leaders engaged in the fight against hunger.

A full list of the 2016 Fellows can be found here.

Ag Group, Agribusiness, Agriculture Education, Award, Internship, University, USDA, World Food Prize

$2 M for Urban Ag Conservation from NACD, NRCS

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Forty-two conservation districts in 25 states have been awarded $2 million for urban ag and conservation projects. The money was given through the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The goal of the initiative is to help conservation districts and their partners provide technical assistance for ag conversation in areas where the land is predominately urban or urbanizing, especially in underserved communities.

NACD_Logo_200NACD and the conservation districts we represent work on a scale that no other conservation organization or coalition does,” NACD President Lee McDaniel, who is in his second and final year as president of NACD, told an audience of conservation leaders in Minneapolis on Sunday. “We have the reach we need to engage the 98 percent of folks who don’t necessarily produce our fuel, fiber, and food, but still can make a sizable and positive difference on the landscape. With today’s announcement, NACD is broadening its base and the base of support for conservation in this country. We are going to reward, support, and encourage conservation implemented on every landscape.

The 2016 grants will help urban farmers, community gardens, other local agricultural partnerships implement conservation practices that support local food production, provide opportunities for education and stewardship, and protect natural resources.

Jason Weller, chief of NRCS and longtime champion of voluntary and incentive-based conservation said of the announcement, “I commend Lee for his leadership and vision, and for emphasizing the importance of urban conservation and urban agriculture. NACD and NRCS are focused on broadening our reach through more partnerships with communities across the country. Awarding this funding is an important step that NACD, state associations, and individual conservation districts are taking along with NRCS – a step that I’m very proud to support.

Click here for a full list of the 42 award winners and their projects.

Agribusiness, Conservation, Urban Agriculture