48th Annual Championship Tractor Pulls At NFMS

Taylor Truckey Leave a Comment

nfms-tractor-pullThe 48th Annual Championship Tractor Pull will once again be held at Freedom Hall during the National Farm Machinery Show next week. The top pullers in the country will return to Louisville to compete for the title of Grand Champion and a share of nearly $250,000 in prize money.

Each year more than 500 teams apply to pull in the prestigious event and approximately 180 are chosen. This year’s list includes numerous reigning Grand Champions, former Grand Champions, and a record-number of women drivers.

Champion Tractor Pull Tickets are $40 for the Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Saturday afternoon pulls. Tickets are $45 for the Friday night pull and Saturday evening finals. Tickets are available at the Kentucky Exposition Center and Kentucky International Convention Center Ticket Offices, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at www.ticketmaster.com.

For additional information, visit the Champion Pull website.

Coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored by
Coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored by FMC and Coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored by New Holland
Farm Shows, National Farm Machinery Show, NFMS, Tractor

CropLife Hires Director of Communications & Marketing

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

croplife logoGenevieve O’Sullivan is now the director of communications and marketing for CropLife America.  It will be her responsibility to develop and promote communications, branding and marketing efforts for the organization.  She will also be responsible for publications and reports, as well as media contact.

“We are excited to have Genevieve join our communications team,” stated Vroom. “Her strong communications background, combined with an emphasis in local and state government policy work, will enhance the ability of CLA to communicate with government officials in a concise and effective manner.”

As the director of communications at the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), O’Sullivan coordinated efforts with state agencies across the country to create cohesive messages at the local and national levels. She also established branding for the association that included launching a new website, creating printed materials with a consistent identity and messaging, and traveling to industry conferences to promote the association’s work. Prior to NASF, O’Sullivan was the communications director for the Washington State Redistricting Commission, leading outreach for the commission as it engaged citizens across Washington state in the legislative and congressional redistricting process.

“Mrs. O’Sullivan’s experience with communications in both the private and public sectors will benefit CLA,” says William Kuckuck, vice president and COO at CropLifeAmeria.  “With prior projects that include marketing complex messages and programs to government officials and the public, she brings energy and skills that will assist us in reaching out to existing and new audiences.”.

O’Sullivan earned her bachelor of arts in political science from Western Washington University. She and her husband own the   Sona Creamery and Wine Bar in Washington D.C.

Ag Group, Company Announcement, CropLife America

2016 Expected to be Challenging for U.S. Cotton

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

cotton-council2016 is expected to be another challenging year for the U.S. cotton industry according to the National Cotton Council (NCC).

NCC Vice President for Economics & Policy Analysis Dr. Jody Campiche told delegates at the NCC’s 78th Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas that the challenges will include low cotton prices, high global stocks and uncertainties regarding global mill cotton use.

“While world mill use is expected to exceed world production in 2016, global cotton stocks remain at high levels,” said Campiche.

Regarding domestic cotton mill use, USDA estimates U.S. mill use at 3.6 million bales, up 25,000 bales from 2014 and marking the fourth consecutive year of increased consumption. However, exports will continue a downward trend, with NCC estimating 2015 U.S. exports at 9.5 million bales, down 15.5 percent from 2014 and below the most recent USDA estimate. Campiche says, China’s imports are expected to fall further in 2016 to 4.75 million bales, down from 5.5 million in 2015. India is projected to continue as the world’s largest cotton producer and the second largest exporter in 2016.

Campiche projects an increase in ending stocks of 193,000 bales and notes that although world cotton stocks are projected to decline by 6.3 million bales in 2016, the reduction is not large enough to significantly reduce global inventories that begin the year at 103 million bales.

In her analysis of the NCC Annual Planting Intentions survey results, Campiche said the NCC projects 2016 U.S. cotton acreage to be 9.1 million acres, about 6.2 percent more than 2015. With abandonment set at 11 percent for the United States, Cotton Belt harvested area totals 8.1 million acres. Using an average U.S. yield per harvested acre of 831 pounds generates a cotton crop of 14.0 million bales, with 13.4 million upland bales and 595,000 extra-long staple bales.

Read more here.


World Food Championships Move to Alabama

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

World Food ChampionshipsWorld Food Championships! Learning about this got my blood pumping and my mouth salivating. Best of all, it’s moving right next door to ZimmComm World Headquarters. It’s on my calendar. I want to go and blog about food competition as the fruits of our farmers provides the base for what’s cooking. It sounds like a #FoodPorn Festival doesn’t it? Here are some details.

The World Food Championships announced today that it is going coastal for the first time and moving the 2016 Ultimate Food Fight to Orange Beach, Alabama.

Now celebrating its 5th Anniversary, WFC will be held Nov. 8-15 at The Wharf, a resort destination with a full-service marina, retail, dining and entertainment options anchored by a multi-use event center and a 10,000-seat amphitheater.

The relocation to Orange Beach is a major milestone, according to World Food Championships’ CEO Mike McCloud.

“Our biggest goal was to bring all nine of our championships, which require about 300,000 square feet of open space, into one arena,” McCloud said. “We finally found an ideal place to do that at The Wharf, with a host of logistical benefits that include better facility access, infrastructure, parking capacity and consumer/tourism appeal. This is going to be a huge benefit to our competitors, our sponsors, our judges and our staff as we continue to build out the best Food Sport event in the world.”

Registration is open for competitors. Special note: there are openings for 50 pro bbq teams!


National Collegiate Congress Offered for Ag Students

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

AgChatOn April 2, 2016 college students will participate in the AgChat Foundation’s 2016 Collegiate Congress.  Sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, and held at Dow’s headquarters in Indianapolis, the event offers students the opportunity to network with members of the industry while learning how to communicate with consumers to share their stories.

“The inaugural Collegiate Congress provided a solid framework as I strive to advocate for agriculture to my highest ability,” said Lexi Marek, 2015 Collegiate Congress alumna and 2016 Collegiate Congress planning committee member. “This event provides excellent networking with speakers and peers leading to future opportunities.”

Sessions will focus on strategic communication techniques, time prioritization and agricultural advocacy while expanding networks to incorporate consumer-facing messaging. Additionally, participants will learn about organizing on-campus events, digital content calendars and interacting with consumers.

“Our fast-paced society applauds short attention spans and convenience, which is vastly altering the way consumers receive information. This often leads to consumers’ fear-driven, perceived wants overriding scientific facts in regards to many aspects of the agricultural and food industries,” said Jenny Schweigert, AgChat Foundation executive director. “Collegiate Congress was established to equip young, agricultural leaders with the appropriate tools so they are not only able, but also prepared to connect beyond their typical networks.”

Early-bird registration and the discount rate apply until March 1, 2016.  Learn more about sponsorship opportunities by contacting Jenny Schweigert at execdir@agchat.org.

Ag Group, AgChat, Education

Enter the AFBF #iAdvocate Photo Contest

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

AFBFThe American Farm Bureau Federation is inviting farmer and a ranchers to advocate for agriculture with the newly launched #iAdvocate campaign.  To participate, message a picture of yourself holding a white board or sign with the hashtag to the Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Facebook page, along with a brief description of what you’re doing.  The ten winning submissions will receive a $100 Farm Bureau Bank gift card.

Submissions will be uploaded to the “2016 #iAdvocate Campaign” album on the Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Facebook page. Once you have been notified that your photo has been posted, ask others to “Like” and “Share” it on Facebook. Contest winners will be determined based on the highest number of “Likes” received for pictures within the album.

“Advocating for agriculture is one of our key areas of focus,” said Chris Hoffman, a Pennsylvania hog and poultry farmer and chair of AFBF’s national Promotion & Education Committee. “We look forward to seeing creative #iAdvocate photo submissions from around the country.”

See rules and details at https://www.facebook.com/FarmBureauPandE.  The contest ends March 25.

AFBF, Ag Group, Contest

AgriAbility Marks 25 Years

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

AgrAbility2016 marks 25 of service to people with disabilities for AgrAbility.  The organization, first authorized in the 1990 farm bill and funded in 1991, helps people in agriculture overcome their various needs and work productively in the industry.  It has grown from eight state projects to 20 this year, as well as six previously funded affiliate projects.  Each project is a collaboration with a land-grant university and one or more disability services organizations.

To honor the 25 year mark the National AgrAbility Project at Purdue University will be hosting several activities through 2016.

“The vision of AgrAbility is to enhance quality of life for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers with disabilities,” said Paul Jones, manager of National AgrAbility Project. “Through education and assistance, AgrAbility helps to eliminate – or at least minimize – obstacles that inhibit success in production agriculture or agriculture-related occupations.”

Highlights for the year include: 

* A “25 Years, 25 Stories” initiative will highlight 25 stories of how AgrAbility has improved the lives of people around the country.

* The annual AgrAbility National Training Workshop will highlight the program’s accomplishments and feature special speakers, including Temple Grandin. The workshop is scheduled for April 11-14 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

* AgrAbility will host a 25th anniversary celebration July 12 in conjunction with the annual conference of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America July 10-14 in Arlington, Virginia. 

* An “AgrAbility Day” is planned for the annual National Farm Safety and Health Week in September.

“The primary limiting factor for these individuals is not the lack of technology but rather the attitudes of those around them that create unnecessary barriers to success,” said Bill Field, professor agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue. “AgrAbility seeks to remove those barriers through its emphasis on what is possible rather than what is not.”

Ag Group

National Farm Machinery Show Increases Exhibitors

Taylor Truckey Leave a Comment

nfms16-logoThis year’s National Farm Machinery Show will offer an expanded exhibit area with the most complete selection of cutting-edge agricultural products, equipment and services available in the farming industry. The AgWired team will once again be attending to provide our readers with the best coverage thanks to our great sponsors.

Visitors will be able to attend free seminars covering a variety of topics as well as a live-taping of the ‘U.S. Farm Report’. In order to accommodate the additional exhibitors, the shopping and souvenir area – renamed the Gift and Craft Market – has a new location in the South Wing Mezzanine. Featuring more than 80 booths, the area will include many perennial favorites such as the Sweet Shoppe, Moore’s Farm Toys and Wisconsin Cheese and Sausage Company.

Held Feb. 10-13 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY, the National Farm Machinery Show allows farmers and others in the agribusiness industry to stay up to date with the newest trends and offers hands-on access to various technological advancements needed for the upcoming farming season.

The 1.2 million square feet of the Kentucky Exposition Center will be completely filled with more than 880 exhibitors making it the country’s largest indoor farm show. Nearly every major line of farming equipment will be on display for side by side comparison. The most innovative technology and new product launches will be showcased, as well as alternative energy information and solutions to the challenges facing today’s agribusiness industry.

Admission to the show is free and open to the public, parking is $8 per vehicle. The National Farm Machinery Show is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored by
Coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored by FMC and Coverage of the National Farm Machinery Show is sponsored by New Holland
National Farm Machinery Show, New Holland, NFMS

Alltech Continues Support for Ag Journalism

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

alltech logo The IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award has been able to reach young journalists across the globe, and this international impact will be extended in 2016, thanks to changes in the federation’s constitution and renewed support from key sponsor Alltech.

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) accepted eight new guilds for membership at its annual congress in New Zealand, opening the young leaders’ competition to journalists in 40 countries, and Alltech announced today that it will be supporting the program again for its 11th year of sponsorship for the program.

“It is truly an honor to once again support 10 young journalists from around the world as they visit farms to fine-tune reporting skills, polish photography techniques and further develop their personal leadership in agribusiness,” said Ann Hess, On-Farm Communications Manager for Alltech. “As livestock and crop production continues to grow through innovation and technology, we need strong communicators to tell the story to an ever-increasing consumer-driven industry.”

The award, a travel scholarship that recognizes the leadership potential of 10 young members each year from guilds belonging to IFAJ, supports their participation at the annual IFAJ Congress. This year’s program will run in conjunction with the 2016 annual IFAJ Congress in Bonn, Germany 13-17 July. Award winners will also take part in a boot camp with professional journalists, and will have the opportunity to visit farms where they discuss how to apply their skills.

“We have seen first-hand the benefits of this program,” says Owen Roberts, Vice President of IFAJ. “With Alltech’s support and participation, we have been able to offer a program that has benefitted members and guilds. Many of the winners of the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award have gone on to leadership roles in their guilds.”

The IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders Award has contributed to the professional and personal development of nearly 100 budding journalists from around the world, and involving new guilds will likewise help them to pursue leadership and succession within their own organizations.

Ag Group, Alltech, Award, IFAJ, International, Journalism

Sustainability Expert Defends Big Business

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

FoodD_PetersonPic Terms like local, organic, natural and sustainable dominate the marketplace, but what does it all mean? One of the most tangible examples of sustainability is the use of drastically fewer resources over time, something many areas of agriculture, especially the dairy industry, can say is true of their production methods. Regardless of this fact, many large-scale production operations face a majority of the criticism from the sustainability movement.

The concept of sustainability was central to the latest installment of Food Dialogues held recently at the Dairy Strong conference in Madison, Wis., co-sponsored by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) and Dairy Strong. Hundreds of attendees gathered as Michael Specter, a food and science staff writer with The New Yorker, moderated a diverse panel that included a registered dietitian, a conservationist, and a fifth-generation dairy farmer, to discuss how consumers and farmers define sustainability and the various methods and technologies used on farms, small and large, to protect the environment.

Sustainability is a topic that one panelist, Steve Peterson, centered his entire career around. Peterson is the former Director of Sourcing Sustainability at General Mills, with 28 years of experience in the company, and a lifelong farmer. He operates a crop and beef farm in central Minnesota, and his work on sustainability with General Mills extended not only throughout the US supply chain, but allowed him to influence producers overseas, in Africa and Asia. He is very respected throughout the food industry, and is considered an expert on sustainability.

Peterson sat down for an interview after the discussion, where he elaborated on several topics the panelists brought up, focusing on the skewed public perception of the important role business plays in sustainability.

“There’s a common assumption that ‘local’ and ‘small’ and ‘organic’ are all so good and that anything ‘big’ is bad when it comes to businesses, and that’s just not the case,” Peterson said. “Big is not bad, and in fact, big is really good. It brings affordability, and it brings safety. The cost of food in the US is less than 10 percent of our disposable income, I think it’s around 7 or 8 percent, which is the lowest of anywhere in the world, and we take that for granted. My father always said that we need a good food shortage in the United States, and then people will appreciate what they have.”

Peterson also highlighted a few of the valuable roles that large businesses play surrounding the concept of sustainable food production.

“A man named Jason Clay, one of the directors of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), was one of the first to say that we realistically just can’t go to millions of farmers around the world, but we can go to a handful of companies, and influence them to take their own influence to help move the dial on sustainability,” he said. “What’s really been exciting for companies like General Mills is that this push towards sustainability has brought us closer to producers.”

Listen to my full interview with Steve here:
Interview with Steve Peterson, Sustainability Expert

Ag Group, Audio, Environment, Food, Sustainability, USFRA