48th Championship Tractor Pull Drivers Announced

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Championship Tractor PullThe dirvers of this years 48th annual Championship Tractor Pull include former champions as well as a record-braking number of women drivers.  The four-day event, sponsored by Syngenta, will be held February 10-13 in conjunction with the  National Farm Machinery Show.  Drivers compete for the title of Grand Champion and a share of $250,000 in prize money.

The majority of the reigning Grand Champions from the seven classes of the 2015 Championship Tractor Pull are returning: Neil Gettinger, Hagerstown, IN; Nathan Babler, Rock City, IL; Steve Bunnage, Golden Gate, IL; Joey Frasur, Liberty IN; Travis Schlabach, Marengo, IA; and Shawn Hodges, Avella, PA.

The 2016 Championship Tractor Pull will break last year’s record for the number of women driving with eight women competing in various classes including Patricia Justison, Hillsboro IL; Bethany Nelson, Altamont, IL; Ashley Corzine, Assumption, IL; Mendi Nelson, Cat Spring, TX; Renee Theobald, Shelbyville, IN; Monica Shaw, Franklin, KY; Julia Ray, Beloit, OH and former Grand Champion Lisa Tatum, Bardstown, KY.

You can purchase tickets from the Freedom Hall Ticket Office, Kentucky International Convention Center and Ticketmaster beginning Tuesday, December 1 at 10:00 a.m.  Ticket prices for Wednesday and Thursday are $40, Friday’s tickets are $45, Saturday afternoon coasts $40 and the finals on Saturday night are $45.

Events, Tractor

Survey Says Ag Machinery Market Still Weak

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

machineryAgrievolution Alliance recently released  their fall survey of more than 6,000 manufacturers worldwide showing the majority believe the market is still weak.  The report shows a 3 point decline from their April report.

China and India buck the trend, showing positive growth in agriculture equipment manufacturing.  For other countries, results show no clear future trend.

Taking new orders as future indicators, there is even less of a positive outlook. Nearly 50 percent of the global ag machinery industry states that in the past three months, the volume of incoming orders in their domestic markets decreased compared to the same period a year ago.

On a global basis, 19 percent of ag machinery companies rate their business as “good,” while 34 percent describe it as unfavorable. Especially in North and South America, namely the U.S. and Brazil, current demand remains weak.

Brazil was the worst in terms of sales revenue in the last three months, followed by the U.S. Countries reporting the best sales revenue were Russia, China and India.

Lower commodity prices have negatively affected the mood of farmers and is halting the demand for new machinery.  Member of the Alliance survey may view a more detailed report, but a report for the general public may be viewed here.

AEM, Agribusiness, Equipment

Agri-Pulse Open Mic with Rep. Mike Conaway

John Davis Leave a Comment

open-micAgri-Pulse Open Mic this week features Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway.

Conaway discusses what promises to be a frantic start to December as the U.S. Congress faces a deadline to approve omnibus appropriations legislation. Chairman Conaway is intent to see protection from budget cuts for the farm bill and crop insurance. In this interview, Conaway calls for administrative changes in the farm bill to help cotton farmers, discusses how the threat of trade retaliation from COOL is already affecting commerce with Canada, and the committee’s work to review the nation’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Click here to listen to Agri-Pulse Open Mic with Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway.

Agri-Pulse, Audio, Cotton

Zimfo Bytes

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

Zimfo Bytes

Zimfo Bytes

Brownfield Ag News Promotes Harker

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

brownfield-harkerJulie Harker of Brownfield Ag News has been promoted to the position of News Director. She has been working with Brownfield’s parent company, Learfield Communications for 25 years and is a trusted voice in agriculture.  She will now be directing the team on day-to-day writing, radio network content and the website.

“Julie has consistently demonstrated her commitment to improving the quality of the Brownfield product,” said Cyndi Young, Director of Brownfield & Ag Operations. “She is a fair and courageous journalist who has earned the respect of her peers.”

Julie has been covering ag news for Brownfield since 2007. She has covered agriculture events in her home state of Missouri and beyond – from Washington, D.C. to Germany – to tell the story of agriculture. Julie also produces a daily consumer education program, Healthy Living, aimed at informing consumers about food and nutrition, striving to dispel commonly held misconceptions about them.

Julie is the recipient of the National Farmers Union’s Milt Hakel Award for Excellence in Ag Journalism and several awards for ag news and market reporting from the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.

The Browfield team consists of 12 full-time, award-winning broadcasters.  Their programs are carried by more than 400 radio stations.  Brownfield is the oldest and largest ag radio network, with more reporters working on behalf of the ag industry in more states and covering more acres than any other broadcast team.

Brownfield, Company Announcement, Journalism

USFRA Educational Initiative – Discovering FARMLAND

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Nancy KavazanjianThe U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has announced a new education initiative that will provide high school students a first-hand glimpse into modern agriculture. The project has been created in conjunction with Discovery Education. Titled Discovering FARMLAND, the interactive resources allow teachers and students to experience the industry through the eyes of six young farmers and ranchers, all while learning about food production’s connection to science, economics, technology and sustainability.

During the NAFB convention I spoke with USFRA Chair, Nancy Kavazanjian, being interviewed in the photo by Kyle Bauer. Discover FARMLAND has several components that includes a shortened version of the film documentary. There are also four major lesson plans included online.

Discovering FARMLAND provides high school students, educators and parents with standards-aligned lesson plans and interactive activities that explore concepts critical to modern agriculture, such as sustainability, technology, and science. Designed by Discovery Education’s curriculum experts, these resources aim to stimulate thoughtful conversations between educators and students about key issues including: innovative use of technology on farms and how it has transformed the industry, challenges farmers face such as weather and growing conditions, common stereotypes around farmers and ranchers, and market supply and demand. Additionally, FARMLAND will be integrated into Discovery Education Streaming Plus™ a comprehensive digital library containing more than 200,000 learning assets aligned to state and national curriculum standards.

Learn more about this USFRA project in my interview with Nancy here: Nancy Kavazanjian, USFRA

NAFB Convention Photo Album

Coverage of NAFB Convention is sponsored by
Coverage of NAFB Convention is sponsored by BASF
Ag Group, Audio, Education, USFRA

Coalition Urges Congress to Maintain Farm Safety Net

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

capitol-nightNearly 50 organizations representing agricultural interests sent a letter last week to Congressional leaders urging them not cut crop insurance or other farm programs through the omnibus appropriations act.

“The crop insurance program is the lynchpin of the farm safety net and is crucial to the economic security of rural America,” reads the coalition’s letter to Congress. “The crop insurance provision contained in the budget would gut the private sector delivery of the crop insurance program by cutting the target rate of return by 38%. Under the current target rate of return, crop insurance companies have realized negative net returns since 2011. Further reducing the target rate would only drive the industry further into the red.”

The letter also notes the strong commitment of the agriculture community toward balancing the federal budget and that last year’s farm bill that saved taxpayers some $16.6 billion.

“The farm bill is a careful balance of priorities and should not be reopened before its expiration in 2018,” notes the letter. “Additionally, the crop insurance program has contributed more than $12 billion towards reducing government spending since the 2008 Farm Bill, which well-surpasses the funding added to the program in 2014.”

The letter was signed by most major farm organizations including both the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union.

AFBF, Farm Bill, Government, Insurance, NFU

Propane Expansion is Good News for Ag Producers

John Davis Leave a Comment

nafb-15-percPropane is expanding in production and the options for its use. During the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention in Kansas City, Missouri, Cindy caught up with Cinch Morgan from the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) who said that there are 102.4 million barrels of propane in storage right now – a nearly 30 percent increase from a year ago. He credited strong production and a mild grain-drying season for the big inventories right now.

“We’re most of the way through harvest, and most of the grain that has come in is pretty dry,” he said, adding a possibly warm winter ahead could make the situation even better for consumers. “Propane prices right now are very good. So it’s a really good time for rural homeowners and ag operation owners to consider what they should do about this.”

Morgan said new propane engines offer lots of advantages, especially in the ag markets. He added the positive supply outlook for propane and its domestic, environmentally friendly profile, as well as more machinery running on the fuel, make propane a great choice. Morgan said consumers should talk to their local dealers or go to PERC’s website for more information.

“You really owe it to yourself to look at what’s out there.”

Cinch Morgan, Propane Education and Research Council
Audio, NAFB, PERC, Propane

Former Ag Secretaries Urge TPP Passage

John Davis Leave a Comment

2012 USDA Outlook Forum

2012 USDA Outlook Forum

Several former U.S. Agriculture secretaries are calling on Congress to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). This news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says TPP will create new opportunities for American-grown and American–made products in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.

By opening new markets in Japan, Vietnam, and other countries, we are giving our producers access to new customers and expanding their sales. These sales will generate more farm production, and related activities, that will grow the U.S. economy.

The letter from the former secretaries follows:

As former Secretaries of Agriculture, we have been personally invested in the negotiation of every major U.S. trade agreement of the past 40 years. We know from experience how important such agreements are to the economic well-being of our farmers and ranchers. In every negotiation where agriculture has been on the agenda these negotiations have expanded our markets, boosted farm incomes, and in the process created new jobs, both on-farm and off-farm, in rural America.

The recently concluded Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are in that same mold. TPP, a high-standard, 12-country agreement, represents this nation’s “rebalance toward Asia,” which fits American agriculture perfectly. That’s where populations are increasing, as is purchasing power, and that’s what dramatically enhances the demand for our food. We will in the future benefit significantly from increased access to those markets.Read More

Agribusiness, Trade, USDA

Graduate AgVocates 2015

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

What a fine group of young agvocates ready to hit the interwebs and let people know more about where their food comes from.

2015 AgChat Foundation Conference Class

If you missed the 2015 AgChat Foundation Conference, don’t worry. There will be another one.

In the meantime, what can you do to get involved?

Thanks to @FoodSheds for the photo.

AgChat, Social Media