What should be done about WTO COOL ruling?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Has the uncertainty for the RFS caused by the EPA hurt your community?”

No doubt the uncertainty for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) caused by the EPA has hurt many of our communities. This unpredictability has been around over a year and has left many wondering what the final renewable fuel volumes will be. I am sure the uncertainty has impacted our lives more then many even are aware.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes, lost local business/jobs – 73%
  • No, no impact – 27%
  • Don’t know – 0%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What should US do about WTO COOL ruling?

The industry has reacted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision against the United States on the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law since the announcement was made earlier this week. Some feel the issue can be handled by USDA, others feel Congress should take charge. Or are there are other options?

ZimmPoll Jamie JohansenWhat should be done about WTO COOL ruling?

Florida State Rep on CTIC Tour

Cindy Zimmerman 2 Comments

ctic-14-katie-barbA member of the Florida legislature joined us on CTIC Conservation in Action tour of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) last week to learn more herself about the various conservation efforts in the region.
Representative Katie Edwards of Broward County says there is a lot of legislative interest in water quality projects and with her agricultural background it’s important for her to get a first hand look at what farmers are doing in the EAA. “Seeing how the Everglades restoration projects we began years ago are coming to fruition, seeing what things we still have yet to do … and making sure that going into this upcoming session I have a good grasp on the needs of our farmers,” she said.

Katie was born and raised in my old home town of Plantation, Florida and was executive director of the Dade County Farm Bureau before embarking on her political career. She is pictured here on the left next to Barb Miedema with the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, one of the local folks who helped CTIC organize the tour and an old friend from our days covering agriculture in the state. It was great to see them both again.

I talked with Katie about a number of topics, including the attitude of the Florida legislature toward agriculture and her thoughts about the Waters of the United States proposal. “I like having control of the waters of our state, I like working with our industry, our utilities, our farmers at the regional level,” she said. “I think when you give up that much autonomy to somebody in Washington DC that does not know the intricacies of your local environment, you have given up everything.”

Interview with Florida state rep Katie Edwards

2014 CTIC Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

Audio, Conservation, CTIC, Government, Water Cindy ZimmermanFlorida State Rep on CTIC Tour

Pacific Ag Provides Farmers with More Value

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Bill Levy Pacific AgLast week Abengoa’s cellulosic ethanol biorefinery went online and is expected to produce 25 million gallons of advanced ethanol per year as well as 21 MW of bioenergy. But how exactly does the corn and wheat residue get from the fields to the biorefinery in a economical and efficient way? Enter Pacific Ag.

The company was founded by Bill Levy in 1998 and began by baling residue for growers and using the biomass for animal feed both in the U.S. and internationally. It was a natural progression for Pacific Ag to get involved in cellulosic production in the U.S. and to become a major supplier to the industry.

I asked Levy to talk about their residue removal model. He noted that since their inception, they have always focused on having a balanced residue program for growers and they are finding value for those products for them. So taking their successful model from the Northwest and applying it to the Midwest was a good fit. “The fundamentals of having residue removed on a timely basis and in a sustainable way is really the same,” explained Levy. Today they are in California, North Carolina, Iowa, Kansas and he says they have innovated to become “energy balers” because of the new bioenergy market for residue.

It’s very easy for a grower to work with Pacific Ag. Levy explained that if a grower has five circles of corn, for example, he/she can call Pacific Ag after harvest and they will schedule a time for them to come in and bale the biomass. “We have a very predictable payment schedule. You get 50 percent when the stack is created and 50 percent when the stack moves,” explained Levy. He said they also have a great paperwork system to track all the bales, the tons and their movement.

Pacific Ag Hugoton Kansas teamHe added that what’s nice is to have growers contact them early to let them know how many circles they want harvested because they put so much effort into planning for the season but a grower can add circles after he sees the value of Pacific Ag and his neighbor can call after he harvests his field when he sees the significant revenue stream the biomass provides others.

“And I think as the world starts to look at renewable energy, I think agriculture is going to be the benefactor,” added Levy.

Pacific Ag is looking for growers of rice, wheat, corn and other biomass crops who are interested in working with them. As the markets for biomass continue to explode, Pacific Ag is ready to be the partner to help make the growers who plant the bioenergy crops, successful.

Learn more about Pacific Ag and how to become involved in the biomass energy revolution by listening to my interview with Bill Levy: Interview with Bill Levy, Pacific Ag

Abengoa Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Grand Opening photo album.

Agribusiness, Audio, Biofuels, biomass, Feed Joanna SchroederPacific Ag Provides Farmers with More Value

Registration for BASF Xanthion™ In-furrow Fungicide

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Corn growers now have access to a first-in-its-class in-furrow fungicide for 2015.

basf-logoBASF Xanthion™ In-furrow fungicide has received Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration for use on corn.

According to BASF, Xanthion will provide corn growers with an additional tool to protect their seed investment and maximize yield potential in the 2015 season. “Different than other early season crop management treatments, Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides extended residual control by forming a protective sheath around the roots. This can lead to healthier plants later in the season,” says Justin Clark, BASF Technical Market Specialist.

Field research trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. In research trials, corn plants treated with Xanthion In-furrow fungicide increased emergence by 5.2 percent compared to the untreated check.

Xanthion In-furrow fungicide is the first fungicide on the market to combine a chemical fungicide and a biofungicide. This combination fungicide, which contains the same active ingredients as in Headline® fungicide and Integral® biofungicide, provides two modes of action to protect growers’ seed investment by improving seedling health.

Agribusiness, BASF, Corn, Crop Protection Cindy ZimmermanRegistration for BASF Xanthion™ In-furrow Fungicide

Learn More About Plant Sap Analysis

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Michelle Gregg is the Executive Director for Crop Health Laboratories (CHL) and Leah spoke with her about the new company’s upcoming event and opportunities they have for growers across the country. Part of CHL’s business model is using an existing technology that is new to North America. This new technology is called plant sap analysis which offers a different management option for growers.

The Power Growers Seminar will take place Nov. 7 & 8 in Santa Clara, CA. The educational event will introduce plant sap analysis to growers. Along with data that have been collected through the first year’s trials across North America is various crops.

“The results are really promising especially for greenhouse producers and those who have year-round production models. The purpose of the seminar is to provide connectivity to university researchers, specialty growers and consultants. Allowing them to come together at the same table, have limited and exclusive access to our pilot data, comment and ask questions on the system and give us feedback so we can make the best program possible.”

The Netherlands-based company, NovaCropControl, has been utilizing this technology for 10 years. Michelle says they deserve the credit for creating the technology. There has been significant response to this technology in Europe and Netherlands, which has a high population of greenhouse production.

Michelle said the seminar will truly introduce growers to the concept of having ultimate control of your crops nutrient management program. CHL really wants to gather the perspectives from producers on the East and West coasts, from Canada and everywhere in between.

“We are humbled by some of the responses we are getting. Granted this is our first year in North America, the main responses we are getting is ‘this program really allows me to critically evaluate my nutrient management and verify that what I am putting on my soil is really reaching the target tissue.’ That is one of the benefits of analyzing the sap verses analyzing the tissue itself. You can collect the nutrient information prior to metabolism by the plant.”

Stay tuned for our full coverage of the Power Growers Seminar in just a few weeks. For more information on the event visit www.crophealthlabs.com/sap-analysis-seminar/. Listen to Leah’s complete interview with Michelle here: Interview with Michelle Gregg, Crop Health Laboratories

Agribusiness, Audio, Events, Precision Agriculture, Technology Jamie JohansenLearn More About Plant Sap Analysis

Zimfo Bytes

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

Zimfo Bytes

  • The National Corn Growers Association and BASF Corporation will again award five $1,000 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field during the 2015-16 school year.
  • On Nov. 7, Agriculture Future of America will honor two men who have demonstrated this spirit of innovation throughout their careers and have actively given back to benefit the next generation of agriculture leaders.
  • Zoetis welcomes Megan DeRose to its U.S. Cattle and Equine Marketing Team as marketing manager, responsible for the U.S. Dairy Anti-Infective and HOOF-TEC™product portfolios.
  • Michael Cavallero, retired President of North American Tropical Fresh Fruit for Dole Fresh Fruit Company, will be the 2015 honoree at the Produce Legends Dinner during the United Fresh Midwinter Leadership Forum January 13-15, at the La Quinta Resort and Club, in La Quinta, CA.
Zimfo Bytes Talia GoesZimfo Bytes

Corn Growers in the Sunbelt

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ncga-sunbeltThe National Corn Growers Association had a presence last week at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia for the first time.

NCGA president Chip Bowling of Maryland visited with attendees at the event, including USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden who grew up on a Georgia peanut farm, and got to see some crops he doesn’t normally see. “I got to see some cotton and a few peanuts,” Bowling told Randall Weiseman with Southeast AgNet during an interview at Sunbelt.

Bowling noted that corn acreage has been increasing in the southeast. “In the last couple years, when corn prices shot up there for awhile, we started seeing more corn acres in the south,” he said. “We are growing a fair amount now – about a billion and a half bushels – which is way up from what it used to be.”

Listen to Randall’s interview with Chip here: Southeast AgNet interview with NCGA president Chip Bowling

Audio, Corn, NCGA, Sunbelt Ag Expo Cindy ZimmermanCorn Growers in the Sunbelt

2014 World Food Prize Honors Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The 2014 World Food Prize was awarded on World Food Day, October 16, 2014 to Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, a wheat breeder who has developed more than 400 varieties of the crop. Born in a small village in India and now citizen of Mexico, Dr. Rajaram conducted the majority of his research in Mexico at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

World Food PrizeDr. Rajaram’s scientific research led to a prodigious increase in world wheat production – by more than 200 million tons. His crossing of winter and spring wheat varieties, which were distinct gene pools that had been isolated from one another for hundreds of years, led to his development of plants that have higher yields and dependability under a wide range of environments around the world. He also developed wheat varieties resistant to the rust disease that can wipe out entire fields, thus protecting the world’s food supply.

“This award honors the resilience and innovative spirit of farmers in the developing world and the national agricultural systems,” Dr. Rajaram said as he accepted the award. “Without their contributions my research would not have been possible. The mission was – and the mission remains – to serve them.”

As the World Food Prize culminates the centennial year of its founder and Dr. Rajaram’s mentor, Dr. Norman Borlaug, it is especially fitting to recognize the impact of Dr. Rajaram’s achievements.

“Dr. Rajaram worked closely with Dr. Borlaug, succeeding him as head of the wheat breeding program at CIMMYT in Mexico, and then carried forward and expanded upon his work, breaking new ground with his own invaluable achievements. His breakthrough breeding technologies have had a far-reaching and significant impact in providing more food around the globe and alleviating world hunger,” said Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, President of The World Food Prize. “Dr. Borlaug himself called Dr. Rajaram ‘the greatest present-day wheat scientist in the world’ and ‘a scientist of great vision.’ It is an honor to recognize Dr. Rajaram today for his development of an astounding 480 varieties of wheat, bred to offer higher yields, resistance to the catastrophic rust disease, and that thrive in a wide array of climates.”

Award, Food, Wheat, World Food Prize Joanna Schroeder2014 World Food Prize Honors Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram

NCGA Staffer on CTIC Tour

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

2014 CTIC Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

Many of the participants at last week’s CTIC Conservation in Action tour of the Florida Everglades Agricultural area were from the Midwest and they were very interested in some of the very different crop production they saw in the Sunshine State.

ctic-14-ncgaCTIC board member and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Soil Health and Sustainability Manager Nick Goeser was amazed by the sugarcane planting and harvesting he saw. “It’s incredible,” he said. “It’s different (compared to corn) but the level of mechanization is very similar, the level of farm management, the precision involved – it’s amazing.”

Farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) have implemented some very successful best management practices to protect the important ecosystem that provides the water supply for much of the state. “A lot of the management issues are similar,” said Goeser. “We learned they had about a 55% reduction in phosphorus, which is huge.”

Goeser says what farmers have been able to accomplish in the EAA can serve as a conservation case study for farmers in other parts of the country.

Listen to my interview with Nick here and watch some of the sugarcane harvest in the video below: Interview with Nick Goeser, NCGA

Audio, Conservation, Corn, CTIC, Harvest, NCGA, Video Cindy ZimmermanNCGA Staffer on CTIC Tour

Raising Cane in the Everglades

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

2014 CTIC Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

ctic-14-cane-plantingPlanting at U.S. Sugar Corporation is done with precision, as we found out on the 2014 CTIC Conservation in Action tour last week in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

Steven Stiles, U.S. Sugar farm manager, says cane is a “ratoonable crop” which refers to the stalks that are called ratoons and normally one planting lasts about four years. “The production goes on a linear decline,” he said, with each successive year producing a little less than the year before. Instead of seeds, they plant 2-3 foot cuttings of cane stalk called billets from which the plants sprout.

Stiles explained how they “laser level” and “table top” the fields before planting which helps them in the event of excessive rainfall and flooding. “And when it’s dry…if it’s flat you get a more consistent irrigation job,” he said.

U.S. Sugar’s precision ag manager Scott Berden says they use GPS and auto steer on their planters, as well as rear-mounted cameras so the operator can see how the planting is going behind him. The whole system is monitored by computer through a private on-farm wireless network. “We’re looking at engine health, telematics data on the field, as well as all the field data,” said Berden.

Listen to Steve and Scott explain here or below in the video: Steve Stiles and Scott Berden with U.S. Sugar

Audio, Conservation, CTIC, Sustainability, Video Cindy ZimmermanRaising Cane in the Everglades