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Zimfo Bytes

  • In-line with company expansion and a customer-centered focus, Verdesian Life Sciences names Amy Bugg as vice president of communications.
  • The American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Rebecca Mettler of Sarcoxie, Missouri, as editorial content coordinator and Megan Slater of Longmont, Colorado as public relations coordinator.
  • American Agri-Women (AAW) presented Orion Samuelson with its VERITAS award at its 39th annual convention, held recently in College Corner, Ohio.
  • United Fresh Produce Association welcomes Jessica Mosley as Director of Education.
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2015 Ag Media Summit Logo

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Ag Media Summit 2015Looks like a hot time in Arizona next year for the Ag Media Summit.

Introducing the 2015 logo for Ag Media Summit in Scottsdale. Plan to join us as we blaze our trails to Arizona! July 25-29, 2015 – Hyatt Gainey Ranch. Congratulations to designer, Sherry Peterson, EDJE Technologies for her creativity and the winner of our logo competition.

The Agricultural Media Summit is the largest gathering of crop and livestock publications professionals in the U.S. It’s brought to you by three organizations — the Livestock Publications Council (LPC), the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) and the ABM Agri Council.

The AMS mission establishes four specific elements:

To provide professional development and educations opportunities for all of our members.
To provide networking opportunities for members of AAEA, LPC and ABM and other organizations in the ag industry.
To promote, support and enhance the the viability of ag media as an effective and efficient communications medium.
To showcase the ag media industry through seminars and trade shows.

Ag Media Summit

12 Days of Christmas Sale for Collegiate Congress

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

2015 National Collegiate CongressThere is a 12 Days of Christmas Sale going on courtesy of the AgChat Foundation. This is for the January National Collegiate Congress. Maybe this would be a great gift for the budding agvocate in your life! Here are some details:

The National Collegiate Congress is a social media and agvocacy training workshop scheduled for January 17, 2015 at Dow AgroSciences’ headquarters in Indianapolis, with an optional day of touring at Fair Oaks Farms on January 18 [FAQ].

The agenda includes sessions on what blogging means today, balancing social and professionalism, and connecting with commodity groups. In addition, there is a panel discussion with non-agriculture students majoring in nutrition, social work, and hospitality sharing their perspective on what they see and hear about agriculture.

Collegiate Congress 12 DaysA State of Agvocacy Address will be given in two parts: Taylor Truckey sharing the collegiate level point of view & Mark Gale will follow with a State of Agvocacy Address on post college.

January 18th is the optional trip to Fair Oaks Farms to learn how they are using farm adventure entertainment to engage people as they stop by for refreshments and stay to learn more about farming through dairy cows and pigs.

How can you help? Share with your friends on Twitter or Facebook what the National Collegiate Congress is about and where to register.

The 12 Days of Christmas promotion is going on December 12 through 24, where people who register get 12% off the January 17 ticket price and $15 off the AgChat National Conference in the Fall of 2015.

AgChat, Education

Tax Extenders Package Passed

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

senateFollowing the recent action by the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate on Tuesday evening passed the package of tax incentives for 2014 that will expire once again in just two weeks.

Noting the short term nature of the legislation, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said, “With this tax bill, the Congress is turning in its tax homework 11 months late…The legislation accomplishes nothing for 2015.”

But farmers and ranchers are happy about it for now since the package includes items such as section 179 expensing and bonus depreciation important for buying farm equipment. “Today’s passage of the tax extenders bill is a welcome relief to farmers as we close our books on 2014,” said American Soybean Association president Wade Cowan of Texas.

Cowan notes that the package also includes language from the House’s Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act with a provision to increase the barge fuel fee by nine cents a gallon to fund needed waterways infrastructure projects. The fee, which is supported by those in the waterways industry, dedicates funds to new waterways infrastructure construction and major rehabilitation of the inland waterways system through the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.

The bill now goes to the president who is expected to sign it.

Government, Soybean

GROWMARK Essay Contest to Teach Ag, Writing Skills

John Davis Leave a Comment

growmarklogoAgribusiness GROWMARK is once again sponsoring its annual essay contest with the goals of helping young people develop their writing skills, learning about current issues affecting agriculture, and understanding the unique role of cooperatives. In its 22nd year, the theme for the 2015 GROWMARK Essay Contest is: “Exploring Careers in Agriculture,” and it’s open to all high school FFA members in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

This year, students are asked to choose a career in agriculture, find someone currently working in that career, and conduct an interview. Students then will write their essays about that career and the details of their interview.

Essays should be approximately 500 words, typed and double-spaced. The postmarked entry deadline for Iowa FFA members is February 13. The postmarked entry deadline for Illinois and Wisconsin FFA members is March 13. Additional program details have been sent to agriculture teachers and are online at www.growmark.com (click on Our Commitments/Youth & Young Farmers/Essay Contest).

“Agriculture is a thriving industry in America, and there are a wide variety of career paths young people could pursue,” said Karen Jones, GROWMARK cooperative affairs and communications specialist. “By conducting a personal interview with someone already involved in a field of interest, students will learn more details about career opportunities and begin to form a professional network.”

Each state’s winner will get a $500 award and the winner’s FFA chapter will receive a $300 award. Four runners-up per state each win $125 awards.

Agribusiness, GROWMARK

BASF Highlights Compostable Polymers at CSS

Leah Guffey Leave a Comment

asta-css-14-basf-ruthBASF has a biodegradable solution for plastics with ecovio® and ecoflex® technology.

Ruth Watts, product marketing manager for BASF’s Biopolymers Group in North America, was at last week’s ASTA CSS & Seed Expo demonstrating the use of this type of packaging for agricultural applications. “This (ecovio) is new technology by BASF,” Watts explained, adding that ecoflex was the very first polymer presented to the market in 1998. “They then involved the compounding of polylactic acids, which is now branded as ecovio.”

One application for ecovio is a mulch product. “It’s formulated so that when the farmer’s at the end of the harvest season, they get the functionality of weed control and moisture enhancement, and instead of having to worry about pulling it up, we encourage them to till it under the soil,” said Watts. “Then it will break down and become biomass, CO2, and water.”

Listen to Ruth talk more about uses for these compostable polymers in this interview – and see them on display at the BASF Commodity Classic exhibit in 2015: Ruth Watts, BASF

2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album

Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by
Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by the American Seed Trade Association and Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by BASF Ag Products
ASTA, Audio, BASF, biobased

ASTA Seed Foundation Update

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

asta-foundationFirst the Seed Foundation (FTSF) is a not-for-profit organization established in 2008 by the American Seed Trade Association with a focus on attracting bright young minds to the industry.

“The seed industry is an exciting, dynamic, high tech industry,” said Foundation chairman Bud Hughes of Verdant Partners during an update at CSS 2014 and Seed Expo last week. “We want people to see that whether their interest is marketing and communications, or computer skills, or back to being a biologist or a plant breeder, that there are many different careers available in this industry.”

asta-css-14-foundationHughes says they have taken on several major initiatives over the past six years, with funding by industry participants. “We’ve put together a product we call ‘Grow’ which is a career kit aimed at high school students,” said Hughes, adding that the program has already reached an estimated 500,000 students.

Another project they call “TomatoSphere” which was originally developed in Canada and is aimed at elementary and middle school students. “TomatoSphere takes tomato seeds as an example of a biology project and puts them into the classroom,” he said.

The Foundation has just developed a seed specific school curriculum for teachers, called “Planting the Seed,” based on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) system. And they also have a Seed Ambassadors program which encourages industry professionals to be spokespersons at their local schools.

Hughes says FTSF has grown to the point now where they have hired their first full-time administrator, Jim Reynolds, who is a former educator, coach and high school principal.

Learn more about FTSF from their website and in this update from Hughes at CSS.
Bud Hughes, First the Seed Foundation chairman

2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album

Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by
Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by the American Seed Trade Association and Coverage of CSS 2014 and Seed Expo brought to you by BASF Ag Products
ASTA, Audio, Education, Seed

More Renewable Energy Means Healthier Forests

John Davis 1 Comment

usda-logoHarvesting biomass from forests is not only helping those forests’ health, it’s helping the country achieve energy independence. This news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) has removed 200,000 tons of biomass that could have been a fire risk and was turned into biofuels.

“This initiative helps to retrieve forest residues that are a fire risk, but otherwise are costly to remove,” said [Agriculture Secretary Tom] Vilsack. “In just three months, working with private partners across the country, the program helped to reduced fire, disease and insect threats while providing more biomass feedstock for advanced energy facilities.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency administered the program earlier this year. Eligible farmers, ranchers or foresters participating in BCAP received a payment to partially offset the cost of harvesting and delivering forest or agricultural residues to a qualified energy facility. Up to $12.5 million is available each year for biomass removal.

This past summer, 19 energy facilities in 10 states participated in the program.

Biofuels, biomass, USDA

Get ARC Activities on 2015 Calendar

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Agricultural Relations CouncilWe’ve got a lot of activities on our 2015 calendar and here are a few more we need to add. How about getting them on your calendar? Agricultural Relations Council President Mike Opperman says he is expecting continued growth in the next year.

The board also developed and put into place a strategic plan that will help guide future ARC growth. A significant part of that future growth, and a strong goal for 2015, is to continue to grow our membership. While membership programs will help make that happen, membership benefits are what bring value to your investment in ARC. We are looking forward to more professional development opportunities in 2015 through webinars, information on the ARC website, another terrific annual meeting program and other resources to help you grow your skill set.

January 30, 2015
Golden ARC Contest Early Bird Deadline

March 1, 2015
Applications due for Scholarship Program for University Students Studying Ag Communications

March 6, 2015
Golden ARC Contest Final Deadline

March 15, 2015
Applications due for New Inductees of Ag PR Hall of Fame

June 24-26, 2015
ARC Annual Meeting
The Magnolia Hotel
Denver, Colorado

July 27-28, 2015
ARC/AMS Silent Auction
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale, AZ

Ag Group, ARC

GOP Senate Ag Committee Members Named

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

republican-senateThe new Republican majority Senate has made committee assignments for the 114th Congress.

For the Agriculture Committee, the new faces are Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Joni Ernst of Iowa, David Perdue of Georgia and Thom Tillis of North Carolina – all newly elected senators. Retired senators include Republicans Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and Democrat Tom Harkin of Iowa – all three states that now have new senators on the committee.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas is expected to become the new chairman while current ranking member Thad Cochran of Mississippi becomes Appropriations Committee chair. Remaining Republicans assigned to the ag committee include returning Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, John Boozman of Arkansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota; Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and John Thune of South Dakota

The assignments are subject to ratification by the Republican Conference as well as the full Senate.