- Corn farmers and Midwest landowners who want to help honey bees and Monarch butterflies have a unique opportunity to do this in a strategic fashion through The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund’s SEED A LEGACY Pollinator Habitat Program, which is being supported by the National Corn Growers Association. The updated program, expanded in 2018 to include 11 states, seeks partnerships between landowners and beekeepers to provide cost-effective, high-quality pollinator habitat to ensure honey bee and Monarch butterfly populations thrive. Applications for each state are being accepted online at BeeAndButterflyFund.org/habitat-programs through March 31, 2018 for spring planting. A second application period will open later in 2018 for projects to be planted in the fall.
- AgGateway has submitted its proposed irrigation data exchange standard to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, a major achievement in precision agriculture to help growers manage data from their irrigation management systems. Equipment manufacturers and software companies can go to https://goo.gl/ZCyuwU for more information. More on AgGateway activities, including how to become involved, can be found at www.AgGateway.org.
- For the second straight year, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers is working to help member companies discover and manage those opportunities through its Thinking Forward series of events. This year’s kick-off event is set for April 3rd from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carnegie Mellon University – National Robotics Engineering Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- NRCS is seeking assistance to complete restoration work of degraded wetlands, floodplains and forestlands. Proposals are requested from qualified individuals and organizations to implement restoration activities on eligible easement properties.
- A new ag company, Pairwise Plants, has closed a $25M Series A financing co-led by Deerfield Management and Monsanto Growth Ventures. In addition, Pairwise and Monsanto announced a collaboration to advance agriculture research and development by leveraging gene editing technology for corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and canola crops.
- The National Association of Conservation Districts assembled on Capitol Hill alongside conservation leaders to advocate for locally-led conservation. This year’s fly-in united 150 conservation district officials representing 27 states from across the country. Members met with their representatives to communicate the value of farm bill conservation programs and why funding for these programs and technical assistance is so crucial.
The Trump administration went out of its way to show appreciation for the nation’s farmers and ranchers on National Agriculture Day Tuesday, with proclamation at USDA featuring the vice president, and an address by Sec. Sonny Perdue during a Ag Day at the National Press Club.
Introducing Vice President Mike Pence, Perdue commented that he was happy to be able be there this year since, “last year I was not confirmed by National Ag Day and they had me held hostage at an undisclosed location for three months and they wouldn’t let me come celebrate with you.”
During his comments at the National Press Club, Perdue gave an update on some of the many issues concerning agriculture at this time including a fix to the 199A tax issue, farm bill negotiations, NAFTA and exports, RFS and RIN prices, infrastructure, and more.Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Ag Day Remarks
This morning U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, along with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, presented a proclamation signed by President Trump naming the first day of spring National Ag Day. Cindy was attending and will have more to add later today. The photo is courtesy of @SecretarySonny‘s Twitter account! Also pictured with the proclamation is Spencer Flood, Minnesota FFA.
This year marks the second year that the administration has publicly recognized the first day of spring as National Ag Day as a salute to the contributions of America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.
In his remarks, Vice President Pence highlighted the critically important role America’s farmers and ranchers play in helping to feed, clothe and fuel not only 326 million people in the United States, but millions of people around the world. He applauded the tremendous output and resourcefulness of today’s farmers and ranchers, noting that one farmer today producers enough to feed 165 people, and that American’s spend far less for food compared to other countries – just 10 percent of their disposable income.
Listen here: Vice President Mike Pence Ag Day Remarks
Watch USDA’s abbreviated video of the proceedings:
With another growing season approaching, growers all over the country will have to make decisions about using fungicides. And no two years are alike, with varying environmental conditions and stress factors that can lead to an increase in pathogens being present.
“The first line of defense is choosing a good hybrid or variety that is going to be tolerant to your key diseases in your area. And that can be different. It’s going to be different all the way from the Midwest to the South,” said Matt Wiggins, technical service manager with FMC.
Wiggins said timely scouting is also important as growers really have to be proactive or preventative rather than reactive. He recommended Preemptor for Midwest growers and Topguard EQ for those located in the South. Wiggins said FMC will launch a new fungicide in 2019.
Listen to Jamie’s interview with Matt here: Interview with Matt Wiggins, FMC Corporation
View and download photos from the event here: 2018 Farm & Gin Show Photo Album
GROWMARK and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently signed a national Memorandum of Understanding to further sound agronomic and conservation practices.
Ryan White, Dir. of Agronomy Marketing and Agronomy Information Services for GROWMARK, says the MOU is about the GROWMARK system commitment to working with farmers in a profitable and sustainable way. “We both have the same customer and that is the farmer so we look at it as an opportunity to learn from each other using good agronomic principles and conservation practices,” he said.
Under the national agreement, GROWMARK and its FS companies in Iowa are initially working with the Iowa NRCS on these activities through a state contribution agreement that will provide an opportunity to pilot the effort before replicating in other states. The effort will build on initiatives started by Bill Northey when he was Iowa Agriculture Secretary, and will continue under his leadership now at USDA where NRCS falls under his mission area as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service, soon to be renamed Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.
“We’re very excited with Bill’s confirmation and a lot this comes back to Bill’s vision of seeing more private and public partnerships in the space of agronomics and conservation coming together,” said White.
Learn more about the effort in this interview: Interview with Ryan White, GROWMARK Agronomy Information Services
Bayer is working to ensure every grower’s portfolio offers significant products to meet the agronomic challenges that may come along. While many growers have already made variety decisions for the 2018 growing season, there is still seed for sale. Bayer’s Monty Malone said Credenz varieties continue to be popular with growers.
“This is a great time to be involved in any kind of trait development in terms of crops. It’s really exciting,” said Malone, who was at the Bayer AgVocacy Forum during the Commodity Classic in Anaheim. “Credenz is focused on LibertyLink. That’s our flagship platform and it will be for the foreseeable future. Over 90 percent of our portfolio is Liberty enabled, that you can spray over the top, and all of the varieties that we plan to add for this next year will be enable by LibertyLink, as well. We hope to add 14 more.”
Malone encouraged farmers to contact a local Bayer sales representative or go to the company’s website for more information about Credenz soybean varieties.
Tailored Credenz Soybean Varieties: Interview with Monty Malone, Bayer CropScience
FMC is protecting the investment of the farmers who trust the company’s products with exciting precision products available for the 2018 growing season.
“FMC is really proud of the product offerings we have for our grower customers for controlling pests, but even more effectively is a way to put it on in a precise way that makes sure all of the grower’s invested dollars get put to work protecting this crop,” said Mike Harper, industry relations manager.
FMC offers a couple of ways to do that, including the 3RIVE 3D platform and PrecisionPac technology. Harper said the 3RIVE 3D system mounts on the planter and applies a precise amount of foam bead into the furrow so the grower is ensured of getting pest control in a low amount of product that is environmentally friendly. Growers can apply almost 490 acres with one fill up, so does not slow down planting process. PrecisionPac is a dry, granular herbicide application metering system that retailers can use. Growers get very precise measurements of product mixed together in a container that can be disposed of after the application.
Harper said both systems offer great customer support and can work within the FMC Freedom Pass program to offer rebates to customers.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Mike here: Interview with Mike Harper, FMC
Registration is now open for the Ag Relations Council 2018 Annual Meeting in Lousville, Kentucky.
The June 20-21 conference at The Brown Hotel will feature presentations on how Monsanto handles social media from ARC member Janice Person, Online Engagement Director, Monsanto; “Truths in a Post-Truth World” from ARC member Colleen Parr Dekker and Leah Beyer, Elanco Animal Health; and “Is It A Facebook Apocalypse?“ from Philip Brown, Deph Digital. Agriculture tours to Hornback Farm, Mulberry Orchard, the Hermitage Thoroughbred Nursery and a distillery in Louisville will also be highlights of this year’s event.
In this episode of the SMART Farmer podcast, we hear from America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, Leon Sheets, who raises 33,000 pigs a year in northeast Iowa along with his wife and son. SMART Farmer podcast listeners may remember that we interviewed last year’s Pig Farmer of the Year Brad Greenway from South Dakota, who also serves as chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).
The annual award is sponsored by the National Pork Board and recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs with an emphasis on animal care and environmental sustainability. Leon was actually the first runner-up last year when Leslie McCuiston was selected for the title, but she had to step down after taking a new position in the ag industry where she does not directly work with pigs, which is obviously the main requirement for Pig Farmer of the Year! But Leon has enthusiastically stepped up to fill the role and you can hear that enthusiasm in this podcast, which was recorded at the recent National Pork Forum.
Download or listen to this podcast here:
SMART Farmer Leon Sheets
- The Dairy Alliance‘s Global Dairy Summit convened state agriculture officials, industry stakeholders and thought leaders from across the Southeast to rally around a plan to reverse the dire economic circumstances facing the 2,000 local, family-owned farms in the Southeast. Since 2010, the U.S. has lost nearly a quarter of its dairy farms nationwide, and the situation is even worse in the Southeast, with a 33% loss. U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) CEO and President Tom Vilsack introduced USDEC’s “Next 5% Plan” that features common sense, proactive measures to reverse the economic tide for dairy farmers by 2025.
- CattleFax celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018. The member-owned organization serves producers in all segments of the cattle and beef business. To view a YouTube video about the CattleFax 50th anniversary, go here.
- The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Stockmanship and Stewardship events provide beef and dairy producers with hands-on training, cattle handling demonstrations, beef quality assurance (BQA) certifications and more. Five regional events have been scheduled for 2018: Aug. 24-25 in Clemson, South Carolina; Sept. 21-22 in Montrose, Colorado; Oct. 5-6 in Stephenville, Texas; Oct. 12-13 in Pasco, Washington; and Dec. 12-13 in Tulare, California (dairy focused event).
- Frank Mitloehner, PhD, will debunk myths about animal agriculture’s environmental impact at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2018 Stakeholders Summit, set for May 3-4, at the Renaissance Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Va. Mitloehner is a professor and extension air quality specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. He is an expert on agricultural air quality, livestock housing and husbandry. To register, visit http://animalagalliance.org/summit.
- Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, the largest egg producer in Michigan, has accepted a 2018 U.S. Poultry & Egg Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award. The Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
- Hiland Dairy is giving away two family vacations to Silver Dollar City. With Hiland Dairy’s #RideWithHiland, which began March 1 and runs through June 30, 2018, Hiland customers and fans have the chance to win one of two prize packages that each include five front-of-the-line park passes to Silver Dollar City, hotel accommodations, a prepaid gas card, free Hiland Dairy products and a cooler to keep them cold. The winners will be announced on July 15, 2018.