Clariant Will Be at #ASTACSS

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Clariant at 2016 ASTA annual meeting in Portland, OR

Clariant at 2016 ASTA annual meeting in Portland, OR

Clariant will be adding some new color to the ASTA CSS 2016 & Seed Expo, December 5-9 at the Chicago Hyatt Regency, featuring its full range of Agrocer™ seed pigments and pigment preparations, the first dedicated range of colorants for the agricultural industry.

Mark Self, Market Segment Manager, says they will be a first time exhibitor at the expo this year. “We look forward to introducing seed industry professionals to the benefits of using our line of Agrocer colorants, especially our pigment preparations,” he said. Clariant also had an exhibit at the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) annual meeting in Portland this summer for the first time.

Agrocer colorants are available in both pigment powders and pigment preparations, have been fully tested for seed safety, and meet all pertinent regulations. We learned more about Agrocer in a recent interview with AgWired and we look forward to seeing them next week.

ASTA, Events, Seed

#ARA2016 in Full Swing

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

2016 ARA ConferenceThe Agricultural Retailers Association Conference & Expo started off with yesterday’s annual golf tournament and is in full swing today with a general session followed by breakout sessions in two tracks, Operations and Executive.

Once again the conference chair is Leroy Startz, ING Capital, who has chaired the conference for the past eight years. I visited with him today before the opening session to learn about this year’s hot topics. “Lot of activity going on in the mergers and acquisitions world – how is that going to impact the retailers with regard to supply chain and product availability?” said Startz. “We’re also focused on regulatory issues, talent, and networking.”

Startz says they have several first time exhibitors in the new technology area of the Expo this year. “There’s a lot more technology, a lot more use of drones,” he said. “The real key is what type of services they can provide through the retailer and how measurable is that going to be.”

You can listen to my interview with Leroy here: Interview with Leroy Startz, ING Capital

Lots of photos being uploaded here: 2016 ARA Conference & Expo Photo Album

Coverage of the ARA Conference and Expo is sponsored by Coverage of the ARA Conference and Expo is sponsored by FMCCoverage of the ARA Conference and Expo is sponsored by Ag Retailers Association
ARA, Audio

Company Culture Can Greatly Influence Productivity

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

why-company-culture-mattersAuthor Maggie Hammond, special to AgWired

More and more companies – including many agriculture companies big and small – are realizing the importance of having a strong and positive company culture. A good company culture can turn employees into brand ambassadors, improve productivity and create a pleasant working environment for everyone involved in the business. Washington State University compiled a very good set of insights on corporate culture, explaining how it can greatly influence productivity.

Employees who are happy with the company’s culture are more likely to be up to 70% more productive. They also have better chances of improving themselves for the benefit of the business, including by taking online MBA programs and other courses to improve their skills. More importantly, being in a suitable environment can help boost employees’ level of initiatives and creative thinking.

The same set of studies also reveal how being in line with the company’s culture can help employees serve customers better. You can find out more about Why Company Culture Matters from the published infographic by Washington State University’s MBA program. Click here to view the full infographic.

*Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organizations.

Agribusiness, Education, Jobs

CommonGround Celebrates Six Years

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

commongroundCommonGround is celebrating its sixth year of connecting urban and suburban women with farm women who wish to tell the story of agriculture. The program, supported with checkoff dollars from the National Corn Growers Association of and the United Soybean Board, began with 15 female farmer volunteers from five states. Now the program boasts nearly 200 farm women from 19 states, including two of your AgWired editors.

Despite the growth, the focus is still the same: finding ways to have conversations surrounding the job of growing food.

Direct family and friends to the Facebook page to ask their questions bout farming.

Ag Group, ASA, NCGA

Big Year for Deere

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

nafb-16-deere-felterIt’s been a big year for John Deere, as Product Marketing Manager Doug Felter can tell you. For starters, there was the addition of the Nutrient Applicator – a first for Deere. Growers and retailers are already putting it to good use this fall, applying P&K, among other nutrients.

The exact apply nozzle is another advancement for the company. “It gives you a lot better control over the output,” Felter explained at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk. “If we think about conventional systems today, if you’re trying to maximize that sprayer you can go 20 to 25 miles per hour sometimes, but there are also those parts of the field where you have to go slower to turn around or maybe for a waterway. […]It’s very critical to get the right droplet, to make sure it gets to the crop and does what it needs to do, and also that it doesn’t go into another field or something with these chemistries we’ve got. So it’s a unique tool to help us manage that.”

Row Sense and Auto Track Vision are another upgrade to the sprayer. While auto track has become common place, the sprayer is a bit of a different animal, since it goes through the field after the crop is up. Auto Track Vision uses the crop to center itself in corn, soybeans or cotton. The joint venture with Hagie was a major step forward as well, since Deere customers now have access to pretty much any application equipment you could want. The tools are in the portfolio, Felter says, and a local John Deere dealer can help you find what you need for your operation.

Listen to Felter’s interview here: Interview with Doug Felter, John Deere

NAFB Convention Photo Album

Audio, Equipment, John Deere

#HamsAcrossAmerica Encourages Giving

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-1-58-22-pmThis Giving Tuesday, the Pork Checkoff is encouraging pig farmers to pay-it-forward with a new holiday campaign called #HamsAcrossAmerica. This first annual event encourages farmers and others involved in the pork industry to show their appreciation for friends, family and neighbors through the gift of ham – in the form of gifts or donations of ham or ham-based products.

“For pig farmers, volunteering at community events and participating in local fundraisers, has always been a part of what makes us who we are,” said Brad Greenway, 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, from Mitchell, South Dakota. “Hams Across America allows farmers to not only live the “We Care” ethical principles, but also share their love of the product that they produce.”

Pig farmers are encouraged to extend Giving Tuesday through Dec. 23 with Hams Across America by simply purchasing a gift of ham and paying-it-forward. Participants are also encouraged to share their pay-it-forward stories on social media using #RealPigFarming and #HamsAcrossAmerica.

Ag Group, Food, Pork, Swine

Demand for #Ag Management Specialists Increasing

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Author Maggie Hammond, special to AgWired

The economy is improving rapidly these past couple of years, with agriculture being one of the industries that powered the shift towards a better economy in general. The industry itself is expanding rapidly. Larger corporations with multiple farms and ranches across the country, along with smaller farms and family-owned businesses, are bumping up production and meeting both domestic and international demands. The shift has resulted in an increased demand for agriculture management specialists.

The Business Side of the Industry
Online Education Technology Student Graphic ConceptAgriculture is an industry with two sides to cover. The production side is usually filled with those specializing in agriculture in particular, including those with extensive knowledge in agriculture products and how they are produced. Stakeholders are pushing this side of the industry like never before, with products like beans, cucumbers and berries being more popular than ever. On the other hand, specialists with extensive knowledge in marketing, business administration and similar skills are needed to keep the business rolling and profitable. As mentioned before, the demand for agriculture management specialists is increasing because both corporations and individual producers are looking to expand and take advantage of the growing market.

Management Skills and Business Administration
A lot of farm and ranch owners are taking online masters in business administration degrees to help them better understand the business side of agriculture. In many other cases, family members or company employees are being encouraged to take the same course in order to support the increase in production.

Interestingly, pursing the necessary skills and knowledge in business administration is easier than ever. Universities such as Villanova University are opening their own MBA program online, allowing students from different parts of the country to pursue a master’s degree in business administration without quitting their full-time job or leaving the family farm or ranch.

These courses are allowing even the smallest family farm to expand and take advantage of the growing market. The course itself also allows students to expand their network and meet new, potential contacts in the industry. Since the degree – and the knowledge associated with it – focuses on more than just business administration, there are a lot of valuable skills to pick up along the way.

Read More

Agribusiness, Agriculture Education, Jobs

Pastures For Pollinators is a Winner

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

pastures-for-pollinators-logoA new clover seed mixture developed by Grassland Oregon (GO) is a win-win for livestock producers and the environment.

Pastures for Pollinators is a seed blend including a variety of flowering annual clovers that could help enhance pollinator habitat nationwide, according to GO co-founder Risa DeMasi.

nafb-16-risa“There are 400 million acres of pasture ground in the U.S., and it happens to sit right in the corridor where pollinators are migrating,” said DeMasi during an interview at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual Trade Talk. “Using these clovers we can add things that are good for livestock, good for the soil, good for the pollinators, good for the environment and also can produce good returns for farmers.”

As part of their commitment to sustainable farming practices, DeMasi says Pastures for Pollinators will be donating the profits from the program towards sustainable pasture management research.

GO has been researching and developing pollinator-friendly varieties of cover crops for the past 15 years, and the company believes the products offer benefits for livestock, pollinators, and the environment while simultaneously producing good returns for growers.

“Products like our cold tolerant clovers are producing incredible amounts of nitrogen for farmers to help bring up nutrients from deep within the soil, and it provides an excellent habitat for pollinators,” said DeMasi.

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Risa DeMasi, Grassland Oregon

Learn more at

NAFB Convention Photo Album

Coverage of NAFB Convention is sponsored by Coverage of NAFB Convention is sponsored by BASF
Audio, cover crops, Forage, pollinators, Seed

Farm Foundation Forum on New Farm Bill

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

farmfoundationlogo3The current Farm Bill may not expire for two years yet but the process of making a new one is already starting to get in motion.

The “Next Farm Bill: What are the Agendas?” will be the topic for the Farm Foundation® Forum this Wednesday, November 30. Invited to present perspectives from their respective stakeholder groups are:

• Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives;
• Scott Faber, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Environmental Working Group; and
• Daren Bakst, Agricultural Research Policy Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Farm Foundation President Constance Cullman will moderate the discussion, which will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. EST at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. A free live audiocast will also be available. There is no charge to participate in the forum, but registration is requested.

Farm Bill, Farm Foundation

#IFAJ17 Heading to South Africa

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ifaj-2017“Africa – it’s time” is the theme for the 2017 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) World Congress April 2-8 in Gauteng- and the Western Cape of South Africa.

Why South Africa? For the world to feed the estimated population of 9 billion people by 2050, an increase of at least 70% in production will be required. At present the African population is over one billion and all eyes are on the continent to feed its growing population, more so because of its available resources.

South Africa is the gateway to the rest of Africa. African agriculture and the industry is increasingly depending on South Africa to lead the way. This makes South African agriculture a challenging but rewarding industry – an industry that has a wealth of experience and information to offer members of the IFAJ.

Details can be found at

Events, IFAJ