Mary Hagan Joins NCGA

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Mary HaganWe welcome Mary Hagan who has been hired as the new Vice President of Communications for the National Corn Growers Association.

“Mary has over 20 years of experience developing and implementing complex communication strategies with high profile agriculture and consumer products companies,” said NCGA Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak. “She excels at collaboratively leading teams in creating communications that drive strategic priorities, moving the needle to positively influence both perceptions and actions. We’re excited to have her as a part of our team.”

Hagan most recently worked as a Managing Director of Osborn Barr, an agriculture-focused ad agency. While there, she was responsible for all communications, including advertising, media, digital marketing, public and media relations, for clients including Michelin, Merck Animal Health, Monsanto and others. Previously, Hagan was a Senior Vice President with the Leo Burnett ad agency in Chicago, where she had various roles in media and account service.

Ag Group, Corn, NCGA

Miss America Visits First Peas to the Table Winner

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Peas_twitter2Congratulations to Carrie Smith’s third-grade class for winning the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s First Peas to the Table Contest.  The third graders from Cason Lane Academy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee will soon be receiving their grand prize– a visit from Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell.

Miss Cantrell joined the Foundation in launching the First Peas to the Table Contest back in February.  The national competition encourages children in kindergarten through fifth grades to plant, raise and harvest peas.

Student teams competed to grow the greatest amount of peas (measured in cups) using no more than 20 pea seeds during the official contest period, March 1 – May 16. Smith’s class harvested 2 cups of peas, as did Sophie Walsky’s Elbert County 4-H Cloverbuds in Elberton, Georgia. The tie between the two teams was broken with a random drawing, after which the Tennessee school was declared the winner.

Thirty-one schools submitted pea measurements, although even more schools participated. Some schools’ peas were not ready to harvest at the end of the contest.

“Getting their hands dirty is the best way for children to learn! We are excited that through this contest, we were able to provide a fun, hands-on learning opportunity for students across the country,” said Julie Tesch, executive director of the Foundation said.  “I’m confident that students will enjoy hearing from Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell about her platform of ‘Healthy Children, Strong America,’ which encourages children to make healthy choices and stay physically active,”

The contests was inspired by the Foundation’s latest Book of the Year.  “First Peas to the Table,” by Susan Grigsby helps students understand the importance of healthy food as well as the science of how plants grow.  The foundation encourages educators to find local farmers and ranchers through the county Farm Bureau office to continue this learning by speaking in the classroom.

AFBF, Ag Group, Contest, Education

The Alltech Idea Man

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

one-alltech-16-229-editedThe idea man himself took time out of his busy schedule to talk about what separates ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference from the many successful symposiums they have held in the past. Dr. Pearse Lyons and his team are always setting the bar a notch higher and seeking something different.

“There is a growing hunger for information in a palatable fashion. There is growing hunger for relevant information. And that is what the ONE is really all about. If you walk out of here with one new idea, if you walk about of here with one new acquaintance it is worth it.”

In 1980 Dr. Lyons said the first slogan Alltech adopted was “marketing through education.” That concept continues to be the driving force behind their success. He said the goal is simple: educate them and then when they go back and use what they have learned, they will think about Alltech.

Alltech doesn’t sweep challenges under the rug. They not only talk about them, they find solutions. Listen to my complete interview with Dr. Lyons to learn about the big challenges hindering growth in the production of animal agriculture and what the future of Alltech looks like to him. Interview with Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech Founder

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Agribusiness, Alltech, Audio

ONE International Welcome Dinner

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

There is never a disappointing moment when you attend an Alltech event and ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference is hitting the mark. A favorite for many is the International Welcome Dinner which featured world-class entertainment, premier dining and international networking opportunities.

This year we again heard from the legendary, Dr. Ronan Tynan, along with Dr. Everett McCorvey, Cynthia Lawrence, Gregory Turay and many other talented musicians. Of course, the night could not end without Dr. Pearse Lyons taking the stage to lead us all in his favorites.

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View and download photos from the event here: 2016 ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Agribusiness, Alltech, Video

Bayer Discusses Bid to Acquire Monsanto

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

bayer-logoTop Bayer company representatives held an international press conference this morning to discuss the contents of its private proposal to acquire Monsanto.
In a May 10 proposal, Bayer made an all-cash offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of Monsanto Company for $122 US per share or an aggregate value of $62 billion.

“We have long respected Monsanto’s business and share their vision to create an integrated business that we believe is capable of generating substantial value for both companies’ shareholders,” said Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG. “Together we would draw on the collective expertise of both companies to build a leading agriculture player with exceptional innovation capabilities to the benefit of farmers, consumers, our employees and the communities in which we operate.”

Liam Condon, head of the Bayer’s Crop Science Division says the transaction would bring together leading Seeds & Traits, Crop Protection, Biologics, and Digital Farming platforms and customers of both companies would benefit from the broad product portfolio and the deep R&D pipeline.

“Faced with the complex challenge of operating in a resource-constrained world with increasing climate volatility, there is a clear need for more innovative solutions that advance the next generation of farming,” said Condon. “By supporting farmers of all sizes on every continent, the combined business would be positioned as the partner of choice for truly integrated, superior solutions.”

Under the proposed transaction, the combined business would have its global Seeds & Traits and North American commercial headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, its global Crop Protection and divisional Crop Science headquarters in Monheim, Germany, and an important presence in Durham, North Carolina, as well as many other locations throughout the U.S. and around the world. Digital Farming for the combined business would be based near San Francisco, California.

Bayer has created a website with additional information. Participants in the press call are Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG; Johannes Dietsch, CFO of Bayer AG; and Liam Condon, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and head of the Crop Science Division.

Listen to the press call here:

Bayer press call on Monsanto bid - opening statements Bayer press call on Monsanto bid - Q&A
Agribusiness, Audio, Bayer, Monsanto

ONE Vision – A Planet of Plenty

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

one-alltech-16-14-editedThis week the AgWired team is in Lexington, Kentucky for ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference. ONE is all about creation and innovation, allowing attendees to engage and interact with mind-expanding visionaries across a range of topics. Attendees come from a wide variety of agricultural sectors, industries, company sizes, and roles, and the educational sessions at ONE are sure to inspire them all.

Sessions range in topics from finance and emerging trends to innovative agriscience to the future of livestock production, with a focus on the conference’s overlying message that we are all connected in our task of feeding a growing world, and that the right ideas can turn every challenge facing the industry into an opportunity for change and growth.

AgWired’s first event at the conference was a guided tour through ONEVision, a 10,000-square-foot interactive digital exhibit that explores the future of global food safety and security as the world approaches a population of 9 billion by 2050. The exhibit highlights some of the major sustainability challenges facing our world today while showcasing some of the ways that Alltech is working to solve them.

Listen to Jamie’s complete interview with Alltech’s Chief Innovation Officer, Aidan Connolly, where he discusses ONEVision and how we can have a planet of plenty. Interview with Aidan Connolly, Alltech

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Agribusiness, Alltech

1st ZimmComm NAFB Foundation Weekend

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

al-sara-beachWe were thrilled to host our good friends from Agri-Pulse this past weekend at our Pensacola beach retreat condo.

Sara Wyant and Al Johnson were the winning bidders for our first ZimmComm weekend getaway at the beach offering at the NAFB Foundation auction last fall. Also joining us were Agri-Pulse Marketing and Sales Association Jason Lutz and his lovely wife Danielle. They had the opportunity to enjoy all that the Pensacola Beach area has to offer, including a trip to the National Naval Aviation Museum and historic Fort Pickens, as well as a fishing trip.

mini-zWe even had a chance to take them to ZimmComm World Headquarters where they got to meet Mini Z – the stranded offspring of our Zimmie the Zebra from NAMA. It also just happened to be Al and Sara’s 12th wedding anniversary.

Our beautiful condo is extremely quiet now after three weeks of guests. Just us here for the next couple of days. But we can live with that and try to get some work done even though the weather is perfect and the gulf couldn’t be calmer. Our new general manager will be moving down later this week so we will be in full force after Memorial Day!

Agri-Pulse, ZimmComm Announcement

Agri-Pulse Poll Shows Growers Ready to Act on Prices

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Soybeans won’t be sitting in the bin much longer, says a new farm opinion survey by Agri-Pulse.  The $2 per bushel rise in market prices has Iowa producers getting rid of last year’s inventory.

agripulse“Thirty-seven percent of respondents said a price of $10.25 would compel them to sell their 2015 crop while another 12 percent said $10.75,” Wyant said. “Ten percent said a price of $11-11.25 would get them to act. About 40 percent of the farmers surveyed preferred not to disclose a price.”

Forty-five percent of 126 farmers surveyed this month by Agri-Pulse said they still have a portion of last year’s soybean crop to sell. When asked what percent of their 2016 crop has been presold, 48 percent said 10 percent or less while another 43 percent said between 10 and 50 percent. Just 8 percent admitted to preselling more than 50 percent of the crop currently being planted.

Today’s prices, however, aren’t enough to convince farmers of a strengthened economy moving forward.  Survey results also showed growers are planning to “tighten their belts” for the third year in a row.  All of the respondents planned to reduce expenses in 2016 and many plan reductions in several areas.  Sixty-three percent expect to reduce purchases of farm equipment, 36 percent will cut back on fertilizer costs, and 28 percent will cut seed expenses, primarily by switching to a cheaper seed variety.

“While most farmers are eternal optimists, a combination of factors involving lower commodity prices, high cash rents and an increasing regulatory burden are still testing our outlook for the remainder of this year and next,” said Iowa Soybean Association President Wayne Fredericks. “Even with a slight uptick in market prices, high input prices remain, squeezing most budgets and making it difficult to avoid red ink.”

A majority of growers (nearly two thirds) expect farmland prices to decline, while cash rent rates haven’t moved.  Not quite half of the survey participants said their landlord were moderately receptive to rent reductions, but 19 percent reported that they are unable to reduce rent payments and 15 percent were unwilling to even try.  Sixty-seven percent of the farmers in the poll said they pay cash for rented farmland.  As optimists, 55 percent of the participants expect rental rates to drop in the future, explaining, perhaps, the 60 percent of growers who are holding on to rented ground despite prices.

The survey also asked growers which national issue was of most concern to them.  Thirty-two percent chose “reducing regulatory burdens, like the Waters of the U.S. rule.”  Twenty one precent were most concerned about the Renewable Fuel Standards and 11 percent selected keeping farm bill safety net programs in place.

The presidential election is also on the radar of growers, with about one third choosing to support Trump, 22 percent wished they could back Kasich and 14 percent miss Cruz.  Eleven percent of respondents said they would be voting for Hillary Clinton; only 2 percent were supporting Sanders.

Agri-Pulse, politics, Soybean

Climate FieldView Helps @GROWMARK Customers

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Growmark_logoClimate Corporation’s Climate FieldView products are among the most exciting innovations that GROWMARK’s Ron Milby has seen come along for agriculture in the past two decades.

“I’ve been involved with precision ag for over 20 years and just having satellite images so you can see what’s going on, that really is a tremendous value,” says Milby, GROWMARK’s executive director for agronomy marketing, who explains that the Climate FieldView suite of products offers three different tiers – Prime, Plus and Pro.

climate-fieldviewMilby says the Climate FieldView Prime is a free offering that provides weather, scouting and alerts. “Climate FieldView Plus allows an in-cab experience,” he said. The Plus product also offers the ability to connect to FieldView Drive, which allows farmers to collect and send data directly from the cab to the cloud.

FieldView Pro takes all that to the highest level, adding advising capabilities for nitrogen, field health, and script creation and Milby says GROWMARK has certified local dealers within the FS System to provide that service for customers and can work cooperatively with a grower’s crop specialist. “We are an integrated partner with them where we can make recommendations through the portal to allow a grower to get scripts that we created,” Milby says. Growers can also allow their crop specialists access to monitor their fields for alerts and help manage their resources.

Milby adds that the Climate FieldView suite of products fit in very well with GROWMARK’s System Sustainability Endure initiative. “We’re really looking for the best management practices that are enduring over time to help keep our farmers profitable,” he said.

Learn more about GROWMARK and Climate FieldView in this interview: Interview with Ron Milby, GROWMARK Agronomy

Audio, FS System, GROWMARK, Precision Agriculture

I AM USFRA – Brad Greenway

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

i-am-usfra-webBrad Greenway of Mitchell, South Dakota owns a wean-to-finish operation that markets 6,400 hogs annually, also raises corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa on 1,700 acres, and is proud to be able to serve as vice chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) to represent the National Pork Board.

“Since I’ve been on the board the last three years, it’s been a tremendous experience,” Brad says. “It’s a huge opportunity to sit on a board with members from all different commodities, all different areas across the U.S.”

usfra-pork-greenwayBrad says that being involved in an organization that encompasses all facets of agriculture gives everyone a big picture view of the industry as a whole. “Serving on a board with so many different perspectives and coming up with issues important to consumers is a huge benefit,” he said.

The National Pork Board was one of the founding members of USFRA with the goal of helping to build consumer trust in food production. “We thought USFRA was a nice fit, coming out with a unified voice (for the industry),” he explained.

USFRA has developed a number of consumer-targeted initiatives in just over five years of existence and Brad says one of his favorites is the Faces of Farming and Ranching, which is a group of young agricultural producers who represent the diversity of the industry. “Getting them out, visiting with consumers, putting them on panels, putting a face on agriculture has been a wonderful program,” he said.

Learn more about Brad and his commitment to USFRA here: Interview with Brad Greenway, South Dakota pork producer

Check out all of our I AM USFRA spotlights here.

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Audio, USFRA