Senate Committee Passes TPA Bill

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

trade-wordsThe Senate Finance Committee yesterday passed Trade Promotion Authority legislation by a vote of 20-6. Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said the action “marks a pivotal moment for international trade policy and reflects years of true bipartisan work.”

“We thank Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation to extend trade promotion authority and working for the strong vote of approval by the committee,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said. “This legislation is critical to making progress on pending negotiations and promises to expand opportunities for increased U.S. agricultural exports.”

Most other agricultural organizations echoed Stallman’s comments, with the notable exception of the National Farmers Union. “(TPA) fails to address our nation’s massive and growing trade deficit or currency manipulation in member countries of TPP negotiations,” said NFU president Roger Johnson. “Congress should maintain its constitutional authority to address these concerns by rejecting TPA legislation that removes it.”

The bill still needs to pass through the Ways and Means Committee on the House side.

AFBF, Government, NFU, Trade

Home Is Where The…Nest Is?

Melissa Sandfort Leave a Comment

20150419_180000Today Aunt Jeanette writes:

I am a naturally optimistic person and it doesn’t take much to ‘make my day’. As we were leaving for church Sunday, I hurriedly glanced out at the shop and saw what I thought were cornhusks that had blown on top of this antique wheel. I remember thinking, “Well, the wind will blow them right back off.” Later that afternoon I was walking out to the shop to pick up some papers and saw a robin fly down from the wheel and start scolding me. I took a closer look and saw this nest she had spent all day building.

Almost two years ago I wrote a story about a robin’s nest that was built on one of our pivot stops. It fascinated me that the nest survived windstorms and pivot “showers”. It was also near a road and I thought maybe some passerby might see it and destroy it. Dan had the pleasure of witnessing the life cycle of a family of robins as he irrigated that summer. He said it made irrigating tolerable.

These two antique wagon wheels propped against the side of our shop building usually have Black-eyed Susan vines twining on them during the summer months. It is too early for plants, but it is time for robins to build their nests. I hope the nest survives (I have already warned everyone to keep their hands off!) so I have the opportunity to watch a family of robins grow.

When I get up in the mornings, the very first thing I do is check outside and see if the nest is still there. It makes me smile to see that little miracle every day!

Until we walk again …


Vilsack Flips Switch on New Solar Farm

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

vilsack-switchOn Earth Day, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack flipped the switch to symbolically activate USDA’s first solar array project in the National Capital Region.

The 1.6 Megawatt (MW) solar farm, located at the George Washington Carver Center (Carver Center) in Beltsville, Maryland, is the largest solar array on federal property in this region. This project, which is part of a larger commitment to transform the facility into a model for sustainability, will help meet the President’s Capital Solar Challenge. The new solar farm is expected to provide about 2,000 megawatt hours (MWh), or 20% of the Carver Center facility annual electrical power requirements, and handle most of GWCC’s electrical needs during the day.

usda-solar“Today, USDA is another step closer to achieving its goal of energy independence. With this system, USDA is saving taxpayers over $300,000 annually in avoided energy costs,” said Vilsack. “As a Federal agency, USDA is leading the way in renewable energy in the National Capital Region. And we are proud to say that this 6.2 acre solar farm is the largest solar array on Federal property in this area.”

There are over 5,000 state-of-the-art, industry-leading American made panels in this farm and it was built on what used to be Agriculture Research Service farmland, land that is now farming energy. The Carver Center consists of four interconnected buildings and grounds, which occupy about 45 acres of Federal land. The farm helps position USDA to meet President Obama’s new Executive Order goal to increase the share of electricity the Federal Government consumes from renewable sources to 30 percent.

Solar, USDA

Zimfo Bytes

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

Zimfo Bytes

  • DuPont announced it has agreed to acquire Taxon Biosciences, Inc., a leading microbiome discovery company.
  • The American Soybean Association welcomes the renewed focus from the Senate Agriculture Committee on expanding agricultural trade to Cuba as part of a hearing held on Capitol Hill.
  • USPOULTRY is hosting a free webinar to members addressing “ON-Farm Waterfowl Mitigation Practices” on Wednesday, May 13, from 1 – 2:15 p.m. EDT.
  • AgriCharts announces the release of a new online platform, named the AgriCharts Grain Offer System, which modernizes the buying and selling of physical grain between grain elevators and farmers.
Zimfo Bytes

FMC Acquires Cheminova

John Davis Leave a Comment

fmc-logoFMC Corporation has completed its acquisition of Cheminova A/S, a multinational crop protection company based in Denmark and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Auriga Industries A/S.

“Cheminova gives us direct market access to key countries in Europe and enhances our customer reach in India, Australia and throughout Latin America, bringing greater balance to our agricultural business,” said Pierre Brondeau, FMC president, CEO and chairman. “Its technology will enable us to expand FMC’s position in existing crops; accelerate access to additional crops, such as cereals; and strengthen our offerings to customers, especially in sugarcane, soybeans and cotton.”

FMC has been realigning its business portfolio in recent years to expand its position in the crop protection market. With the acquisition of Cheminova, and the divestiture of the Alkali Chemicals business completed on April 1, 2015, FMC Agricultural Solutions is expected to represent approximately three quarters of the company’s total revenue, up from less than 40 percent as recently as 2009.

Agribusiness, Crop Science, FMC

Bayer Helps Growers CARE for Crops and Bees

John Davis Leave a Comment

bayer-200Bayer CropScience is continuing a program that helps growers and beekeepers collaborate to help feed a growing planet. With more than $15 billion dollars worth of crops in the U.S. pollinated by bees each year, the CARE program, now in its third year, reflects Bayer’s ongoing commitment to product stewardship, protecting natural resources, enhancing agricultural sustainability and promoting partnerships between growers and beekeepers, which are all needed to feed a projected 9 billion people by 2050.

The CARE Program encourages growers to:
• Communicate planting activities to neighboring beekeepers when practical and be aware of beehives adjacent to the planting area;
• Be Aware of wind speed and direction during planting, particularly in areas with flowering crops;
• Reduce risk to pollinators by using Fluency Agent, a new planter seed lubricant for corn and soybeans; and
• Ensure seed is planted correctly. To help protect the environment, clean planters and seed boxes in a way to minimize dust release and ensure treated seed is planted at the proper depth.

“Growers are among the greatest stewards of our environment and Bayer CropScience supports them as they take CARE to produce the food, fuel and fiber needed for our growing world population,” said Kevin Adam, SeedGrowth strategic business lead at Bayer CropScience. “It’s our mission to help our fields and communities thrive in order to meet this challenge, and bees play a vital role in helping farmers establish a healthy harvest in a sustainable manner.”

In addition to focusing on key steps to take while planting treated seeds to sustain the environment and maximize the health of crops, CARE also champions the important relationship between growers and local beekeepers, encouraging both to maintain open channels of communication to continue to protect both crops and pollinators.

Agribusiness, Bayer, Bees, pollinators

High Path Avian Flu Topic at Chicken Summit

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

cms-15-28-editedThe 2015 Chicken Media Summit is being held this week in Maryland, organized by the National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. Among those in attendance is our own Jamie Johansen, along with bloggers, journalists, dietitians and leaders in the poultry industry from all over the country.

Yesterday the event featured tours of a hatchery, broiler barn and a processing plant and today panelists discussed myths and facts concerning the chicken industry and current events.

With the latest discovery of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) at a commercial laying facility in Iowa with 5.3 million hens, Dr. John Glisson with the US Poultry and Egg association was asked about the impact that might have on the industry. “It’s too early to know what’s going to happen,” he said. “Those birds will have to be destroyed and that’s a significant number of birds and a significant number of eggs that will not be available.”

Listen to or download Jamie’s interview with Dr. Glisson here: Interview with Dr. John Glisson, US Poultry and Egg Association

2015 Chicken Media Summit Photo Album

Audio, Chicken Media Summit, Poultry

GROWMARK Highlights Intern Program at NAMA

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

nama15-growmarkGROWMARK has one of the oldest and most successful internship programs in the agriculture business so they were a popular stop for student NAMA attendees during the Connection Point trade show at the Agri-Marketing Conference last week in Kansas City.

“We’re going on our 56th year with the internship program,” said GROWMARK University Relations Manager Allison Stephey. “We have a variety of internships ranging from agronomy to the business aspect, to energy, logistics, grain, and seed marketing.”

GROWMARK gets 55-60 interns each year and Allison says about half of them are offered jobs with the cooperative. “We like to see the students continue on in the system,” she said, noting that they saw both past and future interns stop by the booth at NAMA last week.

Most GROWMARK interns come from their core territories of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, but in recent years they have been getting more interest from other areas as they have been working with “We have a partnership with AgCareers and participate in their internship survey to make sure our program has what it takes to be successful,” said Allison.

Find out more about the GROWMARK internship program in this interview. Interview with Allison Stephey, GROWMARK

2015 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the 2015 Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by New Holland and Brownfield Ag News
Coverage of the 2015 Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by New Holland     Coverage of the 2015 Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News for America
AgCareers, Audio, GROWMARK, Internship, NAMA

ZimmComm Making Impressions, Creating Content

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ZimmComm at NAMAHere we are in our home away from home for two days last week at the Agri-Marketing Conference. Taylor, Me, Cindy and Jamie. We had a great time and sure enjoyed getting to see and talk with so many friends and sponsors.

The convention is like a family reunion to many of us who have attended more of them than the age of the student attendees and some of NAMA’s newer members!

ZimmComm News NetworkThis year our goal was to help you better understand the AgWired community which we also refer to as the ZimmComm News Network. From a beginning with just one blog (AgWired) to today we’ve added several news sites, Energy, Animal Ag, Precision Ag and AgNewsWire. These websites are interactive with each other, mobile friendly, distributed by mobile apps and all have associated social media channels where we also engage with our audiences.

So to help show how our network is structured we created this ZimmfoGraphic. Click on the link to see the full graphic which shows some statistics about the impressions we make and the content we create. We think you’ll be interested to see the reach of little ole ZimmComm!

During the convention we conducted a drawing for an awesome Anker Astro E7 mobile charger. Our winner is Randi Walden, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Congrats Randi and we hope you keep all your gadgets charged all the time.

2015 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the 2015 Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by New Holland and Brownfield Ag News
Coverage of the 2015 Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by New Holland     Coverage of the 2015 Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News for America
NAMA, ZimmComm Announcement