TPA Signed With Eye Toward New Agreements

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

tpa-obamaPresident Obama signed two trade bills passed by Congress on Monday, one authorizing Trade Promotion Authority and one renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance. The president pointed out that while the bills will help negotiations move forward on trade agreements such as the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), they are not the actual agreements.

“We still have some tough negotiation that is going to be taking place,” said Obama. “The debate on a particular provision of trade will not end with this bill signing.” President Obama signs trade bills

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who joined the president as he signed the bills, says U.S. agriculture will benefit as trade negotiations move forward now. “This sets a framework for being able to do that,” Vilsack told USDA Radio. “And we know if it gets done, we’re going to see increased agricultural sales, increased exports, better paying jobs, and it’s certainly going to be beneficial to rural America.” Vilsack comments on trade bill signing

“President Obama’s signature today opens the door to creating new trade partnerships around the world that will drive American business forward in the international marketplace,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman. “U.S. agriculture is ready for ambitious trade agreements that break down barriers to products grown and made in America, so our trading partners know we mean business.”

AFBF, Audio, Government, Trade, USDA

American Agri-Women Present ‘Champion of Ag’ Awards

John Davis Leave a Comment

The American Agri-Women (AAW) presented Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas with its “Champion of Agriculture” awards. This news release from the group – the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women – says the the award goes to outstanding members of the U.S. Congress for their steadfast courage in upholding the ideals of American agriculture to their peers.

HoevenHoeven … is a strong proponent of the ag industry and supports AAW positions on private property and water rights. He is a cosponsor of the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, which was introduced by Senator John Thune of South Dakota earlier this spring. This bill helps family farms thrive from generation to generation.

Hoeven serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and was a member of the conference committee that negotiated the final 2014 Farm Bill.

“Sen. Hoeven supports many of our legislative positions. For instance, he share our concern about the overreach of regulatory agencies, such as EPA and the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ definition of the Clean Water Act. He also supports programs that balance conservation concerns and private land use,” says AAW President Sue McCrum, who is part of a fifth generation family farm in Maine. “We respect his bipartisan approach to politics and are pleased to recognize him as a 2015 Champion of Agriculture.”

ConawayConaway serves as chair of the House Committee on Agriculture [among other key committees in the House].

“Rep. Conaway works to ensure that farmers and ranchers are supported, not hindered, by the federal government. He also works to reduce the regulatory overreach of agencies such as the EPA that adversely affects farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to produce food,” says AAW President Sue McCrum, who is part of a fifth generation family farm in Maine. “We are pleased to thank him for his support for him by recognizing him as a 2015 Champion of Agriculture.”

Past recipients include Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Rep. Dennis Cardoza of California, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Ag Group, American Agri-Women, Award, Government

NCBA CEO Forrest Roberts Moving On

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ncba-forrestAfter six years of serving as the Chief Executive Officer for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Forrest Roberts has announced his resignation, effective July 31. Roberts is leaving NCBA to “pursue other opportunities in the cattle industry and agribusiness” but will remain with the organization until the end of July to help with the transition of staff leadership and his roles in several industry related organizations such as the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).

“For the past 6 years it has been a privilege to serve as CEO of NCBA,” Roberts said. “While I have decided to turn a new chapter in my career, I leave NCBA with many great memories of the time I spent working with the NCBA staff, state partners, members, producer leadership and stakeholders across the global beef industry.”

“Under Forrest Roberts’ leadership NCBA membership has increased significantly, NCBA is in a solid financial position, convention attendance is at record levels and the NCBA-managed programs to build consumer demand for beef as a contractor to the beef checkoff are achieving significant results,” said NCBA President Phillip Ellis. “In addition, Roberts has strengthened industry partnerships domestically and internationally.”

NCBA Chief Operating Officer Kendal Frazier has been named interim CEO to manage the day-to-day operations, including NCBA staff, until a new CEO is identified.

Beef, NCBA

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Assembly

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable BeefThe U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, started in March of this year, announced today the first general assembly meeting.

When: July 14 and 15, 2015

Where: Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center
650 15th St., Denver, CO 80202

Program here. Registration here.

USRSB’s mission is to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in U.S. beef sustainability through leadership, innovation, multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Utilizing the definition for sustainable beef recently released by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), the USRSB will develop sustainability indicators relevant to the various beef systems in the United States, as well as a means to verify sustainable progress in a transparent manner that can be shared. Similar to GRSB, the USRSB will not mandate standards or verify the performance of individual beef value chain participants.

Ag Group, Beef, Sustainability

Zimfo Bytes

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

Zimfo Bytes

  • On June 16, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially announced its long anticipated regulation to revoke the “Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)” status of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) – a source of artificial trans fatty acids (TFAs) – for use in food.
  • Thousands of FFA members from throughout the country are converging on Washington, D.C., this summer to analyze their personal skills and interests, develop leadership skills and create a meaningful community-service plan that will make a difference in their home communities.
  • Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced that Zeal® SC Miticide has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a new liquid formulation that allows for quick mixing and easy loading.
  • Evelyn Nguleka has been elected President of the World Farmers’ Organisation, during the General Assembly in Milan, and these are her words “Farmers ensure the nutrition of the world”.
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2015 Golden ARC Winners Announced

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

2015 GoldenARC_Winner releaseThe Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) has announced its Golden ARC Awards 2015 Winners. This elite awards program added 23 Golden ARC Awards members and 18 Merit Awards recipients. For the fourth consecutive year a Golden ARC de Excellence Awards was given.

“The quality of this year’s entries again surpassed previous years’ submissions, and judges provided valuable comments and critiques for each submission to enable entrants to continue to improve their craft,” said Amy Keith McDonald, contest co-manager. “The presence of most Golden ARC Award winners at the annual meeting banquet indicates the respect ARC members hold for the competition.”

“The Golden ARC Awards Contest is unique in that it is the only award competition directed to agricultural marketing communications professionals that is not judged by our peers in agriculture,” she continued. “The competition is judged by public relations professionals who are not directly or indirectly linked to the entries.”

This year’s competition was judged by members of the Sunshine District Public Relations Society of America. “The judges focused on a number of objectives including audience analysis, creativity, execution and campaign results, especially measurability,” said Adelita Tyson, contest co-manager.

Originated in 1990, the Golden ARC Awards Contest recognizes the best and brightest in agricultural public relations, and is open to both ARC and non-ARC members. The 46 categories reflect the broad scope of contemporary public relations activities.

Osborn Barr took home the most awards, followed by Broadhead, with FLM+ taking third.

Agribusiness, ARC, Award

Roberts Bill to Make Bonus Depreciation Permanent

John Davis Leave a Comment

roberts-chairNew legislation could make bonus depreciation on farm equipment permanent. U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) says his bill will encourage investments and economic growth by making permanent a fifty percent depreciation bonus on new equipment and property purchases. This would allow businesses to deduct half the cost of new purchases immediately, freeing up money for reinvestment to help them grow.

“This legislation will provide much needed certainty in the tax code so businesses can better plan investments that create more jobs and growth in our communities.” said Roberts. “Bonus depreciation has been extended and expired many times, and it is time we make this permanent to give businesses more predictability in an already overly complex tax code.”

The legislation amends the U.S. tax code to permanently allow businesses to deduct 50 percent of qualified purchased property immediately. Bonus depreciation was first enacted in 2002 and has been extended and allowed to expire multiple times. A permanent increase in depreciation allowances is critical to encouraging more economic growth. More generous depreciation deductions reduce the after-tax cost of investing, encouraging higher levels of investment spending by businesses.

The measure has several other components purported to encourage business investment. First, it expands the definition of qualifying property under bonus depreciation to include retail and restaurant improvements. Second, the legislation will allow businesses to claim unused Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax credits and use these credits for capital investment.

Agribusiness, Government

Allergen-Free Peanuts Among USDA Innovations in FY 2014

John Davis Leave a Comment

USDAAllergen-free peanuts is just one of the many innovations in ag during fiscal year 2014 for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) says USDA received 83 patents in FY2014, up from 51 patents in 2013, leading to new patents and inventions with the potential for commercial application and potential economic growth.

“USDA has a proven track record of performing research that has tangible benefits for the American public, and studies have found every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to our economy,” said [Ag Secretary Tom] Vilsack. “USDA is now accelerating the commercialization of federal research, and government researchers are working closely with the private sector to develop new technology and transfer it to the marketplace.”

Highlighted discoveries from USDA’s 2014 Technology Transfer Report include:

Procedures to remove up to 98-percent of the allergens from peanuts without affecting the flavor;
A new process for pasteurizing shelled eggs using radio frequency energy that is 1.5 times faster than the current pasteurization process;
A portable method for identifying harmful bacteria in food that could improve the response to foodborne illness outbreaks;
A new method for mosquito control that specifically silences genes in the mosquito so it does not pose a danger to other insects, including pollinators;
A new soil nitrogen test that rapidly and inexpensively determines the total amount of nitrogen in the soil that is available to a plant, reducing costs for farmers while benefiting the environment;
Improved information on non-honey bee pollinators and methods for trapping bees to assure quality apple production.

Besides the 83 patents received in the last fiscal year, there were 119 patent applications filed and disclosed another 117 new inventions, which may lead to future patents. The USDA has 267 active Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with outside partners, which includes Universities, and other organizations, and more than 100 small businesses.

Research, USDA

Drake Named to Ag Public Relations Hall of Fame

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

ARCThe Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame will be adding Steve Drake, ag communicator and consultant.  The honor is to recognize those who have contributed to public relations and the Ag Relations Council (ARC).  ARC along with Agri Marketing magazine sponsor the program.

Steven has previously won an ARC Founders Award and has worked in public relations for more than 30 years.  His career began as an Associated Press news reporter, followed by 10 years in college public relations.  He moved in to the ag industry in 1978 with American Soybean Association.  From there he began Drake & Company, focusing on association management, mostly of companies in agriculture.  Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Winning a PRSA Silver Anvil by developing at PR team at ASA
  • Taking Soybean Digest to a commercial magazine
  • Coordinating Monsanto’s flood relief program in 1993, which won him the Silver Anvil.
  • Expanding the National Christmas Tree Association through Trees for Troops and many other programs
  • Working with other leaders to develop the Ag Meida Summit.

Ken Bader, former CEO of ASA and president of Global Agribusiness says, “His imaginative and effective public relations efforts are deserving of this national acclaim and recognition.  I have known Steve for over 40 years when he was responsible for all public relations activities as well as serving as my ‘second in command.’  He is a superb and innovative public relations expert.”

Steve is currently president and owner of SCD Group, Inc. and editor of the SCDdaily blog.  His firm provides advice to associations and nonprofits regarding marketing and strategic visioning and he works with associations and for-profit companies on generational issues.  

Agribusiness, ARC, Award

Zimfo Bytes

Talia Goes Leave a Comment

Zimfo Bytes

  • The Pork Checkoff has selected 12 college students to be a part of the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team this year.
  • Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced it has been named a 5-star member of the National FFA Foundation.
  • DuPont Pioneer announced a technology license and research collaboration agreement with Vilnius University to further the technical and commercial utility of guided Cas9 genome editing technology.
  • The National Association of Farm Broadcasting Hall of Fame committee is asking for nominations for present, past or deceased NAFB Broadcast Council members that have made significant contributions to farm broadcasting and the association.
Zimfo Bytes