Bayer Bee Care Buzz

bayer-bee-cupcakesBayer CropScience is fulfilling a dream today with the opening of a brand new North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The new center will complement the European Bayer Bee Care Center in Monheim, Germany. Plans for the center were announced in 2012 and ground was broken just a little over a year ago. Since then the Bayer folks have been busy as bees getting it ready for the big debut.

The celebration started last night with a reception that brought Bayer CropScience folks from all over the globe together to prepare for the main event. We are going to find out much more about this new center and its purpose shortly and will share it with you.

Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center Grand Opening Photo Album

AEM Shows Importance of Ag Equipment Industry

charlie o'brienThe important contribution of U.S. agriculture equipment manufacturing to the health of the nation’s economy is demonstrated in an economic paper recently released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Modern advances in agriculture equipment technology and mechanization continue to play a major role in making today’s U.S. farming the most productive the world has ever seen.

The current world population of 7.2 billion is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, according to the United Nations, and the AEM paper also touches on the industry’s research agenda for product innovations to “continue to push agriculture productivity through the next century.” AEM commissioned the white paper to acquaint policy makers, business, industry and the general public with the enormous and far-reaching scope of the manufacturing, distribution and use of agricultural machinery and equipment. It is part of AEM’s overall goal to advance a better understanding of the vast benefits and quality of life improvements provided by advanced mechanization.

I spoke with AEM senior vice president Charlie O’Brien about the analysis. “Agriculture’s achievements have resulted from scientific advances in many areas, including inputs and other efficiencies, yet the productivity explosion continues to be driven by enormous strides in the farm machinery and equipment technology now used to farm millions of acres,” he told me. “We want people to understand how important this industry as a whole is for the U.S. economy.”

You can listen to my interview with Charlie here: Interview with Charlie O'Brien, AEM

Zimfo Bytes

Groundbreaking for New Holland Pavilions

nh-pavilions-68-editedGround was broke to mark the start of construction on the New Holland Pavilions at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI. The 290,000 square foot expansion will create a state-of-the-art multi-use space, replacing again barn facilities.

“We are proud to partner with Dane County to build and provide what will be the premium livestock facility in the country, a tremendous upgrade that will benefit world class dairy, livestock, horses and other livestock throughout the year,” says Ade Hughes, Vice President New Holland North America. “This opportunity is a perfect fit for New Holland, considering the smart haymaking technologies we have brought to the marketplace that benefit so many animals across North America.”

The Alliant Energy Center is home to the World Dairy Expo and Midwest Horse Fair, as well as many livestock and equine shows. The new pavilions will have capacity to house more than 2,000 head of cattle and be versatile enough to include show rings for cattle and horse shows. They can be cleared to create open space accommodating for trade shows, a factor that will allow New Holland to conduct training activities. New Holland equipment will also be featured in the front reception area of the building.

Mark Clarke, Alliant Energy Center general manager, said, “The new space will enhance our ability to conduct world class activities here at the Alliant Energy Center. We’re excited to have New Holland Agriculture as a significant partner in our success moving forward.”

Construction on the project begins today and their goal is to have a ribbon cutting in just 30 weeks. Just in time for World Dairy Expo in early October.

Listen to or download the press conference here: New Holland Pavilions Groundbreaking Press Conference

Checkout photos from the event here: New Holland Pavilion Groundbreaking Ceremony

Where Your Marketing Dollars are Going

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What’s the largest percentage of your 2014 marketing budget?”

It looks like the old faithful form of print marketing tops this week’s ZimmPoll. But what is interesting is that rest of the choices were almost evenly spread across the board, with the newer trends of social media and digital marketing right up there with broadcast and direct mail.

Our poll results:

  • Broadcast – 10%
  • Digital – 15%
  • Direct mail – 10%
  • Print – 25%
  • Social media – 15%
  • Trade show/promo items – 15%
  • Other – 10%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Has spring sprung for you yet?”

If you haven’t got a case of Spring Fever, then you must be living in Florida with Chuck and Cindy. Here in the Midwest we had an 80 degree weekend and now are back into the 30′s. I think Mother Nature is a little confused. Are you seeing any signs of spring in your neck of the woods?

Tax Day is AAEA Awards Deadline

aaea-awardsWhile you are wrapping up your taxes, hopefully you are also wrapping up your entries for the the AAEA Communications Awards for Design, Photography, Writing and Digital & Social Media.

aaeaEntries have the same deadline as the IRS, postmarked by midnight April 15. Entry forms for each category are on each category’s specific web page. You need to be a current AAEA member in order to enter. That means renewing your dues and/or joining as a new member by the entry deadline if your dues are not up to date. You can pay online for either one.

There is a different deadline for the MarComm Awards program, which recognizes excellence in marketing and communications by companies and agencies. Entries for those awards are due on April 30.

Cal Poly Wins NAMA Student Competition

nama14-student-winnersSix outstanding student NAMA teams made it to the final round of the competition last week and the final winner was California Polytechnic State University – Cal Poly.

Congratulations to the teams from Illinois State University, Michigan State University, Iowa State University, University of Florida, and to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was a great competition this year as always with lots of up and coming talent for the agri-marketing industry!

The students had some fun before the awards ceremony began, until the adults broke it up – watch the video below and find out what order the other five finalists in the competition finished.

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

BASF Confirms New Fungicide Mode of Action

Specialty crop producers can take advantage of a new unique class of fungicide that provides two modes of action to manage fungal resistance.

BASFBASF researchers have confirmed the discovery of a unique binding mechanism in Initium® fungicide, a key component of Zampro® fungicide, currently available for sale in the U.S.

This means that Zampro fungicide is the first, and currently only, fungicide in this classification. Zampro fungicide is not cross-resistant with other commercial fungicides, making it an ideal tool for managing fungal resistance in specialty crops. The classification has been accepted by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC).

“Zampro fungicide provides two modes of action, one of which is a completely unique class of control,” said Jennifer Holland, Ph.D., Product Manager, BASF. “The fungicide is a superior solution for vegetable growers seeking control of downy mildew and late blight.”

Read more from BASF.

GROWMARK Part of ResponsibleAg

Wells_Rod5X7 copyThe first ResponsibleAg board of directors members were recently named and Rod Wells, manager of the plant food division of GROWMARK is one of nine.

Rod says it’s important for GROWMARK to be involved in this non-profit organization designed to work with retailers ensuring best practices are in place providing a safe product to the consumer.

“This is an industry led initiative,” said Rod. “We want to demonstrate that we are doing the right things, that we are operating safety, we’re complying with regulations, that we are accountable. We feel like ResponsibleAg is a very transparent way to show that we are committed, compliant, and safe operators in the communities that we serve.”

You can listen to my interview with Rod here: Interview with Rod Wells, GROWMARK

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announced the board of directors for ResponsibleAg will meet next month to finalize bi-laws, an operating budget, elect officers and begin looking for a business manager to oversee the day to day operations of the new organization.

NAMA Fresh Perspective

During the 2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Max Armstrong produced daily “The Fresh Perspective” videos with information about what was happening during the event. In fact, The Fresh Perspective is sponsored by This Week in Agribusiness. Here’s the last episode.

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Zimfo Bytes

    Zimfo Bytes

  • Nathaniel (Nate) Lewis this past week joined the staff of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) as its Senior Crops and Livestock Specialist.
  • Twelve FFA members have been selected by the National FFA Organization to participate in an international experience designed to increase their understanding about global agriculture and witness the role that U.S. agriculture plays in the global economy.
  • The North American Equipment Dealers Assn. (NAEDA) has announced the recipients of its 2014 Gold Level and Most Improved awards.
  • The National Corn Growers Association announced its support for legislation introduced at a press conference today that would establish a federal standard for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients.

Pancake Ray Heats up NAMA

Pancake RayPancake Ray’s secret is out. His secret ingredient for the After the After Party by Rhea + Kaiser is Really Killer Hot Sauce. It’s made with actual blood, sweat and tears. Your face will get burnt off and you will LIKE IT. At least that’s what Ray claims. I’m taking mine home to try out this weekend.

We had some Bad Ass Breakfast Burritos, Chickin and Waffles on a Stick and some OHHHH Jay juice. It was all served out of a wicked looking food truck parked out on the street in front of the conference hotel. Good stuff! You can find more Pancake Ray photos in our photo album and see what a good time everyone was having including student NAMA.

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Brownfield Honky Tonks With NAMA

Brownfield StaffIt was honky tonk time at the Brownfield NAMA Party at Maverick’s in Jacksonville last night. Or should I say this morning? Pretty much a little of both!

Here’s the Brownfield staff just having fun like you knew they would. It was a packed house as Agri-Marketing Conference attendees stopped by to relax and share some fun with friends and colleagues. I’ll be uploading a bunch of party pics and will update this post when they are ready. It’s time for the ZimmComm team to head to the homestead today so it might be tomorrow. But we will get it done.

Post Update: Here are party pics for your viewing and sharing pleasure: 2014 Brownfield NAMA Party Photo Album

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

NASS Census Division Director at NAMA

nama14-nassThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced it will publish the 2012 Census of Agriculture full report on May 2. The announcement was made this week as NASS Census and Survey Division Director Renee Picanso was attending the National Agri-Marketing Association conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Agribusinesses are highly represented here and they are definitely big users of the data,” she said during an interview. The complete data series will be available in multiple formats, including Quick Stats 2.0 – an online database to retrieve customized tables with Census data at the national, state and county levels.

Picanso says the census data is being released a little later than normal this time around. “Usually we release in early February, but with the government shut down last fall, we got a little bit behind,” she said. Interview with Renee Picanso, USDA-NASS

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

NAMA Honors Marketer and Leader of the Year

nama14-beckThe NAMA Marketer and Agribusiness Leader of the year were honored today at the NAMA conference in Jacksonville.

Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids, was named the 2014 Agribusiness Leader of the Year, NAMA’s highest honor.

As the largest family-owned seed company in the United States, Beck’s Hybrids is now the sixth largest seed company in the U.S. Under Sonny’s leadership, Beck’s Hybrids has experienced a 20 percent increase in sales each year for the last 20 years, doubling in size every four years. Interview with Sonny Beck, Beck's Hybrids

nama-14-8Wyffels Hybrids’ director of marketing, Jeff Hartz, was named the 2014 NAMA Marketer of the Year.

As the marketing director, Hartz oversees all strategic marketing efforts including advertising and public relations and the development of the Wyffels brand. He works closely with growers, the sales force and the National Sales Director to develop programs and materials that meet their needs and reinforce Wyffels’ position as one of the leading independent seed corn companies in the industry. Interview with Jeff Hartz, Wyffels Hybrids

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Best of NAMA Winners

nama14-best-2The stars were out last night in Jacksonville, Florida as the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) presented its annual Best of NAMA Awards for excellence in agri-marketing at the annual convention.

The Best of Show winner in the advertising category was Wyffels Hybrids and agency O&H Brand Design, Musta/Melzer, In-House – Travis Hopper (O&H Brand Design), Tim Musta & Jim Melzer – (Musta/Melzer).

Jeff Hartz, front and center here with his team, was also named the 2014 NAMA Marketer of the Year. Congratulations to Wyffles!

nama14-best-1In the Public Relations category, the winner was the National Pork Board and agency NewsWorks. Big congrats there to our friends Leah Daniels and Cindy Cunningham, well deserved!

This is the 55th year for the annual competition and a total of 65 awards were presented. Among the companies that won multiple first place awards were Bayer CropScience and Zoetis with five each; DuPont Pioneer, U.S. Apple Association, and WinField with three each. Agencies that won multiple top awards included MacClaren McCann with five; Bader Rutter, Colle+McVoy, and The Meyocks Group with four each.

Congrats to everyone!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Happy Birthday ZimmComm!

nama14-boothZimmComm New Media is officially ten years old at this year’s NAMA conference so we are happily celebrating with all of our agri-marketing friends.

Here to help us at the booth are (LtoR) niece Hayley DeRuiter, Google Glass Guru Bruce Rasa, me and Chuck, intern Kristin Liska, sales guy Dave Larson, and nephew Hunter DeRuiter. We have birthday cake, Glass demos, and giveaways. People are taking a quiz on how well they know ZimmComm for a chance to win a 10th anniversary t-shirt and we’re giving away gold styluses and microfiber glasses sacks.

google-birthdayWe are also getting lots of congrats on our anniversary and we were surprised when we opened our Google page today and had a birthday greeting! I thought that was pretty bizarre, but Chuck says he thinks it’s because it must be our anniversary of our Google account.

Whatever – it was a pretty timely message. Thanks Google!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Brownfield Goes Honky Tonk for NAMA Party

nama-14-brownfield-inviteThe famous Brownfield Ag News NAMA party will be a Honky Tonk affair here in Jacksonville this evening after the trade show closes.

The venue is Mavericks at The Landing, which is just a short walk from the hotel. The fun starts at 9:00 pm and goes until midnight and of course the ZimmComm photo crew will be there to document the festivities.

So grab your boots and hat and we’ll see you there!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Fresh From Florida NAMA Farm Tour

nama14-blueskySince it’s usually in Kansas City, the annual NAMA conference rarely has a farm tour, so getting to see and hear about some agriculture outside the Midwest was a treat this week. Thanks to the Florida NAMA chapter for setting it up and to sponsors Ag Net Media and Vance Publishing for making it possible.

Our tour stops included a cracker cattle ranch, a potato farm, and a sod farm, finishing with a gourmet and locally source lunch at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center.

Fourth generation farmer Danny Johns was our host at Blue Sky Farm which grows specialty potatoes and onions and is very active in promoting agriculture to the public. “Farming is a constant evolution…always a challenge, that’s part of the fun of being a farmer,” he said. “It’s so important for the rest of the country to realize what agriculture looks like and the challenges we face.” Interview with Florida potato farmer Danny Johns

nama14-rancherMost people are aware that St. Augustine is the oldest continuous settlement in the new world (Pensacola was actually first but it got wiped out by a hurricane) – but you may not know that it is also the birth place of the United States cattle industry.

Alan Roberts of St. Augustine has a herd of pure Florida Cracker cattle, direct descendents of the original animals brought to Florida from Spain in the late 1500s. “They came over with Pedro Menendez in 1565 when he founded St. Augustine,” and Alan says they have had his herd DNA tested to confirm the bloodline.

nama14-crackersAlan says the cattle are more resistant to horn flies and worms than any other type of cattle and he likes their gentle dispositions. “They’re such a pleasure to raise,” he said. “They’re smarter for one thing, low maintenance and easy to handle.”

And so many of the mommas and babies in the herd looked just like each other with such unique coloring and markings. Watch the video below and be sure to check out the photo album where I took LOTS of cow pictures!

2014 Agri-Marketing Conference Photo Album

Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by
Brownfield Ag News and Rhea + Kaiser
Coverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Rhea + KaiserCoverage of the Agri-Marketing Conference is sponsored by Brownfield Ag News

Caught on Camera

My beautiful pictureAs you may know, my son has a Lego digital camera and for $25 and in a few months, has caught more funny moments and captivating pictures than I have in the past year. He may not be into sports, or music, or crafts…but this little man has a talent.

Back “home”, I used to loves seeing a single tree that grew on the south side of the highway before I got to Rockport, on my way to and from Kansas City. With the floods a few years back, the tree has since been cut down.

But my son, the good road-trip partner that he is, had his camera out once again a few weeks ago and snapped this picture somewhere along I80 around Kearney. His talent is starting to shine through! (And I did very minimal Photoshop work on this!)

I think we may have found new scenery to admire while driving. There’s something about a lone tree in the middle of a field touches my heart.

Until we walk again …