COVID-19 Restrictions Could Impact Food Supply

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Beginning today, the United States will suspend routine immigrant and nonimmigrant processing visa services in Mexico indefinitely, including immigrant workers approved under the H-2A guest worker program who are needed to help farmers and ranchers get food in the grocery stores.

“The decision to halt visa application processing in Mexico will restrict the number of immigrant workers being allowed to enter the country,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall. “Under the new restrictions, American farmers will not have access to all of the skilled immigrant labor needed at a critical time in the planting season. This threatens our ability to put food on Americans’ tables.”

Farm Bureau is urging USDA, the State Department and the White House to find “safe, practical ways to admit farm laborers as emergency workers for visa purposes while still protecting public health.”

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) renewed its call for government help to prevent a severe labor shortage from becoming a crisis, since Mexico is a very important source of labor for U.S. hog farmers and packing plants.

“I want to underscore that our farms and plants are not in crisis today,” said NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “Farmers are the foundation and heart of the food supply system. Hog farmers and others in the pork industry are doing their part to ensure American kitchens are well-stocked. But we are very concerned about the recent State Department announcement regarding consulates in Mexico and the implications for our operations.”

NPPC is specifically asking for clarity from the U.S. Department of Transportation that farms are part of the critical domestic infrastructure needed to produce the food that feeds America and the world to ensure the uninterrupted supply of commercial feed and other production inputs to farms, as well as the transport of livestock from farm to market. Hog farmers also have concerns about the potential shortage of standard supplies such as boot covers, coveralls and disinfectants needed to maintain high standards of biosecurity, animal care and food safety. NPPC would also like to see provisions in the pending congressional relief package to provide financial support for childcare for farm and plant workers.

AFBF, Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Animal Agriculture, labor, NPPC

IFAJ 2020 Congress Cancelled

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) 2020 Congress scheduled for June 24-28 in Denmark has been cancelled due to coronavirus.

The decision also applies to the pre-congress in Copenhagen/Zealand and the two post-congresses on Funen and the Faroe Islands. Everyone who has signed up will get a full refund, and so will all sponsors.

We are naturally very sorry that we have had to make the decision to cancel the congress. However, in light of how quickly the corona epidemic is escalating, and the resulting travel restrictions all over the world, we consider it impossible to hold the congress as planned in June. A possible postponement to a later date would entail much uncertainty with relation to disease risk, the programme, and the number of participants.

IFAJ president Owen Roberts says the presidium fully supports the decision and thanked the Danish guild for its hard work. “The Danish congress has been one of the best planned congresses ever, and that fact will not change,” says Roberts. “Future congresses will benefit from the Danish organizing committee’s insight and from the meticulous, upbeat approach it took to promote and support its congress.”

An announcement will be made shortly about next steps, including presidium elections, new member guilds, recommendations from the Vision 2025 committee, and other matters that will keep IFAJ moving forward.


2020 Agri-Marketing Conference Postponed

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) is charting a different course for the 2020 Agri-Marketing Conference.

In light of the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, NAMA leadership has made the very difficult decision to postpone the annual Agri-Marketing Conference scheduled for April 15-17 in San Diego.

​While the conference is postponed, it is not canceled! The NAMA board is actively looking at dates and locations for a rescheduled conference later this summer. We will announce more as soon as details are confirmed.

NAMA will automatically transfer registrations already made to the rescheduled conference date, unless a refund is requested through the NAMA office. Hotel reservations at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina may be cancelled without penalty and all major airlines are currently offering waivers for travel previously scheduled in March and April.


ZimmCast 639 – Conversation with BigIron Realty

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Hello and welcome to the ZimmCast.

In this crazy pandemic panicked world I think we need a dose of normalcy. Don’t you? Well, listening to a good podcast fits the bill IMO.

First though, I just want to say that ZimmComm is committed to be ready, willing and able to find creative solutions for your agricultural marketing and communications needs. 

It’s a challenging time to make marketing decisions due to the uncertainties with the global virus situation. Cindy and I are working with clients on “virtual” content projects like podcasts, releases and more. These are channels that don’t require travel! And these are services and skills we’ve honed since starting this company 16 years ago and an additional over 20 years of experience working in agricultural communications, mostly farm radio.

BigIron RealtyWe know how tight budgets are, so these services are priced to work within yours. I’m available at your convenience to discuss how we can help you maximize your marketing dollars. Feel free to call or email.

So, back to this week’s program feature. I’m sharing a conversation I just had with Mark Stock, co-founder of BigIron Realty. He’s a farmer, auctioneer and investor and has a keen awareness of the farmer’s perspective. Mark discusses the best strategies for buying, selling or using farmland to raise capital and what buyers need to know when purchasing farmland and property tax rules to explore and other ways farmers can use their land to generate revenue. These can include selling hunting rights, leasing land to other farmers and strategies for retiring farmers who want to profit from their land.

I hope you enjoy it and thank you for listening.

Listen to the ZimmCast here: ZimmCast 639 - BigIron Realty

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Agribusiness, Audio, Equipment, Farming, Farmland, Financial, ZimmCast

NAFB Postpones Washington Watch

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

In line with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations due to COVID-19, the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) has postponed its 2020 Leadership NAFB and 2020 Washington Watch events scheduled for next month in Washington, D.C. NAFB is in the process of rescheduling both events, slated for April 24-26 and April 27-29 respectively.

From NAFB:

For those attendees registered for 2020 Washington Watch: At this time, all paid registration fees for 2020 Washington Watch will be held by NAFB for the to-be-determined rescheduled event date.

Upon request, your 2020 registration fees paid to NAFB may be refunded to you; please contact Susan Tally via email to start the refund process.

Additionally, please contact the Holiday Inn Washington Capitol (host hotel for Washington Watch) as soon as possible to cancel your April sleeping-room reservation without penalty – phone 202/479-4000.

NAFB, NAFB Washington Watch

Animal Ag News 3/16

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • America is in danger of losing its leadership standing due to significant flaws in its current approach to regulating emerging animal breeding technologies, Iowa Pork Producers President Dr. Michael Paustian testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee. According to his testimony, oversight should be under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not the Food and Drug Administration.
  • U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is accepting applications for the 2020 Clean Water Awards. The awards recognize outstanding performance of wastewater treatment plants that operate at poultry or egg processing facilities. Winners will be announced at USPOULTRY’s 2020 Environmental Management Seminar to be held Sept. 17 – 18, at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Destin, Florida. The deadline for submitting applications is June 26.
  • A rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would undermine the intent of the Packers and Stockyards Act, according to comments submitted by National Farmers Union President Rob Larew.
  • Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released a statement on COVID-19 and the availability of dairy products across the nation.
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO Colin Woodall released a statement on the impact of Coronavirus on the U.S. beef supply chain.
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is cancelling its Spring Legislative Conference, scheduled for March 31-April 2, 2020.
  • Due to the Covid-19 virus outbreak, Evonik’s contract manufacturer had to shut-down its production facilities. Both production and shipping of the amino acid ThreAMINO® are affected. Evonik is keeping its customers regularly informed as the situation develops.
  • Wisconsin lived up to its long standing reputation by winning more awards than any other state or country at the recent World Championship Cheese Contest. 2020 marked the 33rd biennial edition, showcasing premier technical and quality cheese, butter, yogurt, and dry dairy ingredients to compete for global recognition.
AgWired Animal, Animal Bites

Syngenta News from Commodity Classic

Cindy Zimmerman

Syngenta had a couple of big announcements at the 2020 Commodity Classic, including a collaboration with Truterra (formerly Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN) to offer a “step-change in stewardship and conservation best practices for U.S. growers while helping them focus on maximizing acre-by-acre productivity and profitability.”

This technology-based alliance will make use of data analytics from both the Truterra™ Insights Engine and the Syngenta AgriEdge® platform. The combined power of insights and expertise will help assess and improve soil health, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, livestock lifecycle assessment and water management on American farms.

In addition, Syngenta is releasing 11 new NK® corn hybrids and 21 new NK soybean varieties for the 2021 growing season.­­ And the company announced it will assist growers with corn rootworm beetle tracking during the 2020 growing season to help them plan for 2021.

Syngenta representatives discussed these announcements and other topics such as atrazine during a press conference at Commodity Classic.
Syngenta press conference 19:36

2020 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Audio, Commodity Classic, Corn, Soybean, Sustainability, Syngenta

CommoditAg Launches App for Simplified Product Purchasing

Chuck Zimmerman

CommoditAg AppCommoditAg has just launched a new app for iOS and Android mobile devices. The app provides the opportunity for agricultural producers and farmers to research and order products anytime, anywhere with their mobile devices.

“As the farm community’s leading online agriculture retailer, we know that introducing a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate app is essential to assure that our customers can make purchasing decisions effortlessly and quickly,” said John Demerly, CEO, CommoditAg. “We want our customers to have direct access to the products they need from the palm of their hand, whether they’re in their tractor, barn, home or office. The launch of this app further streamlines our buying process, making it a convenient and accessible experience for CommoditAg customers.”

CommoditAg offers a broad range of crop protection, lubricants and plant nutrition products, with delivery or same-day pick-up options available at one of more than 40 local retail fulfillment centers. The app features easy navigation, a simplified ordering process and a warehouse locator for customers to find the location closest to them.

To download the app, go to the Apple App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android devices. To learn more about CommoditAg, visit

Full release here.

AgNerd, Agribusiness, Apps

Industry Ag News 3/13

Carrie Muehling

  • The American Soybean Association recognized outstanding volunteers and leaders at its annual awards banquet in San Antonio on Feb. 28, honoring individuals for state association volunteerism, distinguished leadership achievements and long-term, significant contributions to the soybean industry. The Pinnacle Award Winner was Kenlon Johannes from Kansas. Recognized with the Distinguished Leadership Award was Steve Wellman of Nebraska, and the Outstanding State Volunteer Award Winner was Neal Bredehoeft of Missouri.
  • Emma Kuhns of Mason City, Illinois, is the recipient of the 2020-21 Soy Scholarship award, sponsored by BASF and the American Soybean Association.
  • Nominations are now open for the biggest accolade in agriculture. Called the “Nobel Prize for food and agriculture,” the World Food Prize is presented to an individual who has made an exceptional achievement in making hunger history. Nominate an inspiring individual making a measurable impact on reducing world hunger, and they could be the 2021 recipient of this USD $250,000 award. To learn more about awardee qualifications, visit
  • As part of the organization’s broader initiative to address a growing farm stress crisis, National Farmers Union last week hosted a two-day, in-person session to train community mental health advocates across the country. More than 30 Farmers Union members from 19 states completed the training, which was held in conjunction with NFU’s 118th Anniversary Convention in Savannah, Georgia.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand announced USDA has extended the deadline for ReConnect Pilot Program applications to March 31.
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