John Deere Reaps AE50 Awards

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

John Deere S700 Combines, CP690 & CS690 Cotton Harvesters have been honored with AE50 Awards for innovations that improve production ag.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) AE50 Awards highlight the year’s most innovative product-engineering designs in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.

The John Deere S700 Series Combine was recognized for its significant innovations in “smart” technology, improved operator comfort and data capabilities, while the CP690 Cotton Picker and CS690 Cotton Stripper were recognized for innovations in precision cotton-harvesting technologies that include moisture sensing and round module weighing.

Two hay tool innovations from John Deere Ottumwa Works were also honored with AE50 awards – the BalerAssist™ feature on the large square balers and the Plus2 Bale Accumulator for large round balers, both introduced in late 2017. And the John Deere 5R Series Tractors received an award for innovative designs in product engineering. The awards will be presented at the ASABE Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, in February.

AgWired Precision, Award, Equipment, John Deere

Zimfo Bytes 1/5

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

    • Farm Journal has announced that ‘AgriTalk’ has expanded to a new two-hour format. The company’s afternoon radio program, ‘Market Rally,’ is now ‘AgriTalk After the Bell.’ ‘AgriTalk’ will continue to air each weekday morning, with Chip Flory hosting both hours of the nationally syndicated talk show.
    • Beck Ag, Inc. is expanding its new business acquisition efforts and its market intelligence competency through the promotion of Kari Spaan to vice president of business development, and Monica Phillips to vice president of strategic intelligence.
    • The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has announced its purchase of Minneapolis-based data processing and business analytics company Hargrove & Associates, Inc.
    • Farmers are feeling better about their current situations despite flat grain prices and the signs of lower livestock prices, according to the most recent DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agricultural Confidence Index. The November 2017 survey posted an overall score of 113, up nine points from August and 15 points higher than the “Trump Bump” survey of a year ago.
Zimfo Bytes

Media Training with Minnesota Soybean

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The ZimmComm Team is on the AgriBlogging Highway early in 2018. Cindy and I conducted a session on media training for Minnesota Soybean yesterday in Naples. Cindy was the friendly/not-so-friendly reporter who conducted interviews while I was the videographer. I estimate that we conduct between 1,000 and 2,000 interviews/year and we got started in this business back in 1980 so we have a lot of fun being teachers and speaking from long experience about things to do and not to do.

The best way to get better at doing interviews is practice, so the bulk of our media training focused on doing interviews on different topics with different scenarios. Most of the farmers on the boards of MSR&PC and MSGA had already had media training at some point so we focused more on letting them see and critique themselves, so we recorded and played back interviews with each participant.

Thanks to my brother-in-law for providing the projector equipment, and to FMC for the Boxanne that provided good quality audio!

Media, Soybean

‘Farm Town Strong’ Campaign to Address Rural Opioid Epidemic

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and National Farmers Union (NFU) are working together to raise awareness about the nation’s opioid epidemic and its impact on farming communities. The “Farm Town Strong” campaign aims to provide resources and information to rural Americans and to encourage farmers to support one another when affected by the crisis.

The joint campaign comes in response to a recent survey commissioned by the nation’s two largest farm groups that showed staggering statistics regarding the opioid crisis and its impact on American farmers, farm workers and farm families.

“Farm country has been hit hard by the opioid crisis – even harder than rural America as a whole, or big cities,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “It’s going to take everyone working together to combat this crisis to make a difference. That’s why Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union are teaming up to show unity on this issue and encourage farm families to help their neighbors. If you or a family member has been affected by opioid addiction, it’s important to talk about it so that others will know they are not fighting this alone.”

The groups have launched a website at with information and resources to help farm families and rural communities affected in any way by the opioid epidemic. AFBF President Zippy Duvall and NFU President Roger Johnson will lead a discussion on overcoming the opioid crisis on Monday, Jan. 8, at the 2018 AFBF Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Nashville, Tennessee.


Agrilyst’s 2017 State of Indoor Farming Report

Jamie Johansen 1 Comment

We first met Allison Kopf, founder and CEO of Agrilyst, at Alltech’s 2017 ONE. There she took part in the first Pearse Lyons Accelerator program. As a reminder, Agrilyst is a “web-based software platform that helps indoor farms manage their crops and gain data-driven insights to make more profitable production decisions.”

Allison and her team have now released a 2017 State of Indoor Farming report to recap how the industry grew last year and the outlook for the future. Emerging trends, challenges, and benefits of farming indoors are just a few highlights the report tackles. Agrilyst received over 150 responses from growers in 8 countries.

Top five takeaways:
1. Yields for hydroponic leafy greens grown in a greenhouse are about 12.6x that of conventionally grown lettuces.
2. Leafy greens grown hydroponically in a greenhouse can have a 46% profit margin.
3. 56% of the operating expenses of an indoor vertical farm are due to labor.
4. Automation topped the list of technologies growers are most excited about.
5. Container farms topped the list of technologies growers are least excited about.

Agribusiness, AgWired Precision, Alltech, Farming, Precision Agriculture

MGEX Records Highest Volume in 2017

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

MGEX recorded its highest calendar year volume in 2017 at 2,803,549 contracts. This number broke the previous record set in 2015.

In addition, MGEX options volume for 2017 nearly doubled the preceding record of 61,226 contracts set in 2002. The Exchange also set a new annual electronic volume record with numbers 22 percent higher than the previous one. The best month was June 2017, with a record daily electronic volume happening on June 29 with 34,917 contracts.

Markets, MGEX

ZimmDot by Echo

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

“Alexa, where in the world is the Golden ZimmComm Microphone?” No, that’s not an Alexa skill yet. But we’re looking into skills for the hottest product of the latest holiday season – the Echo Dot (and the rest of the Echo family).

We’re affectionately calling this one you see, the ZimmDot. There are actually quite a few ZimmDots being activated as we speak. I think we’re up to four just in ZimmComm World Headquarters!

Voice activated, internet connected, technology is just the latest way we’re going to be seeing more and more applications in the agricultural sector. It’s not brand new but growing as these devices develop more capabilities. And like with smart phones, agribusiness will be making innovative use of a “consumer” technology to farm smarter. Of course, that’s just my opinion. But in 2018 I think we’re going to see more and more of this technology.

In fact, there are already agricultural skills on Alexa. Here are a couple:

Hoosier Ag Today
Successful Farming
CropInfo Choupal

Would your company like to partner up on an Alexa skill? I’m open to ideas at this point. Just let me know

Apps, Communications, Technology

2017 in Pictures

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

2017 is just a memory now, so we compiled some of our favorite photos from the 50 events we attended this year so you can relive it!

This album includes some of our favorite shots of the year, our favorite people, and some of the many inductees into the Golden Mic Club. There’s only 200 out of more than 10,500 put into over 60 Flickr photo albums this year, so it is only a small sample, but it took hours to go through them all!

To watch as a slide show, just click the button in the upper right above the title photo that with an arrow in it. Enjoy!

ZimmComm 2017 Year in Pictures

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Photography, ZimmComm Announcement

Precision Ag Bytes 1/3

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • AgJunction Inc., a leader in automated steering and machine control technology for precision agriculture, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Western District of Texas against Raven Industries, Inc. The lawsuit alleges that Raven products violate three AgJunction patents related to automated mechanical steering, implement steering and system calibration technologies. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and an injunction to prevent Raven from selling any products infringing AgJunction’s patented technology.
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes

GROWMARK Announces 2018 Essay Contest Winners

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

GROWMARK has announced the winners of the 2018 GROWMARK essay contest for FFA members. The theme of this year’s contest was “How can cooperatives demonstrate their value to the next generation of agriculturists?”

The four state winners are:
Ross Tompkins of Smithboro, Illinois
Anna Campbell of Hamlin, Iowa
Chloe Momphard of Troy, Missouri
Audrey Pelikan of Jefferson, Wisconsin

Tompkins is a student at Mulberry Grove High School and a member of the Mulberry Grove FFA chapter. His FFA advisor is Matt Elam. Campbell is a student at Audubon High School and a member of the Audubon FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Brittany Elmquist. Momphard is a student at Troy Buchanan High School and a member of the Troy FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Rob Calvin. Pelikan is a student at Jefferson High School and a member of the Jefferson FFA chapter. Her FFA advisor is Gary Olson.

Each state’s contest winner receives a $500 award from GROWMARK at their state FFA convention. The winner’s FFA chapter also receives a $300 award in honor of their accomplishment.

This is the 25th year for the program, sponsored by the GROWMARK System and FS member cooperatives, in conjunction with state FFA leaders, to help young people develop their writing skills, learn about current issues in agriculture, and understand the unique role of cooperatives.

Read more here.