It’s Time to Disrupt the Disruptors

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Disruption is everywhere. Disruptive ideas are impacting the way we farm. This year ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference is centered around creating a world-wide disruption of your own. We are just days away from the awe-inspiring event and spoke with Aidan Connolly, Alltech’s Chief Innovation Officer & Vice President, to learn what Disrupt the Disruptors really means.

Aidan said the Alltech conference is always about thought leadership. “What’s coming is very exciting, but will not allow us to continue doing things the way we have done before. If you have come for business as usual, this is not the right place to be. This is going to challenge you. It might make you feel a little uncomfortable. It’s going to disrupt your life. But hopefully it will make you see a more profitable and successful future for you and your business.”

Cindy and I will be packing our bags very soon to embark on another Alltech conference. Follow along this week as we fully experience #ONE17’s world-renowned speakers, cutting-edge science and technology research and a little entertainment and networking.

Listen to my complete interview with Aidan here: Interview with Aidan Connolly, Alltech

AgWired Animal, Alltech, Audio, Technology

AEM Holds Rural Broadband Access Panel

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) hosted Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and representatives from equipment manufacturers John Deere and HammerHead Trenchless for a panel discussion on Capitol Hill on May 18th focused on the expansion of rural broadband access as part of lawmakers’ work this year on infrastructure.

The event was in conjunction with Infrastructure Week 2017 and was organized as part of AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative. The thought leadership initiative is “focused on crafting a vision for a long-term, national plan for U.S. infrastructure and how we [AEM] will move people, freight and energy in the future.”

Panelists included Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey; Nick Tindall, AEM Senior Director, Government & Industry Relations; Mark Lewellen, Spectrum Advocacy Manager, John Deere; and Hammerhead Trenchless president Kevin Smith. The panel was moderated by Doug Brake, Policy Analyst, ITIF.

Audio is available for download from this event:
Bill Northey comments 2:42
Mark Lewellen comments 5:05
Nick Tindall comments 1:32
Kevin Smith comments 1:32
Panel answers questions 37:41

AEM, Ag Group, AgWired AgNewsWire, Audio, Equipment, Infrastructure, Internet

Farmers: Smart About Their Phones & Beyond

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

My morning inspiration today comes from a post on the Woodruff blog by Darlene Hanenburg, Senior Technical and Content Writer. Darlene writes about farmers consumption of digital media and makes some very good points. Here is an insightful excerpt.

The truth is, the agri-marketing landscape continues to evolve as new media and technology are introduced and become more widely accepted. Today we have more options than ever to effectively engage farmers and ranchers, and they have more options for getting the information they need to help run and manage their operations. What’s more, the newest generation returning to the farm is extremely comfortable with digital technology. That makes understanding how, when and why farmers and ranchers use various digital media channels essential for agri-marketers wanting to deliver the right content at the right time to the right person using the right channel.

I remember writing back in 2005 about DTN going mobile.

While people in some of the traditional media are still trying to hold on to the good old days DTN is working hard to transition to the future. I haven’t seen them publish a farmer media usage study and yet they’re moving forward. I used to work there so I know it’s not any easier for them to change than anyone else. They were the cutting edge of information delivery with the satellite-delivered weather, market and news data. But people need to be mobile. That was always one problem with the “old system.” You had to be there in front of the monitor to get it. Now you don’t!

Do you remember the DTN monitors? I’m sure they are actually still in use although I haven’t seen one in years. But the reality of today is that smart phones, tablets, small fast laptops, ubiquitous internet and now connected cars are being used by farmers who are really no different than the general population when it comes to where they get their information.

In the photo you can see our AgWired App on my iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung S8. We introduced the first ag news app back in 2010 and it is going strong, although I need a new developer to do some work for me on it. Know anyone?

Read More

AgNerd, Apps, Media

USTR Moves Forward with NAFTA Renegotiation

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Just days after being sworn in as United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer notified Congress that President Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Today, President Trump fulfilled one of his key promises to the American people. For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “USTR will now continue consultations with Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”

“While NAFTA has been an overall positive for American agriculture, any trade deal can always be improved,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in response to the announcement.

Agricultural groups overall are optimistic that “modernizing” NAFTA will result in a better deal for farmers and ranchers. American Farm Bureau “looks forward to working with the administration, Congress, other agricultural groups, and officials in Canada and Mexico to protect these important markets while also addressing issues that have limited the trade potential of U.S. farmers and ranchers.”

National Farmers Union urges the Trump Administration to negotiate “a new, fair trade framework that works for family farmers, ranchers, and rural residents…in a fashion that does not upset the positive trade relations the U.S. agriculture community relies upon.”

National Corn Growers plans to work closely with the administration “to ensure any updates to NAFTA maintain or increase opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers.”

Trilateral negotiations could begin as early as August 16.

AFBF, Corn, NCGA, NFU, Trade, USDA

Soil Health Institute Announces Action Plan

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today unveiled the “Enriching Soil, Enhancing Life” Soil Health Action Plan during a National Press Club event.

“This is an exciting time to be working in soil health,” said SHI president and CEO Wayne Honeycutt. “The action plan identifies critical goals and priorities. It helps identify key gaps in our knowledge and implementation…and we’ve identified specific actionable steps to achieve these things.”

Former USDA-NRCS chief Bruce Knight moderated the unveiling of the plan which was developed from four years of stakeholder input, beginning with the Soil Renaissance in 2013. Agricultural industry thought leaders, farmers, ranchers, scientists, government agency leaders, and non-governmental organizations provided input into the plan, which will be used to drive advancements in soil health.

National Corn Growers Association board member Keith Alverson of South Dakota spoke about the importance of soil health from the perspective of a 6th generation farmer. “We as farmers realize that healthy soil is really the lifeblood to what we have,” said Alverson. “If we provide for the soil it will provide for us.”

Read the soil health action plan and download Honeycutt and Alverson comments here: SHI CEO Wayne Honeycutt and NCGA farmer Keith Alverson on Soil Health Plan

Audio, Conservation, Corn, NCGA, Soil

Novozymes Expanding Nebraska Facility

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Novozymes announced a new $36 million investment this week at its Blair, Nebraska manufacturing facility, which produces enzymes for renewable fuels.

“Nebraska’s biofuels industry has been a focus for my administration on trade missions because of the international investment we’ve seen here in Nebraska,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. In 2015, Governor Ricketts visited Novozymes’ headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark to meet with senior executives, strengthen Nebraska’s relations with the company, and encourage further investment in the state.

“With stable, clear policies like the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that encourage competition at the gas pump, we will continue to grow the market for American ethanol,” said Novozymes Americas President Adam Monroe. “This means expanding facilities like ours here in Blair, adding jobs, and generating more revenue for American towns and workers by increasing domestic production of liquid transportation fuels.”

While the company’s North American presence includes its headquarters in Franklinton, NC, and 10 additional facilities in the United States and Canada, Novozymes’ Blair plant currently serves as its only American facility dedicated to the growing biofuel industry.

Biofuels, Ethanol

Secretary Perdue Testifies at First Hearing

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue testified at his first hearing as the new head of USDA. The House Agriculture Committee welcomed Perdue to Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify on the “State of the Rural Economy.”

Perdue acknowledged that the current state of the rural economy is challenging. “Our farm economy is down about a 50 percent drop in net income from where it was in 2013 as you all were contemplating the ’14 farm bill,” said Perdue in his opening statement. “We’re in some dire straits out there.”

The new secretary submitted seven pages of written testimony which focused on his proposed “realignment” of USDA. “My goal is to make it the most effective, most efficient, the best managed, the best value agency in the United States government,” said Perdue.

Download Secretary Perdue’s opening statement here: Perdue at House Ag Committee hearing

AgWired AgNewsWire, AgWired Animal, Audio, Government, USDA

Hollinrake Named President for Syngenta Seeds

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The next time David Hollinrake is interviewed with the Golden ZimmComm Microphone he will be working for a different company, as he has just been named President for Syngenta Seeds, LLC and Syngenta North America Region Director.

In this role, David will strengthen Syngenta’s North American seeds business by driving improvements already underway to ensure maximum focus on customers with a choice of top genetics, traits and agronomic support particularly suited for their specific growing location in the U.S. David will be based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Jeff Rowe, Syngenta president of Global Seeds and North America said, “David brings more than 25 years of agriculture experience with a laser focus on meeting customer needs. He has a proven track record in strategic and product planning, organizational design, business development, and sales and marketing—and he is an excellent communicator.”

In his previous role as Vice President of North America Marketing and Portfolio Management for Bayer CropScience LP, David led business strategy efforts, and marketing and portfolio change while achieving impressive net sales growth for the company.

In addition, David Treinen has been named head of GreenLeaf Genetics® (GLG), Syngenta’s operation dedicated to serving independent seed companies with a competitive portfolio of corn, soybean and wheat genetics, market-leading Agrisure® corn traits and Syngenta Seedcare products. David will be based in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Most recently David was Northern Seed Manager for Pinnacle Agriculture, David set a successful strategy for growth in seeds while working across functional groups to integrate independent regional businesses into the organization. Also, David was instrumental in setting strategy and launching a new seed brand across Pinnacle.

Both appointments are effective in the first week of June.

Agribusiness, Bayer, Syngenta

Brownfield Livestock Market Reporter to Retire

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Veteran farm broadcaster Jerry Passer is retiring – for real this time.

Jerry already retired once after almost 20 years at WMT Radio and TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa but he came out of retirement in 2002, signing a six month agreement to cover livestock markets for Brownfield Ag News that turned into almost 15 years.

“For almost 35 years of a broadcast career that spans 51 years in July, I have worked for two of the best broadcast companies in the business. Nearly 20 years at WMT Radio and TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and 14 ½ for Brownfield,” said Passer. “Without a doubt my time at Brownfield has been the best. The people I have worked with are the best in the business.”

Jerry is a graduate of Brown Institute of Broadcasting and a Vietnam Era war vet, U.S. Navy. He worked at radio stations in Blue Earth, Albert Lea and Austin Minnesota, Cedar Rapids and Oelwein, Iowa before landing at WMT. He looks forward to spending more time in Texas with his daughter and grandchildren when he officially hangs up the microphone at the end of June.

Anchor/Reporter Meghan Grebner will assume the responsibilities of livestock market reporting in a newly created role on the Brownfield Ag News team.

AgWired Animal, Brownfield, Livestock, Media

Nebraska Governor Praises Grain Trade with Mexico

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, USGC CEO Tom Sleight, and NCGA’s Tom Doggett

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts asked grain industry officials from Mexico and the United States join him Tuesday for a press conference to highlight the importance of Mexico to U.S. agriculture and how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has benefited both countries.

“Bilateral trade with Mexico has helped grow agriculture in our state over the years,” said Governor Ricketts. “Mexico is Nebraska’s largest export market for corn, dairy, sugar, and sweeteners, and second largest market for soybeans, wheat, sorghum, and distillers grains. All of this combined accounts for thousands of Nebraska jobs. I’m encouraged by local and national discussions to expand trade, and am committed to helping grow our trade relationship with Mexico so we can continue to grow Nebraska.”

The Nebraska Corn Board, the U.S. Grains Council, and the National Corn Growers Association are hosting a team of Mexican grain and industry officials in Nebraska for a town hall and industry meetings. Later this week, the Mexican delegation will travel to Washington, D.C., where they will join U.S. corn farmers for meetings with Congressional leaders to discuss the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship.

“Having these industry leaders here in the United States this week to share how NAFTA has impacted their companies and their country is invaluable to helping us communicate how important strong trade policy with our nearest neighbors is to the continued success of U.S. grain producers and exporters,” said USGC CEO Tom Sleight.

Jon Doggett, NCGA executive vice president and head of public policy, says NAFTA has been a major catalyst for economic growth in the corn industry and Mexico is the largest market for U.S. corn. “We will work closely with the Trump Administration and Congress to build on the successful trade relationship we have with our neighbors in Mexico, and make sure a modernized NAFTA is a win-win for both our countries,” said Doggett, who stresses calling changes in NAFTA “updating” or “modernizing” rather than “renegotiating.”

Listen to the press conference here: Nebraska presser on trade with Mexico

Agribusiness, AgWired AgNewsWire, AgWired Energy, Audio, Corn, Grains, NCGA, Trade, USGC