Tribute to Don Norton

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

I have a lot of great photos of Don Norton. I decided that I couldn’t do better than this montage from Christy Lee Couch’s FB page. Don passed away this week and he is going to be sorely missed by not only his family but so many people in our industry. I’ve had so many great conversations with Don over the years that I can tell you I will miss him.

Christy really said what well what I and many others feel on her Facebook Post. Here’s part of what she wrote:

When he asked how you were doing? He truly meant it. I have met few people who take such a genuine interest in the lives of their friends. And I promise, you’ll never meet a man who was more proud of his family — you just knew he loved them as no other.

There will never be an Agricultural Media Summit that is the same, without that greeting and big hug from Don at the airport.

Here’s a link to another tribute with a great photo of Don from the Livestock Publications Council FB page.


Bayer Opens Arkansas Soybean Breeding Station

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Southern soybean growers will reap the benefits of an expanded breeding program from Bayer, which includes a $6-million Soybean Breeding and Trait Development Station surrounded by 180 acres of research and showcase plots in Marion, Arkansas.

The innovative facility builds on a proven history of profitable, high-yielding soybean varieties that Bayer brings to market through its flagship Credenz soybean brand. Work here will focus on providing the maturity group (MG) 4 and 5 varieties that are essential to soybean production in the south.

“When launched in 2014, Credenz soybeans added strength to the production opportunities available to growers,” says Chris Tinius, Bayer global soybean breeding director. “This new facility adds weight to the bar Credenz raised.”

The Marion Soybean Breeding and Trait Development Station was part of Bayer’s commitment to invest nearly $1 billion in the U.S. between 2013 and 2016 in new facilities and capital expansion. The Bayer team is poised to deliver higher returns for growers focused on addressing soybean production challenges, particularly Sudden Death Syndrome, southern stem canker, southern root-knot nematode and soybean cyst nematode.

Listen to the complete announcement and press conference here: Marion Soybean Breeding and Trait Development Station Press Conference

View and download photos from the event here: New Bayer U.S. Research Facilities

Agribusiness, Audio, Bayer, Crop Science, Research, Soybean, Video

Scholarship Recipients Honored at #Classic17

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

NCGA committee chair Paul Taylor (center) with scholarship winners Izak Christensen, Michael Tupper, Rodrigo Mendoza, Kelsey Barnes and Rachel Stevens

The National Corn Growers Association and BASF have given five undergraduate or graduate students studying agriculture the William C. Berg Academic Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship. These passionate and motivated students were presented with their $1,000 scholarships at a ceremony during the recent 2017 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas.

“Our industry needs a well-educated and dedicated group of future leaders to help create demand and feed our growing world,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock, a corn grower from Stratford, Texas. “These five scholarship winners will help this happen.”

Read more from NCGA.

2017 Commodity Classic Photo Album

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The Future of Weed Resistance

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

The continued prevalence of herbicide resistant weeds pose a significant threat to the future availability of many of the industry’s most important crop protection technologies, making the need to take a proactive approach to weed resistance more important than ever. David Tanner, Liberty Product Manager at Bayer, spoke during the 2016 Bayer AgVocacy Forum earlier this month about the current challenges presented with weed resistance and ways that growers can work to combat them.

“75% of the soybean acres received one mode of action 10 years ago, and now we’re at over 100 million acres in the U.S. with glyphosate-resistant weeds,” he said in an interview during the Forum. “In 2016, an additional 15 million acres were reported to have glyphosate-resistant weeds, so the increase in resistance continues, and I think it stems from the premise that growers are looking for a simple and easy solution.”

Liberty has no known resistance in broad acre crops, and Tanner stressed the importance of keeping it that way.

“If you’re not controlling your weeds you’re not going to get that optimal yield that the seed genetics can perform, and we know that if we get resistance and we’re not able to control those weeds, that’s going to impact us in the future,” he said.

As part of the ongoing commitment to prevent Liberty resistance, Bayer has put together the STOP Weeds with Liberty Guidelines to help growers ensure that they continue to practice good stewardship with the herbicide.

Catch my full interview with David here:
Interview with David Tanner, Bayer

2017 Bayer AgVocate Forum Photos

Agribusiness, Audio, Bayer, Crop Science, Herbicide, weeds

ARC Hosts Crisis Planning Webinar

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) is hosing a webinar on Thursday, March 16th from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT).  The topic is FMD Crisis Planning and offers advice to PR professionals in their role of communication in the event of a crisis.  Cindy Cunningham with National Pork Board, and Daren Williams from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will be presenting.

Registration is online through

ARC, Public Relations, webinar

NCGA Study Shows Crop Insurance Returns Decreased

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Since the renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement in 2010, private crop insurance company returns have significantly decreased, says a new study by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). Current returns are inline with standard established by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, averaging around 1.5 percent- a decrease of 12.6 percentage points.

“The federal crop insurance program is the cornerstone of farm bill risk management programs, and it is more important than ever given the state of the farm economy,” said Steve Ebke, chairman of the NCGA Risk Management Action Team and a farmer from Daykin, Nebraska. “We commissioned an independent analysis of the crop insurance industry’s performance to determine whether criticisms against the insurers’ returns have merit. What we discovered is that the returns private crop insurance companies receive are much smaller than opponents claim, and they are well within the standards set by RMA.”

Read more from NCGA

Ag Group, Insurance, NCGA

Winners to be Recognized on National Ag Day

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

The Agriculture Council of America winners of the 2017 National Ag Day video, written essay, and photo contest winners and the 2017 Charles Eastin Outstanding Service Award will be recognized next week on March 21, the 44th anniversary of National Ag Day, at the National Press Club.

Hadassah McKinley from Bella Vista, California earned the video essay title and the national essay winner is Bridger Gordon from Whitewood, South Dakota. Both will receive $1,000 prize as well as the trip to Washington D.C. and the opportunity to meet with industry representatives and media. Their entries can be viewed online as at Tana Elliott of Etna Green, Indiana, was selected as the winner of the photo contest. The contest theme this year was “Agriculture: Food for Life.”

Sue Tebow from Moses Lake, Washington is receiving the 2017 Charles Eastin Outstanding Service Award. The award is given to an individual who advocate accurate communication between rural and urban audiences. Tebow’s unique Facebook page, agri.CULTURE showcases her photographs of life on farms and ranches. In less than a year since it’s start in April of 2016 Tebow’s Facebook page has reach 27,000 people with more than 5,000 followers.

National Ag Day was founded in 1973 to encourage Americans to understand agriculture’s role in modern society. For more information about National Ag Day visit

Ag Day, Award

Agrium Offers Smart Nitrogen for Smart Farmers

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Mike Howell spent time at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show telling growers about the benefits of Agrium‘s ESN smart nitrogen. ESN is a polymer-coated urea that slowly releases nitrogen over a period of 60-90 days while preventing loss from volatilization, leaching or de-nitrification

It can work with nearly any grower’s program and with any crop Howell says. Whether a farmer wants to put nitrogen on at the beginning of the season or come back and apply with a side dressing later, Agrium has research data for pretty much any geography in North America. The company has plans for even more research this season and will be hosting field days in conjunction with research at the University of Arkansas, with dates and information coming soon.

Howell recommends growers wanting more information visit The site offers an “Ask the Agronomist” section where questions get answers in a timely manner.

You can also learn more in Chuck’s full interview with Mike Howell here: Interview with Mike Howell, Agrium

Mid-South Farm & Gin Show

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Agribusiness, Audio, Fertilizer

2017 Golden ARC Awards Contest is Open

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) has announced this year’s Golden ARC Awards contest is now open and public relations professionals may submit their 2016 work by April 15, 2017. Entries may be submitted in their entirety through the online portal with an entry fee of $175. Both ARC members and nonmembers are eligible, but non-member prince is and additional $190 with the first entry to become a member of the organization. Those who have not submitted an entry in the past will need to contact ARC to set up a profile at least 24 hours before entries may be accepted.

There are 46 revised categories, reflecting the evolution of agriculture and with an added focus on social media. Winners will be honored a the ARC annual meeting on June 20-22 in Sacrament, California.

Ag Group, ARC, Contest, Public Relations

Sorghum Partners Powers Yield Winner

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Peter Fleming of Triple Creek Farms in Yadkin County, North Carolina loves growing sorghum.

“I love to watch it grow, I love to harvest it, it’s a beautiful crop,” said Fleming, who was the National Non-Irrigated Food-Grade winner in the National Sorghum Producers 2016 yield contest with almost 123 bushels per acre.

His family farm has been growing sorghum – or milo, as they call it in the south – off and on since 1975, starting with hog feed and more recently moving into the food grade market with Sorghum Partners Powered by Chromatin. “We’re wanting to be able to produce good quality food grade sorghum for popping, for making beer, for making flour,” Fleming says and he loves working with Sorghum Partners because they are one of the few companies specializing in food grade varieties. “When you’ve got a company that is strictly sorghum, that means a lot to me.”

Listen to my interview with Peter here: Interview with Peter Fleming, North Carolina sorghum farmer

2017 Commodity Classic Photo Album

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