ASTA Annual Meeting is Next Week

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The 2017 American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Annual Convention is coming up next week, June 21-24 in Minneapolis with a theme of Voyage to Better Seed.

“This year we’ve got a lot of topics in front of us with a new administration, a farm bill out there, all the issues within the farm bill, and how do we develop policy that will benefit the industry into the next year and beyond,” said ASTA president and CEO Andy LaVigne. There are also number of special sessions and tours planned for the week, including an Opening General Session panel featuring representatives from several major food companies discussing consumer food trends and a tour of Syngenta’s Seedcare Institute to see its state of the art research and training facility.

This meeting is also when new ASTA officers are installed and it includes more than 400 seed industry professionals from every division of the association. Learn more in this interview: Interview with Andy LaVigne, ASTA

AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, Seed

ZimmCast on Risk Management Solutions

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ZimmCast 549In this week’s program I’m sharing a conversation with Chip Whalen, Commodity & Ingredient Hedging (CIH). The topic is uncertainty requiring flexibility. Think about how commodity prices are affected by weather, trade, exchange rates and more competition. There are more factors too.

So, how do farmers manage risk with the uncertainty we’re seeing in the trade today? That’s where Chip’s expertise in the education and research area for CIH comes in handy. Farmers are becoming more and more sophisticated when it comes to working with new solutions to protect their prices and margins. So we talk about tools like using options instead of the cash market. With a volatile market is it possible to actually take advantage of it? Yes, it is possible and Chip will explain.

I hope you enjoy the program and thank you for listening!

Listen to the ZimmCast here: ZimmCast with Chip Whalen, Commodity & Ingredient Hedging

Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here. Use this url in iTunes or your favorite news reader program/app.

The ZimmCast

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The ZimmCast podcast is sponsored by GROWMARK
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Audio, Farming, ZimmCast

Pork Pleased with Pruitt and EPA Reform

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

The Trump administration has certainly shaken things up, and nowhere is that more evident than in regards to environmental issues. Kraig Westerbeek, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Board & VP of Environment and Support Operations for Murphy Brown spoke about top environmental priorities at the recent World Pork Expo, outlining the steps recently taken toward regulatory reform.

The Waters of the U.S. was at the top of list Westerbeek says. “From day one the NPPC has been a leader in the fight against the Obama administration’s attempt to dramatically expand the jurisdiction of the EPA and giving activist groups a method to use against activities they oppose.”

“Among the actions NPPC has taken to fight against the WOTUS rule have been: online mapping that was instrumental in exposing the extent of the EPA’s regulatory overreach, we fought for and secured an opportunity for producers to comment on the EPA’s proposed rule, we stopped the EPA’s backdoor ag exemptions proposal which provided no protection for farmers but would have turned the USDA field staff into pseudo regulatory personnel, we drafted and submitted four sets of comments on the rule including one with more than 100 state, local, and national groups, and we challenged the rule in federal court.”

NPPC is pleased with the new direction Pruitt appears to be heading. Currently, the EPA is drafting a rule to replace WOTUS- a rule that would return to the previous status-quo and is being developed with the help of state governors to ensure boundaries between state and federal jurisdictions.

NPPC is also looking closely at the air emissions act, asking the court to withhold enforcement of an order that already requires producers to report to state and local officials and could completely swamp the coast guard’s phone system with unnecessary odor emissions calls.

Listen to Westerbeek’s presentation in full here to learn more: Kraig Westerbeek, NPPC

View and download photos from the event here: 2017 World Pork Expo Photo Album

Coverage of the World Pork Expo is sponsored by
Coverage of the World Pork Expo is sponsored by Aptimmune
Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Audio, NPPC, Pork, World Pork Expo

Disrupt, Don’t Fear New Ideas in Beef Production

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference was all about causing a disruption in all forms of our life and of course in agriculture. And this includes the beef community. There was no better person to chat with when it comes to research in the beef industry than Dr. Vaughn Holder, Research Project Manager, Beef Nutrition, Alltech.

A Head-Out-of-the-Sand approach, was the center of discussion as he led beef leaders and agribusinesses in talks on how they can learn to embrace problems, solve issues and reframe their image. Why not be unique and bring traceable, healthy beef products to the world marketplace. Dr. Holder said you much leverage key industry resources and “steak” your claim, from farm to fork.

“I want producers to understand the types of programs and opportunities are out there for them which give them the chance to make more money and change little of what they are currently doing. I honestly believe most producers are doing the right thing and if you have the opportunity to get paid more for doing what you are doing you should do so.”

But how do you identify those opportunities? One option is independent verification companies who can walk you through what you would need to do to meet the guidelines for different programs. Dr. Holder mentioned age and sourced verified cattle and this is very timely with the recent news as U.S. beef comes closer and closer to entering China.

“Don’t shut down an idea just because you are fearful of it. You might look at these opportunities and find it’s not for you. That is fine. It doesn’t mean our heads are in the sand. But you do need to keep your eyes open to opportunities presented to you and stay relevant.”

Listen to my complete interview with Dr. Holder to learn some of the most asked questions he gets from producers and what might be the beef technology of the future here:
Interview with Dr. Vaughn Holder, Alltech

View and download photos from the event here: ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference Photo Album

Agribusiness, AgWired Animal, Alltech, Audio, Beef

AEM Releases Policy Plan for Infrastructure Advantage

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has unveiled a new policy report for the country called “The U.S. Infrastructure Advantage™” which makes the case for a U.S. infrastructure system that supports the safe and efficient movement of people and goods; provides connectivity between and within rural and urban America; and fosters strong economic growth and robust job creation.

“The United States once had an infrastructure system that was the envy of the world,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “Now we are really are living off the past of that infrastructure. Over the last decade we’ve been doing nothing more than repairing and doing patch work.”

The report offers five key areas to help reclaim the U.S. Infrastructure Advantage:
1. Focus on networks and systems
2. Maximize use of smart technology
3. Ensure rural-urban connectivity
4. Expedite project delivery
5. Provide adequate and reliable resources

Slater says they have been very encouraged by President Trump’s interest in infrastructure improvement and his plan released last week. “The president’s plan probably touches on each of these areas,” said Slater. “He mentioned infrastructure on the night he was elected and that gave us hope finally that it was part of the conversation.”

The report was developed following a two-year process of discussion and engagement with a wide range of infrastructure stakeholders through AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 thought-leadership initiative.

Slater explains more in this interview: Interview with AEM president Dennis Slater

AEM, AgWired Precision, Audio, Equipment, Infrastructure

Secure Pork Plan Creates Excitement at WPX

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

The World Pork Expo was buzzing with the news of the soon-to-be-launched Secure Pork Supply plan.

“The Pork Board is taking a leadership role in preparedness,” said Terry O’Neel, vice president of the National Pork Board said at a combined press conference.  “This is another collaborative effort between the National Pork Producers Council, National Pork Board, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and state and federal officials.”

Bill Northey, Secretary of Ag for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship understands the need for biosecurity in a very real way. The devastation faced by the poultry industry in his state found a silver lining by being of use in shaping the secure pork plan.

“We all know that when a disease outbreak hits everyone is a little different. Sometimes we don’t follow plans exactly because each is unique, but the planning process is hugely important. The request to have each producer be able to look at how they fit into this and how they think about how they fit into this is extremely important,” Northey asserts.

Knowing ahead of time what will need to happen on an operation during an outbreak is important, since the most logical step when you don’t know where a disease is coming from is to stop movement, Northey adds.

Patrick Webb, a veterinarian and Director of Swine Health Programs, also addressed the audience, along with Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board. Listen to their comments in the full press conference here: National Pork Board Press Conference

View and download photos from the event here: 2017 World Pork Expo Photo Album

Coverage of the World Pork Expo is sponsored by
Coverage of the World Pork Expo is sponsored by Aptimmune
Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Audio, Food Security, NPPC, Pork, World Pork Expo

Animal Ag Bites 6/13

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment


  • The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will kick off a new regional series of Stockmanship and Stewardship sessions for cattlemen and women with two-day events in California and Nebraska in June.
  • Registration is now open for the 2017 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meetingin Denver, Colorado July 12-15, 2017.
  • The Missouri Angus Association announces Julie Conover of Cameron, Mo., as the organization’s general manager. Conover begins her role July 1.
  • Elanco Animal Health released its inaugural global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Impact Report demonstrating its commitment to impact food security and the support of the human-animal bond.
  • AgWired Animal, Zimfo Bytes

    PrecisionAg Vision Conference

    Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

    I have a vision of a really good precision ag program coming up for year number two this October. It is the PrecisionAg® Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. We are a sponsor of this year’s event! You can expect more information to come but for now, here are some details.

    The conference will take place in Phoenix, AZ. Conference organizer Meister Media Worldwide has enhanced the event this year to galvanize dialogue and foster greater collaboration among precision agriculture’s most central stakeholders: large growing operations and service providers in row crops and specialty/permanent crops around the world.

    New for 2017, the PrecisionAg Vision Conference will offer solutions-based education. Delegates will join their senior-level peers in working through challenging problems to discover cross-functional solutions that apply to everyone in the precision agriculture industry. The takeaway will be practical lessons learned from and for growers, service providers, and colleagues working in like production systems around the world. “In addition to identifying practical solutions, the goal is for delegates to establish a grounded network that fosters communication and endures long after the conference ends,” said Paul Schrimpf, Executive Editor of Meister Media Worldwide’s Agribusiness Group. Also, new this year, the event will offer a pre-conference tour of Arizona’s agricultural technology and the University of Arizona Robotics System.

    Find out more about the conference here.

    AgWired Precision, Events, Precision Agriculture

    Zimfo Bytes

    Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

    Zimfo Bytes

    • The National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging the Trump Administration to use the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to establish a new, fair trade framework for international trade deals that benefits family farmers, ranchers, and rural residents.
    • Millennial farmer members of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) recently met with their legislative representatives in Washington, D.C., to advocate for support in the upcoming farm bill.
    • Chad Hibma of Harris, Iowa, Curt Robbins of Fairfield, Illinois and Lee Stammen of Fort Recovery, Ohio, were the top three to receive the most votes in the Power to Do More contest sponsored by Restore herbicide. Dow AgroSciences is donating a total of $37,000, with $10,000 to the three winning communities and an additional $1,000 to the communities of the remaining seven finalists.
    • The online showcase for the CCA Communications Contest is now live. Take a moment to revisit the winners and browse through the comments to learn what made these entries the cream of the crop making the judges take notice.
    Zimfo Bytes

    U.S. Beef Access to China Takes Another Step Forward

    Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

    The Trump Administration has taken steps toward commercial shipment of U.S. beef and beef products to China for the first time since 2003. The USDA has reached agreement with Chinese officials on final details of a protocol to allow the U.S. to begin the beef exports to China.

    Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement: “Today is a great day for the United States and in particular for our cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle class. Since he was elected, President Trump has brought momentum, optimism, and results to American agriculture families that we haven’t seen in years and this agreement is a great example. I have no doubt that as soon as the Chinese people get a taste of American beef they’ll want more of it.”

    Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), said, “NCBA commends the leadership of President Trump and our skilled negotiators who were able to restore U.S. beef access to China, something that has been a top priority for NCBA for 13 years. NCBA worked closely with USDA throughout the entire process. In recent years, China has become one of the largest import markets for beef, and these terms are a reflection of China’s trust in the safety and quality of U.S. beef.”

    U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng followed suit in praising the announcement. “It is important to note that the market-opening agreement includes requirements that will involve a period of adjustment for the U.S. industry. Meeting these requirements will add costs and this will mean that U.S. beef is priced at a premium compared to other suppliers in the market. With that said, China holds exciting potential for the U.S. beef industry and for buyers in the market who have waited a very long time for the return of high-quality U.S. beef.”

    Ag Group, AgWired Animal, Beef, Exports, NCBA, Trade, USDA, USMEF