- The American Farm Bureau Federation is accepting speaker proposals for the 2019 AFBF Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in New Orleans, Louisiana this January, 11-16, 2019. Submit your proposal by Friday, May 18, 2018 for a chance to become part of one of the premier destinations for agriculture education, policy development, industry relationships and cutting-edge innovations.
- The IFAJ2018 World Congress Dutch Roots organizers will offer a three day pre-tour to visit a dairy farmer, an arable crop farmer and a flower grower. The pre-tour will only be organized if there are enough participants – the minimum number is 20 persons. The deadline for participation in the pre-tour is set at May 23rd. Those interested in the pre-tour will know on June 1st at the latest if the pre-tour will or will not be organized as proposed. For detailed information, please send an email to email@example.com.
- Is this a trade war or just trade rhetoric? That question will be explored by the current and three former Chief Agriculture Negotiators at the Farm Foundation Forum on Tuesday, May 22. The Forum will be at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. Register here. A free, live audiocast will be available for those unable to participate in the Forum in person. Register for the audiocast here.
- Eleven U.S. cotton industry members have been chosen to participate in the National Cotton Council’s Emerging Leaders Program for 2018-19. Overall, the Emerging Leaders Program provides participants with a better understanding of how the NCC carries out its mission of ensuring the U.S. cotton industry’s seven segments can compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S.-manufactured product markets at home and abroad.
- The Agricultural Retailers Association announced that Melisa Augusto has been hired as director of communications and marketing for the organization. She will officially join the staff on May 15.
Raven Industries and Farmers Edge have joined forces in a marketing and collaboration agreement.
The two companies are working together to develop new precision agriculture technologies that will rapidly increase expansion of Farmers Edge digital agronomy and risk management solutions in key markets. The collaboration leverages the use of streaming data transfer between CanPlugs and Raven Slingshot® and field computers.
This collaboration aligns powerful analytics with unparalleled data sets that provide a single point for growers to visualize, analyze and make all farm management decisions. It incorporates Raven’s precision agriculture hardware, high-speed connectivity and variable rate technology with Farmers Edge complete and independent precision digital solutions powered by billions of on-farm data points. This translates to simplified agronomic and input management for growers.
The image shows participants in the IFAJ Middle East Forum, hosted by the Turkey Guild of Agricultural Journalists and the Food Safety Congress at the Grand Cevahir Hotel in Istanbul on May 2, 2018. This forum is a serious attempt to create a new agricultural journalists network in a region sorely in need of an entity that promotes independent agricultural communications that are not controlled by political interests. Here are some excerpts from the summary of the Forum on the IFAJ website.
Thirty representatives from Middle East countries joined IFAJ leaders earlier this month for at historic three-day meeting in bustling Istanbul, Turkey, to create an IFAJ Middle East agricultural journalists’ network.
The Turkish Guild of Agricultural Journalists and the 6th Food Safety Congress hosted representatives from Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Tunisia, Georgia, Ukraine and Turkey.
Ultimately, they agreed IFAJ should consider creating an online agricultural journalism certificate – as envisioned, containing equal parts of agriculture education and journalism training — that could be accessed by any IFAJ member, including those in the Middle East.
Over the coming weeks, watch for further news about the forum and statements from participants. The IFAJ Global Office will be following up to maintain communications with participants and support efforts to formalize the Middle East network.
I start off with The Ethanol Report, which has been sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association since 2008. This week, Cindy talks with RFA CEO Bob Dinneen about the latest RFS news which has a big impact on rural America and agriculture in general.
Then Beltway Beef is showcased, the podcast of the National Cattlemens Beef Association. This episode, hosted by Ed Frank, features NCBA’s Ashley McDonald talking about the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef’s release of its National Framework for Beef Sustainability.
Next up is Chase Adams, former farm broadcaster (you can tell from that voice!) hosting the ASI Sheepcast with Kay Johnson Smith, Executive Director of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. For over 30 years, the Alliance has been on the front lines of ensuring consumers and customers are correctly informed on how food and fiber is produced by America’s sheep and livestock producers.
Not exactly a podcast but produced regular nonetheless is Ed Czerwein’s Weekly Box Beef Report. The Choice cutout is following the normal grilling season rally helped by rib and loin primal products.
And finally you’ll hear a teaser for the new AAEA The Agricultural Communicators Network, Ag Comm Network Podcast.
Want me to feature your podcast? Please let me know. Want to start one but don’t know how then let me help you. Call or write anytime.
Listen to the ZimmCast here: ZimmCast 583 - RFS, Beef, Sheep and Ag Media
I hope you enjoy it and thank you for listening.
Subscribe to the ZimmCast podcast here. Use this url in iTunes or your favorite news reader program/app.
News that the Tuesday meeting at the White House resulted in a commitment to allow year-round sales of 15% ethanol blends was tempered by a reported plan to reallocate Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) from exempted renewable fuel volumes using exported ethanol gallons. As Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley tweeted after the meeting, the devil will be in the details of the plan to be worked out between EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.
During an interview with reporters yesterday afternoon, National Corn Growers Association CEO Chris Novak said, “We’re hopeful that as our cabinet members take a look at this idea they’ll understand that it doesn’t fit with the statutory authority under the Renewable Fuel Standard, nor does it fit with our trading obligations as a member of the global community.”
The Renewable Fuels Association is also pleased with approval year-round E15 but very concerned about using RIN credits for exports. “Depending on potential implementation, allowing exports to qualify for RFS compliance could dramatically reduce domestic ethanol demand, while most certainly resulting in retaliatory trade barriers from the countries importing U.S. ethanol,” said Dinneen.
A few weeks ago, I traveled with the This Week in Agribusiness crew to Bagley, Wisconsin to hear the story of Fischer Dairy Farm. Todd Fischer is a first generation dairy farmer with a possible unique perspective. In 1990 he started out with just 17 cows. Today, he is milking 900 and says keeping it simple has been his approach. Todd is optimistic about the future of his operation despite the depressed milk prices. Perhaps being a first generation producer allows him to think outside the box.
Listen to him share his story below:
- Crop Enhancement anticipates commercialization of its non-toxic crop protection technology, CropCoat, following successful field trials with cacao growers in Indonesia. Field testing with coffee growers is also underway in Central and South America, and the program is being expanded to other high-value specialty crops including tree fruit, vegetables, and berries in the United States.
- PrecisionHawk Inc. has announced the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)-enabled, multi-rotor drone platform. First to market, the drone incorporates industry-leading technology to automatically identify all cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft within a 10km radius, ensuring airspace de-confliction well before potential confrontation. The platform was designed based on the findings and recommendations in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Pathfinder Report, which serves as a blueprint for enterprises to conduct BVLOS drone operations. You can read the full report or an abbreviated version.
- AgGateway will present a “Quick Connect” session featuring face-to-face meetings between trading partners at its upcoming Mid-Year Meeting in Altoona, Iowa, June 11-14. The Quick Connect Session gives ag retailers, distributors, manufacturers and their software vendors the opportunity to meet and determine next steps in establishing electronic connections. To register, contact AgGateway’s Member Services at Member.Services@AgGateway.org or 866-251-8618.
- Larson Electronics LLC has released a flood light kit that directly replaces and upgrades existing OEM lights for John Deere 9500 Combines. This LED light kit consists of six 45-watt LED flood lights to replace the existing top front cab lights.
- The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) celebrated the organization’s 63rd Annual Stewardship Week at the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) People’s Garden. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue commemorated the opening day of the department’s farmers market and toured booths set up by local farmers, ranchers and small businesses. NACD set up a tent at the farmers market to educate people of all ages about Stewardship Week.
- The Soil Health Partnership welcomes two new field managers to the staff, supporting farmers on the ground in the growing soil health effort. Lisa Kubik, and Tricia Verville joined the SHP in April to assist with the growing number of farmers in the program in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture invited public comment on the proposed rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall spoke in favor of the proposed rule, which he said is based on factual information rather than emotional scare tactics and will give consumers a valuable resource for making informed decisions about food.
- Resson announced a $14 million Series C up round of financing that welcomed Mahindra & Mahindra as a strategic partner, joining existing strategic partners McCain Foods and Monsanto Growth Ventures as well as existing investors Build Ventures, Rho Canada, BDC Capital, East Valley Ventures and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation.
- The Rice Market & Technology Convention will be in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, June 5-7. Join the largest and most diverse gathering of rice industry professionals in the western hemisphere for the opportunity to network and learn more about the rice industry.
GROWMARK and local FS member cooperatives are recognizing 26 sustainable farming operations for the inaugural Enduring Farm awards. These farms were nominated for the award for their implementation of sustainable nutrient management practices such as following the 4R principles for all nutrient applications, monitoring nitrogen levels through soil sampling, and implementing variable rate technology for phosphorous applications. Nutrient management cropping practices were implemented during the 2017 growing season and all Enduring Farms will be provided N-WATCH™ services to measure results of a nutrient management trial conducted on their farm during the 2018 growing season.
GROWMARK’s Chuck Spencer says nominations for Enduring Farms recognition were submitted by each grower’s FS crop specialist based on specific sustainable practices implemented on their farms. “There’s a structured system of point evaluations for implementing specific practices,” says Spencer. “We’re watching this continued build of pride for the recognition that ‘I’m a sustainable production entity.'”
Spencer says because sustainability is so critical for agriculture, GROWMARK implemented the Endure initiative in 2016. “That is very simple to explain – it’s those practices that endure over time,” said Spencer.
Carrie Muehling visited with Chuck Spencer this week at GROWMARK headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois to learn more about this award program and the cooperative’s overall commitment to sustainability initiatives. Spencer is Executive Director for Corporate and Government Relations at GROWMARK. The winners and a full list of specific criteria can be found here: https://www.fssystem.com/Sustainability/Enduring-Farms.Interview with Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK, on Enduring Farms awards
Numerous agricultural and biofuels interests are urging President Trump to help farmers by implementing year-round sales of higher ethanol blends when he meets once again this week with Congressional leaders from farm and oil states at the White House.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, American Soybean Association and National Association of Wheat Growers sent a letter to the President expressing concerns about how farmers have been negatively impacted by recent EPA actions in light of the lowest net farm income in over a decade expected this year. They ask the White House to allow sales of E15 all year, halt the abuse of “small refinery exemptions,” and uphold a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), without “causing additional harm to the farm economy.”
In addition, NCGA and state corn grower associations sent a letter to USDA Secretary Perdue Monday thanking him for his support and asking his help “to continue to advocate for real solutions, such as RVP parity for higher blends, and to continue to highlight the demand destruction caused by EPA’s refinery exemptions, as well as how EPA’s actions contradict President Trump’s commitments.”
Growth Energy had an open letter to President Trump from nearly 100 ethanol producers published in the New York Times, New York Post, and Wall Street Journal on Monday, in conjunction with a digital and radio ad campaign urging Midwest voters to contact the White House in support of E15. And fuel retailers offering E15 in 11 states sent a letter to President Trump asking him to immediately instruct the EPA to follow through on his pledge to allow year-round sales of E15 before summer restrictions begin on June 1st.
The latest White House meeting on the issue is expected to be held Tuesday and once again include Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst on the ethanol side, and Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ted Cruz of Texas representing the oil industry. The four met with the president in February and again in March with stakeholders.
AAEA The Agriculture Communicators Network is seeking input from its members about a proposed change in membership categories. Here is what is proposed.
The AAEA board is proposing new membership categories that reflect the editorial functions of our members, serve communicators who want to support editorial and content creation, and engage communicators who are at different ends of their career. The proposal allows more potential members serve in leadership roles while valuing the editorial purpose of our organization. It also provides more clarity to membership classes.
In the past we had five membership classes: Active, Affiliate, Honorary Life, Student and Retired.
Under the new membership proposal we will have six membership classes: Editorial, Associate, Partner, Student, Retiree and Honorary Life.