#ASTACSS Says Farewell Chicago and Hello Orlando

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

When the American Seed Trade Association moves its annual December meeting and expo to Orlando next year, it will be a whole new world for attendees, with not only a new location but a new name.

“It’s going to be our ASTA Field Crop Seed Conference,” said ASTA President and CEO Andy LaVigne. “It really does cover all field crops, not just corn, soybeans and sorghum.”

Corn, soybeans and sorghum is what the CSS has stood for, but ASTA Chair Jim Schweigert with Gro Alliance says the conference has grown beyond that. “The diversity of the seed industry continues to expand and grow,” said Schweigert. “We wanted to make it more inclusive.”

The final swan song for ASTA in Chicago this week was definitely one everyone will remember after 77 years of holding this event in Chicago, and the past 45 years at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Listen to wrap up interviews with LaVigne and Schweigert below:
ASTA Chair Jim Schweigert, Gro Alliance 10:12

ASTA President and CEO Andy LaVigne 2:17

ASTA, Audio, Seed

Industry Ag News 12/9

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • The House Republican Steering Committee elected Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15) as Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture for the 118th Congress. Mr. Thompson will be the first Chairman from Pennsylvania in nearly 170 years.
  • The introduction of Aerobotics Crop Insurance Services, a new crop insurance agency, was announced by the company. The company will employ artificial intelligence to create extremely precise crop insurance plans for producers of perennial crops, a significant first for the crop insurance industry.
  • During its annual meeting in St. Louis, the American Soybean Association elected the leaders who will guide the organization through the coming year’s top advocacy priorities, including the much-anticipated 2023 Farm Bill, among other policy issues. Daryl Cates of Illinois, who previously served as ASA vice president, will serve as 2023 ASA president.
  • Labor demands continue to tax the bottom lines of farmers and ranchers, with rising wage rates and record usage of the H-2A visa program. Meaningful reforms to the federal government’s guest worker program must be a priority for Congress by the end of the year. The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with more than 350 other food and farm organizations that are part of the Ag Workforce Coalition, sent a letter urging the Senate to pass legislation to address the nation’s agricultural workforce challenges before the end of the 117th Congress. The House of Representatives has passed a farm labor reform bill, but the legislation needs improvements to adequately address pressing needs facing agriculture.
  • The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and Corteva Agriscience have launched applications for the 2023 IFAJ/Corteva Master Class to be held in Alberta, Canada from June 24-26, 2023. Application deadline is December 14, 2022.
  • MorganMyers announces the addition of two accomplished communicators who will deepen the company’s agricultural and digital capabilities to serve its growing client base. Greg Ehm joins the company as senior counselor while Alex Blake will serve as senior digital strategist.
  • The Georgia Peanut Commission hosted a photo contest throughout 2022 to fill the pages of the 2023 Georgia Peanut Calendar, “The Farm – Best Home of the Family.” Peanut farmers from across Georgia were encouraged to submit their best, high-resolution photo of families on the farm for a chance to feature the photo in the 2023 calendar. More than 30 entries were submitted from across the peanut belt and only 12 were selected as a monthly feature.
  • The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture announced the hiring of Stephanie McBath as Associate Director of Public Policy and Josie Montoney-Crawford as Manager of Public Policy.
  • The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced Julie Busse has accepted the role of Director of Renewable Fuels. In her new position, Busse will serve as lead staff for the Ethanol Action Team (ETHAT) driving the organization’s ethanol related development, promotion, research, and education efforts.
  • USDA MiCa, USDA Dint and USDA Klondike, the first winter pea cultivars specifically developed to be used whole or as an ingredient in human food, have been released by the Agricultural Research Service.
  • AgCareers.com awarded their first-ever U.S. Feed Your Future Scholarship to Lindsay Mikell, a student at the University of Florida. Mikell is co-enrolled in the University of Florida’s Doctor of Plant Medicine program and Master’s in Environmental Horticulture.
  • The 2023 Golden ARC Awards Contest is open. Deadline to enter is April 14, 2023. Entries for the 2023 contest must include public relations activities conducted in full or in part during 2022. Members of the Agricultural Relations Council and non-members may enter the Golden ARC Awards. Each first entry for a non-ARC member will include the registration fee for an individual to become an ARC member. Entrants may be individuals and/or teams.
  • Farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board (USB) elected Meagan Kaiser from Missouri as 2023 Chair and nine additional farmer-leaders to serve on the Executive Committee during the USB December Meeting in St. Charles, Missouri.
Zimfo Bytes

Seed Industry and Sustainability Demands at #ASTACSS

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Wednesday’s general session at the ASTA CSS & Seed Expo on Wednesday focused on the opportunities and challenges for the Seed Industry and Sustainability Demands.

Tristan Brown with the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Kerry Trombley of Marathon Petroleum, and Honeywell’s Kevin O’Neil discussed how governments and corporations are increasingly leading with climate-smart and sustainability initiatives and what impact those initiatives may have on supply chain and standardization.

Listen to their remarks:
ASTACSS remarks Tristan Brown, SUNY College 20:44

ASTACSS remarks Kerry Trombley, Marathon Petroleum 19:49

ASTACSS remarks Kevin O'Neil, Honeywell UOP 14:27

2022 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo Photo Album

Find more audio from ASTACSS in the virtual newsroom for the event

ASTA, Audio, Biofuels, carbon, Seed, Soil, Sustainability

ASTA Witness Testifies on Farm Bill Research Programs

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment


Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee heard testimony from Dr. Katy Martin Rainey, Associate Professor, Agronomy, Purdue University, on behalf of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) during a hearing Tuesday on “Farm Bill 2023: Research Programs.” Rainey spoke to the foundational role of agriculture research in the 2023 Farm Bill in ensuring a secure agricultural production and food system, which starts with quality seed.

“Strong federal investment in agriculture research—leveraged through effective public-private partnerships– is vital to ensuring the success of U.S. farmers in the face of a complex array of emerging challenges,” stressed Rainey. “We rely on the support of Farm Bill funding and programs to ensure continued U.S. leadership as the provider of the best seed to the world.”

Rainey emphasized the importance of Farm Bill research programs for the seed industry. Continued investment and support for these programs, including the National Plant Germplasm System, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), and the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA), are priorities in the next Farm Bill reauthorization. “As we deal with the challenges of feeding a growing population, all of these programs have unique roles creating solutions for a more secure and sustainable future, while keeping the U.S. competitive globally,” she said.

Rainey underscored the role of emerging innovations in crop improvement, made possible by long-term, sustained investments in ag research, in supporting farmers’ successful use of conservation practices. “Breeding will bolster practices for climate adaptation and mitigation, soil health and habitat restoration, such as cover crops, while also benefiting farm productivity,” she said. “This includes the exploration of new and emerging tools like gene editing, which has the potential to unlock new capabilities in plants, thanks to robust private and public sector R&D investments over time.”

Rainey will be in Chicago today to join her colleagues at the ASTA CSS and Seed Expo.

Listen to Dr. Rainey’s testimony here:
Dr. Kaity Martin Rainey testimony 5:59

Interview with Kaity Martin Rainey from ASTACSS
ASTACSS Kaity Rainey interview 8:42

2022 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo Photo Album

Find more audio from ASTACSS in the virtual newsroom for the event

ASTA, Audio, Farm Bill, Research

ZimmCast 702 – Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

Chuck Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ZimmCastHello and welcome to the ZimmCast. I’m Chuck Zimmerman.

I’m in Chicago this week for the ASTA CSS & Seed Expo. This is the last year for the event to be held in Chicago as it moves to Orlando, FL in 2023. I can certainly live with that change! Nothing like Florida in the winter.

Jane InindaI met one of the international attendees yesterday who lives in Kenya and is Head of Seed Research & Systems Development for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Her name is Jane Ininda and she has a great story and I think you’ll enjoy learning about farming challenges in the eleven country area that the organization works in.

I think it is always fascinating to learn more about agriculture in other countries. That’s why I’ve supported the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. They have an annual meeting in a different member country each year. By attending many of them I have been able to travel in Japan, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada, Switzerland and many others. You can learn more about IFAJ at IFAJ.org.

That’s the ZimmCast for this week. I hope you enjoyed it and thank you for listening.

Listen to the ZimmCast here:
ZimmCast 702 - Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (22:33)

Want to sponsor the ZimmCast? Just let me know and we can talk through ideas for your company. I’m AgriBlogger on Twitter or just email me at chuck@zimmcomm.biz.

Subscribe to the ZimmCast in:

Ag Groups, ASTA, Audio, International, ZimmCast

Precision Ag News 12/7

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • During the upcoming Dec. 14 Agri-Pulse webinar, “Understanding the CA regulatory environment and your role in bringing new technology to market,” participants will have a chance to hear from key leaders who will discuss how you can have an impact on the overall process; learn what growers, PCAs and other stakeholders in the industry can do to be more effective and efficient. The webinar is free but registration is required. It takes place at noon pacific time and is sponsored by BASF. Sign up by clicking on this link.
  • AgLaunch Initiative, a nonprofit ag innovation organization based in Memphis,Tennessee, announced the addition of Marcus Coleman, Ph.D. and Arielle Moinester to its Board of Directors. Coleman and Moinester will help provide strategic guidance and leadership to expand the organization’s farmer-led, open innovation model regionally and nationally.
  • Heliae Agriculture has announced the inauguration of the PhycoTerra® World Soil Day Scholarship program to support the next generation of agriculture and soil health leaders. Launched on World Soil Day, December 5, the scholarship recognizes three students in the U.S. and Canada who are completing studies in the soil, crop, or agronomy sciences.
  • Growers considering a biofungicide to manage diseases in their crops should ask their retailers and local trusted advisors about Actinovate from Novozymes BioAg. Actinovate can be used to protect crops against diseases including downy mildew, fusarium, phytophthora and many more. Actinovate becomes active in the soil when the temperature is above 45 F.
  • The non-profit Soil Health Academy (SHA) announced it has received a $200,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation to further advance the adoption of soil health-focused regenerative agricultural principles and practices throughout the nation in 2023.
  • The Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture announced that food tech company Benson Hill, Inc. has formally endorsed the Framework for Responsible Use of Gene Editing in Agriculture. With consumer needs in mind, Benson Hill combines data science, food science and plant science to leverage the natural genetic diversity within plants, and design plant-based ingredients for new value-added markets.
  • To meet the rising demand of biological crop protection, Certis Biologicals announced that it is strengthening its innovation pipeline by naming Mike Allan Vice President of Business Development and Licensing. As such, Allan will seek opportunities for the biologicals leader to expand innovation efforts through partnerships, licensing and potential acquisitions.
  • The Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska took advantage of more opportunities for in-person connection this year and offers a glimpse of its significant movement forward in its annual report for fiscal year 2021-2022.
  • Another leading agronomic professional has joined Meristem Crop Performance, one of the fastest-growing crop input suppliers in America. Mike McNinch becomes a Meristem sales representative in Illinois. McNinch has deep experience in helping growers boost their profitability with the right products and practices.
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes, Precision Agriculture

Basse Back for Farewell Chicago #ASTACSS

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

AgResource economist Dan Basse is in high demand to provide his economic insights around the world, but he calls Chicago home and has been presenting his annual agricultural report and outlook at the ASTA CSS & Seed Expo 2022 every year since 2012. This last year for the event in Chicago was no exception and once again Basse packed a lot of information into an hour.

While he prefers to share upbeat analyses, Basse says 2023 looks to be a “downer” year for grain markets. “The last couple of years we’ve seen rather bullish agricultural markets … which has lifted corn prices up to seven dollars, soybeans up to 15 and we’ve sat at these prices for quite a while now,” said Busse. “The year ahead doesn’t look quite as pleasing …because of the rising dollar and rising interest rates, the slowing economy globally is not going to be very good for grain demand.”

Basse expects the U.S. will become more of a domestic market for grain. “Our share of world trade is dropping,” said Basse. “We are not as dominant in the world market as we used to be. Back when I first got into the business in 1979, the U.S. export share was 64%. Today we’re down around 12 percent.”

Listen to Basse’s remarks and two interviews with him here below:

ASTACSS Dan Basse, AgResource, report 60:00

ASTACSS Dan Basse, AgResource, summary interview 6:01

ASTACSS Dan Basse, AgResource, renewables outlook 4:25

2022 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo Photo Album

Find more audio from ASTACSS in the virtual newsroom for the event

ASTA, Audio

Cover Crops as a System at ASTACSS

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

One of the first sessions of the 2022 ASTA CSS and Seed Expo as it kicked off in Chicago this week was all about a systems approach to breeding cover crops for optimal rotation and it was led by former USDA NRCS chief and nationally recognized conservation expert Bruce Knight, founder of Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC, a consultancy focused on conservation and sustainability issues related to agriculture.

“The whole thing about cover crops is let’s do the right thing by the environment… but do it economically in a viable, sustainable long term manner, and that’s a systems approach,” said Knight.

Participants in the panel included Shalamar Armstrong and Dan Quinn, both with Purdue University, and Sara Lira, Corteva.

Dr. Armstrong’s research found that some farmers who started using cover crops got discouraged when they experienced yield lag. “Then we found if we rotate the cover crop in the system with the rotating cash crop, we can – with the right cover crop – reduce that negative trade off of the yield lag.” He used the example of cereal rye, a nitrogen scavenger, followed by soybeans, a nitrogen fixer.

Listen to interviews with Knight and Armstrong here:
ASTACSS interview with Bruce Knight, Strategic Conservation Solutions 7:19
Interview with Dr. Shalamar Armstrong, Purdue University “Systems Approach to Cover Crops”
ASTACSS interview with Dr. Shalamar Armstrong, Purdue 5:55

2022 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo Photo Album

Find more audio from ASTACSS in the virtual newsroom for the event

ASTA, Audio, Conservation, cover crops, Seed

Animal Ag News 12/5

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

  • PIC (Pig Improvement Company) announced it has made a strategic minority investment in SwineTech, a farm management solutions company. As part of the investment, PIC and SwineTech will develop a strategic relationship to explore and advance the continued development of innovative products and approaches for improving the predictability and efficiency of swine production.
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO Colin Woodall released a statement following the signing of H.J. Res. 100 to avert disruptions in rail service: “America’s cattle producers are grateful for the bipartisan effort that prevented disruptions in critical rail service across the country. A rail shutdown would have been disastrous to our supply chain, and would have interrupted the essential feed, fuel, and fertilizer shipments cattle producers need. We are pleased that this joint resolution was swiftly passed by Congress and signed into law.”
  • Join Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA) for its next webinar – “Achieving Better Outcomes when BRD Comes Knocking” – set for December 8, at 2 p.m. Central time (U.S./Canada). Tiago Tomazi, Merck Animal Health ruminant technical services, is the presenter for this free, one-hour educational offering. This webinar is RACE and ARPAS approved.
  • Royal DSM began construction of a new manufacturing facility at its site in Dalry, Scotland. The plant will significantly increase global production of Bovaer, DSM’s unique methane-reducing feed additive for cattle.
  • Vytelle outpaced their plan to double laboratory capacity to meet the demand for hormone-free in vitro fertilization (IVF). Part of the five-year plan, initiated at the conclusion of their Series A Funding, promised to double the laboratory capacity to produce bovine embryos through IVF. The announcement of the Franklin, Tennessee location marks the fifth laboratory opening since their Series A Funding in 2021.
  • The Animal Agriculture Alliance has concluded its release of reports from five prominent animal rights extremist conferences held over the course of 2022. The conferences included: Humane Society of the United States’ Taking Action for Animals (TAFA) Conference, The Rancher Advocacy Program’s (RAP) Summit, Animal Place’s Farmed Animal Conference E-Summit (FACES), Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) Animal Law Symposium, and ALDF and the Center for Animal Law Studies’ Animal Law Conference. All 2022 animal rights activism conference reports, which include personal accounts of speaker presentations and general observations, are available to Alliance members in the Resource Center on the Alliance website.
  • Illinois Milk Producers Association during its 2022 annual awards program recognized two farmers who showcased leadership, stewardship and excellence in the dairy industry. David Ruppert, of Montgomery County, is the recipient of the 2022 Dairy Industry Service Award. This award recognizes an Illinois individual who has shown exemplary service and benefit to the state’s dairy industry. The 2022 Dairy Sustainability Award recognizes an Illinois dairy farm or dairy farmer who has made outstanding contributions toward innovative technologies and best management practices to improve environmental stewardship and economic viability. This year’s award recognizes Scheidairy Farm, in Stephenson County. Today, the operation is managed by Doug and Trish Scheider, fourth generation farmers, and Dan and Sarah Scheider, fifth generation farmers, who milk approximately 650 Holstein cows.
AgWired Animal, Animal Agriculture, Animal Bites

DWFI Podcast 20 – Christopher Neale, DWFI

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

In this episode of the Water for Food Podcast, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI) Director of Communications Frances Hayes sits down with her colleague and DWFI’s Director of Research Dr. Christopher Neale. Dr. Neale shares how his technical research translates to a more sustainable agricultural system through more precise use of water and savings for farmers.

Dr. Neale joined DWFI in 2013 and oversees its research efforts, engaging faculty in new projects and initiating partnerships all over the world with various organizations, universities and industry partners. Throughout his decades-long career, his research has focused primarily on developing remote sensing applications for irrigated agriculture, hydrology and natural resources monitoring. He has developed a low-cost airborne remote sensing system used in the western U.S. to map the energy balance and evapotranspiration of agricultural crops and natural vegetation. Dr. Neale is a founding partner and executive committee member of the Irrigation Innovation Consortium. He has led numerous national and international partnerships and projects to improve irrigation management in the U.S., Middle East and North Africa, India, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Kazakhstan.

Listen here or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform:
DWFI Podcast 20 - Christopher Neale, DWFI 34:54

The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI) at the University of Nebraska was founded with the mission to have a lasting and significant impact on achieving more food security with less pressure on scarce water resources by conducting scientific and policy research, using the research results to inform policy makers, and sharing knowledge through education and communication.

How to subscribe:

AgWired Precision, Audio, Farming, Precision Agriculture, Water, Water for Food