Industry Ag News 11/23

Carrie Muehling

  • Owen Roberts has been named director of the Agricultural Communications program in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Bert Jacobs, co-founder and Chief Executive Optimist of the $150 million lifestyle brand Life is Good®, will address attendees as general session keynote speaker during the 2023 American Farm Bureau Convention. When Jacobs and his brother John started the company in 1994, they had $78 in their pockets, lived out of their van and sold T-shirts on the streets of Boston. Jacobs will speak during the closing general session at the convention on Monday, Jan. 9, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Farm Journal’s Tyne Morgan, host of U.S. Farm Report, was honored with the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s 2022 Doan Award at the group’s annual convention Nov. 17 in Kansas City, Mo. The Doan recognizes excellence in reporting agriculture through skill, thoroughness and attention to audience interest. Morgan’s winning entry told the story of the Brandon Leseberg family of Rock Port, Mo., and five neighbors who saved his life while rescuing his son from drowning in a well
  • National Farmers Union (NFU) released the 2022 Farmer’s Share of the food dollar for several items typically served for the Thanksgiving holiday. Even though consumers are paying more for food this year, almost none of that increase is being passed on to America’s family farmers and ranchers.
  • 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.
  • It is with great sadness that Ralco announces the passing of President Emeritus, Jon Knochenmus. Jon was surrounded by his family when he passed after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 67.
  • During the upcoming Dec. 1 Agri-Pulse webinar, “How precision pays with crop insurance,” participants have a chance to hear from key leaders who will discuss how utilizing precision data for crop insurance not only provides efficiency but affects premiums and claim experiences. The webinar is free but registration is required. It takes place at noon central time and is sponsored by Farmers Mutual Hail. Sign up by clicking on this link.
  • American Farmland Trust’s Farmland Information Center recently released results from its annual survey of state Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) programs. Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement programs use public funds to compensate property owners for keeping their land available for agriculture. The findings from the 2022 survey are summarized in “Status of State Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement Programs.”
  • American Agri-Women (AAW) recently honored four women with the Helen Whitmore Memorial Scholarship at the annual AAW Convention held in Bozeman. The scholarship helps first-time convention attendees with their travel expenses.
Zimfo Bytes

Precision Ag News 11/22

Carrie Muehling

  • Cooperative Ventures, a venture capital fund formed by North America’s leading agricultural cooperatives, announced its first investment in Sabanto, a hardware and software company on the forefront of developing autonomous capabilities in tractors. Sabanto, founded in 2018, is deploying fully-automous machinery performing row crop field operations throughout the United States.
  • Western Growers and S2G Ventures have announced the winner of the 2022 AgSharks Pitch Competition, with Nutjobs earning a record equity investment offer of $6 million from the event’s judges. Nutjobs transforms nutshell waste into bio-benign plastic alternative products that are bio-based, compostable and derived from secondary agricultural waste. By transforming nutshell waste into bio-benign plastics, Nutjobs creates plastic substitutes that are cost effective and environmentally sustainable.
  • Veteran agronomist and seedsman Bob Joehl has been named director of research and product development for Direct Enterprises, Inc. (DEI). In the role, Joehl will be responsible for DEI’s in-house lab as well as multi-location field research.
  • Purdue University’s Kurt Ristroph has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop nanocarriers as an antibiotic delivery system to help plants fend off citrus greening disease.
  • Xitavo soybean seed takes home over a dozen first-place finishes as the first rounds of yield trial results start to roll in. Xitavo soybean seed is owned by M.S. Technologies and exclusively distributed by BASF.
  • John Deere has been named a CES 2023 Innovation Awards Best of Innovation honoree in the Robotics category, and an honoree in the Vehicle Tech & Advanced Mobility category for its fully autonomous tractor. This is the fourth consecutive year John Deere has received an Innovation Award from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
  • The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) and the Almond Board of California announce a pilot project to reward California almond growers for conservation practices that result in measurable climate impacts. The project will test and streamline the creation and sale of environmental credits from almond orchards in California under ESMC’s Eco-Harvest program. Eco-Harvest stacks multiple ecosystem services credits, including increased soil carbon, reduced greenhouse gases, improved water quality, and water use conservation as a unique and attractive option for farmers and for buyers seeking high quality carbon and environmental credits.
  • The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) inducted Sherman Ward “Bud” Bushnell, founder of Genie, into its Hall of Fame for a broad range of contributions in developing and advancing technologies that support the construction and agriculture industries worldwide.
  • Riceland Foods, Inc. and Nestlé Purina PetCare (Purina) announced a new partnership to incentivize Riceland farmer-members to grow rice using sustainability practices starting in 2023. Purina will invest more than $1.5 Million over four years in the Riceland-Nestlé Purina PetCare Sustainable Rice Program. This investment will help Riceland farmer-members with the adoption of environmentally friendly practices, which often take added time and resources that can make implementation difficult. Purina will receive Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas emission reductions that result from the updated farming practices by participating Riceland farmer-members.
  • Certis Biologicals announced that veteran sales leader Tim Riley has been tapped to helm the company’s U.S.-based sales team as National Sales Director for U.S. Ag Business.
  • During the upcoming Dec. 1 Agri-Pulse webinar, “How precision pays with crop insurance,” participants will have a chance to hear from key leaders who will discuss how utilizing precision data for crop insurance not only provides efficiency but affects premiums and claim experiences. The webinar is free but registration is required. It takes place at noon central time and is sponsored by Farmers Mutual Hail. Sign up by clicking on this link.
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes, Precision Agriculture

Animal Ag News 11/21

Carrie Muehling

  • Alltech, a global leader in the agriculture industry for more than 40 years, is proud to introduce Egalis, a new range of high-quality silage inoculants that maximize nutrient quality, increase forage stability and reduce dry matter loss to help maintain optimal animal performance. Egalis drives proper fermentation and assists epiphytic bacteria to control the fermentation through the use of specific bacteria.
  • The Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the largest and oldest livestock association based in Texas, announced Melissa Hamilton as executive director of government relations.
  • A tailgate event in Stillwater, Oklahoma, at the Oklahoma State University vs Iowa State University football game took on a special meaning as representatives from Zoetis presented the company’s third donation to Folds of Honor. Based in Owasso, Oklahoma, Folds of Honor provides academic scholarships to the spouses and children of men and women who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the U.S. armed forces or as first responders.
  • Congratulations to the 10th Annual National Anthem Singer winner Franki Moscato of OshKosh, Wisconsin. Moscato will sing at the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show February 1-3, 2023 in New Orleans.
  • The Beef Checkoff-funded Trailblazers program is seeking applications for its next class of beef advocates. Trailblazers, developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, takes advocacy to the next level by giving participants the tools and training they need to promote beef to new audiences while addressing and correcting myths.
  • He’s the Academy Award-nominated writer behind the hit series Yellowstone and 1883, a Texas native, and owner and operator of the legendary 6666 Ranch in Texas. This February, Taylor Sheridan will be hitting the mainstage Wednesday, February 1st as the keynote speaker for the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Opening General Session sponsored Boehringer Ingelheim.
  • SM Animal Nutrition and Health — a global science-based company focused on nutrition, health and sustainable living — announces the availability of FUMzyme, fumonisin esterase, for use in poultry and swine feed in the United States.
  • Over 50 industry professionals gathered in St. Petersburg, Fla., to participate in the American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) annual Equipment Manufacturers Conference. Hosted by AFIA’s Equipment Manufacturers Committee, this year’s conference focused on building an industry perspective on sustainability.
  • The National Milk Producers Federation called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use existing legal authority to modernize its regulations allowing for faster approval of animal-feed additives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, submitting comments to the agency that highlighted the need for urgent action to enhance dairy’s role as a climate solution.
  • Several large retailers and wholesalers (including Sysco, US Foods, Kroger, Hy-Vee, Albertson, Associated Grocers, Subway, SuperValu, and Cheney Brothers) recently filed claims similar to those brought originally in April 2019 by R-CALF USA and National Farmers Union (NFU) against the Big 4 packers. Those claims are that the packers’ efforts to jointly manage their slaughter volume and their cattle purchasing practices caused beef prices to rise while also pushing cattle prices lower. In response, the U.S. District Court held a hearing and decided to coordinate these new claims with R-CALF USA and NFU’s suit ahead of trial. This does not substantially affect the current case. While the Court may amend the existing schedule to fold these new claims in, fact discovery is already expected to continue across 2023 given that the parties have only just begun document production.
AgWired Animal, Animal Agriculture, Animal Bites

MyLand Company Completes Funding to Scale-up

Cindy Zimmerman

Soil health company MyLand has announced the successful first closing of its Series B financing round led by The Borden Family Trust and Waterpoint Lane. The new $12M investment will enable the expansion of the MyLand footprint and the strengthening of its innovation activities.
The new funding will significantly expand MyLand’s approach to regenerative agriculture in California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest.

This closing is an important milestone for MyLand and puts the company in a strong financial position to fuel the growth and commercialization of for their Soil-as-a-ServiceTM while increasing the installed base of systems with large growers in efforts to improve soil health through their unique regenerative process. The MyLand Service delivers live, native microalgae directly into the soil on a continuous basis that improves the physical, chemical, and biological traits of the soil, generating significantly healthier soil which in turn leads to healthier food, healthier people, and a healthier planet.

AgWired Precision, land, Precision Agriculture, Soil

AgGateway Honors Members at Annual Conference

Cindy Zimmerman

AgGateway wrapped up its annual conference last week with the presentation of awards to member volunteers who have demonstrated outstanding dedication and service to the organization and its mission to enable seamless digital connectivity in agriculture.

The AgGateway in Action Award is given to volunteers for exceptional work over the past year in their respective regions. The 2022 recipients are Jim Glynn, Senior Business Operations Manager for Winfield United in the North America region, and Bruno Lucio, Director of Sales, Latin America for Topcon Agriculture in the Latin America region. Lucio received the award from AgGateway Regional Director Jose Loyola and AgGateway President and CEO Brent Kemp presented the award to Glynn.

“The professionals we honored at the Conference have consistently gone above and beyond our expectations, providing time, talent, leadership, and dedication that have measurably moved our efforts forward,” said Kemp.

The Ron Storms Leadership Award, named for a pioneer in agriculture connectivity in the early days of AgGateway and its predecessor organizations, honors long-term effort, leadership, and achievement on behalf of the organization. The 2022 award recipient is Joe Gifford, Customer Service e-Connectivity Manager at Syngenta. He was presented the award by Ann Vande Lune of ag retailer Key Cooperative who was the recipient of the same award in 2019.

“We value the work of every volunteer,” said Kemp at the ceremony’s close. “Each and every one of you make it possible to move the agriculture industry forward on digital connectivity.”

Last but not least, the President’s Award is presented to one individual who has made consistent and far-reaching positive impacts on organizational achievement over the course of several years. The 2022 recipient is Jeff Griffeth, Senior Director of Technology at Co-Alliance Cooperative.

“We truly appreciate the extraordinary efforts of this year’s award recipients, whose dedication to the mission is truly an inspiration to us all,” said Kemp. “We thank them again for their exemplary service.”

2022 AgGateway Annual Meeting Photo Album

Find more interviews posted in the AgGateway Annual Conference virtual newsroom.

ag retailers, AgGateway, Agribusiness, AgWired Precision, data

Industry Ag News 11/18

Carrie Muehling

  • The National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (National ACT) elected five students from Arkansas, Texas and Wisconsin to serve as 2022-23 officers until July 2023. The new team will lead over 400 student and associate members in opportunities to learn and grow in agricultural communications.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the appointment of four members to serve on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program’s Board of Directors. All four appointees will serve three-year terms starting December 2022 and ending December 2025.
  • Kaycee Rippey joined the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) staff on Nov. 3, 2022 as the Communications Coordinator. Rippey holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences with a minor in Communications from Auburn University.
  • Attendees at the 2023 Commodity Classic in Orlando can make their experience even more memorable by signing up for one or more of the fascinating, family-friendly tours available during the event. These optional tours provide the opportunity to discover more about the history, attractions, and culture of the Orlando area.
  • Conservation Technology Information Center (CITC) welcomes Ryan Heiniger as its new Executive Director. Heiniger is a fourth-generation Iowa farmer, wildlife biologist, and non-profit leader.
  • The National Grange hosted its 156th annual conference and legislative session at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada from November 15 through 19. With more than 400 elected Delegates and guests attending, the annual convention serves to establish national legislative policies for the organization, while conducting the other various business of the Grange.
  • The National Corn Growers Association Board of Directors has hired Hedlin Ag Enterprises of Ankeny, Iowa to assist with the search for a new CEO. The initial part of the search involves identifying and vetting potential candidates for the position which will occur through the end of this year and into the beginning of 2023. Candidate interviews for the CEO position will be held in February with the intention of introducing the new CEO during Commodity Classic in March.
  • Farm Journal announces Eric Peterson has been named Chief Executive Officer of Machinery Pete, agriculture’s premier used equipment destination.
  • The National Corn Growers Association announced Krista Swanson joined the organization as Lead Economist. Swanson will serve as the economic analyst resource for NCGA and its state affiliates.
  • American Agri-Women (AAW) awarded its prestigious Veritas Award to Forrest Lucas at its 2022 national convention held recently in Bozeman, Mont. The Veritas Award is bestowed upon individuals who have been public witness to the “pursuit of truth.” Mr. Lucas’ lifelong association with agriculture and his passion for our American traditions led him to found Protect the Harvest in 2011.
  • Jim Prevor has suddenly passed away from heart failure after being stricken by a heart attack and stroke. Founder of PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine in 1985, just a couple years after his education at Cornell University, Jim saw the need for a publication to inform and educate the buying segments of the fruit and vegetable industry.
Zimfo Bytes

AgGateway Wraps Up Successful Annual Conference

Cindy Zimmerman

AgGateway wrapped up a successful annual conference this week in Clearwater Beach, Florida. President and CEO Brent Kemp says a lot of work was accomplished toward the AgGateway strategic plan to “Create, Engage and Grow 2.0.”

“All of activities, all of our work, all of our outreach is based around those three words,” said Kemp in an interview at the end of the conference. “The 2.0 is not so much as we need to change as it is, it’s time to accelerate.”

There were 61 first time attendees at the conference this year and Kemp says they are excited about that growth. “Hopefully we’ve whetted their appetite for the ways they can contribute to standards, interoperability and business efficiency in the industry.”

Next year the conference will be held in Nashville.

Listen to an interview with Kemp and his remarks to the membership to learn more about what AgGateway is doing.

AgGateway CEO Brent Kemp - remarks 14:59

AgGateway interview Brent Kemp, AgGateway 6:40

2022 AgGateway Annual Meeting Photo Album

Find more interviews posted in the AgGateway Annual Conference virtual newsroom.

Ag Groups, ag retailers, AgGateway, Agribusiness, AgWired Precision, Audio, data, Technology

Soil Regen Co-Owner Breaks National Dryland Corn Yield Record

Cindy Zimmerman

Soil Regen is proud to share that co-founder and first-generation farmer, Russell Hedrick has submitted an entry of 459.51 bushels per acre to the North Carolina Corn Growers Association, a result that beats the current national yield record of 442 bushels per acre held by Francis Childs.

“The average corn yield for Catawba County is somewhere between 100 and 124 bushels an acre according to USDA NASS data,” Hedrick says, adding that his yield climb didn’t happen overnight.

“This all started five years ago when Richard Linton, the previous Dean of NC State University, challenged us to push our yields to see what was possible in our state, chasing 400-bushel corn,” he says. “It’s taken us all five years – we’ve seen some 400s on the yield monitor trying new techniques but seeing a field average over 400 has taken us five.”

To learn more about Hedrick’s road to 459-bushel per acre corn and the soil health journey that has paved, make plans to visit this year’s Big Soil Health Event, December 6-7, 2022 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Corn, Soil

Precision Ag News 11/16

Carrie Muehling

  • In a letter to congressional leadership, more than 300 agriculture, environment, academic, infrastructure, and other stakeholder groups are calling on Congress to reaffirm federal pesticide preemption on labeling and packaging. Failing to do so, the groups warn, could hold disastrous consequences for our food security, the environment, public health, vital infrastructure, and other uses where pesticides provide important societal benefits.
  • Sentera, the industry leading ag analytics platform powered by machine learning, announced the launch of its 65R Sensor, an ultra-high-resolution aerial sensor purpose-built for drone integrations.
  • Bayer announced the acquisition of German biotech start-up Targenomix. The spin-off of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI MPP) uses novel systems biology and computational life science tools to identify new modes of action for crop protection compounds.
  • Experienced ag agronomist and seed rep Aaron Diederich has joined Meristem Crop Performance Group, LLC, one of the fastest-growing crop input suppliers in America. Diederich becomes Meristem’s Sales Rep and dealer coach in Kansas and other Plains states, operating out of Hanover, Kansas.
  • Traction Ag Inc., the first cloud-based accounting software delivering solutions to growers across the Midwest, announced its acquisition of Granular Business, a Corteva Agriscience product. Granular Business is farm financial management software focused on helping farmers become more profitable and efficient.
  • Combine harvester sales report double-digit gains in October for both the U.S. and Canadian markets, while total tractors fell in both countries according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Total U.S. ag equipment unit sales stayed above the 5-year average for the third month since April 2022. U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 10.8 percent for the month of October compared to 2021, being dragged down by a 23.6 percent drop in the sub-40hp category.
  • Syngenta Crop Protection was recognized as a winner in 5 award categories at the annual Crop Science Awards, a strong endorsement of its best-in-class scientific, technological and leadership contributions within the global crop protection industry.
  • The DJI Agras T40 spray drone hit the United States market in October 2022. This new flagship model is an upgrade from the DJI Agras T30–still considered an industry leader. Thanks to a donation from Agri Spray Drones, Alabama Extension at Auburn University is the first land-grant institution in the U.S. to begin agriculture research using the new T40 model.
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes, Precision Agriculture

Farm Bureau Reports Thanksgiving Dinner Up 20%

Cindy Zimmerman

It should be no surprise to anyone who buys food that the cost of this year’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner is higher, but 20 percent may be an even bigger jump than some expected.

The American Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey for the cost of a classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 this year totals $64.05 or 20% more than last year’s average of $53.31. But it is still a relative bargain compared to other countries at less than $6.50 per person.

The turkey alone is up 21 percent from last year, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird, but there are always bargains to be had this time of year. According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 the week of Nov. 3-9 and 95 cents the week of Nov. 10-16, a decline of 14% in just one week; and the share of stores offering feature prices rose from 29% to 60%.

“General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan. General inflation has been running 7% to 9% in recent months, while the most recent Consumer Price Index report for food consumed at home reveals a 12% increase over the past year.

“Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine,” Cryan said. “The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights.” Cryan said the supply of whole turkeys available to consumers should be adequate this year, although there may be temporary, regional shortages in some states where avian influenza was detected earlier this year.

AFBF, Food