Farm Bill Defeated in the House

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House Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) delivered on his promise to get a farm bill written in a timely manner, but his colleagues in the House voted 198-213 Friday to reject his effort.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Conaway expressed his frustration as a last minute amendment was introduced to recommit the bill with instructions to the Committee on Agriculture. “You can love the farm bill or you can hate the farm bill but it delivers the most effective, affordable and safest food and fiber supply of any developed nation in the world,” said Conaway.

Democrats voted against the bill mainly for changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aimed at getting able-bodied adults under 60 without dependents or disabilities back to work, but it was 30 conservative Republicans wanting a vote on immigration that killed the bill.

Listen to Rep. Conaway’s remarks here: House Ag Chair Rep. Conaway

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, Farm Bill, Government

ZimmCast 584 – More NAMA, Farm Bill & Precision Ag

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There is a mix of topics in this week’s ZimmCast. In this week’s program you will hear:

We have new members of the #GoldenMic Club, some discussion on sustainability as it relates to the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill and comments from ag equipment companies about the advancement of precision ag.

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 584 – Farm Bill, NAMA Members & Precision Ag

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.

The ZimmCast

sponsored by
The ZimmCast podcast is sponsored by GROWMARK
Locally owned, globally strong.

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Precision Ag Bytes 5/16

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  • CommoditAg launches CommoditAg LIVE, an enhanced ecommerce platform providing more benefits to growers and a superior customer experience. CommoditAg LIVE is an open access, transparent, and convenient ecommerce platform now with more features and benefits for the grower.
  • National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to register early for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest and save big on entry fees. Until June 29, fees will be reduced to $75. To enter today using the online form, click here.
  • Graduate and undergraduate students pursuing agriculture disciplines are invited to participate in the second annual Better Seed, Better Life student video contest sponsored by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB), and the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America (Tri-Societies). The 2018 contest theme is: “Rumor Has It.” Videos should help set the record straight on a common misconception or myth associated with the seed industry. Video submissions are due August 31, 2018.
  • A new blog post from GMO Answers aims to help consumers understand what’s going on with food labels. Read Beyond the Label: 3 Truths & No Lies About GMOs here.
  • The Soil Health Institute, in collaboration with the Soil Health Partnership and The Nature Conservancy, received a $9.4 million grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to match a similar amount provided by other donors to advance soil health science and implement soil health management practices. Read the full release and see the complete list of indicators and methods here.
  • Farmobile has announced the appointment of two distinguished agricultural leaders, Kip Pendleton and Joan K. Archer, to Farmobile’s team. Pendleton, president of the Pendleton Group in St. Paul, MN, will serve as an Outside Director on Farmobile’s Board of Directors. Archer, former partner at Husch and Blackwell, Kansas City, MO, now serves as the company’s General Counsel.
  • Farmobile has announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska has granted summary judgment for Farmobile in a lawsuit filed against it by Farmers Edge (FEI). The court dismissed all claims filed against Farmobile ranging from misappropriation of trade secrets to a request that a judgment be entered declaring FEI to be the owner of Farmobile’s Canadian patent and U.S. patent application.
  • Farmers Edge released their position on the ruling made by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska in the ongoing case with Farmobile. Farmers Edge believes there are grounds for appeal and will proceed with further action once the counterclaims have been dispensed with.
  • FMC announces veteran Agricultural Solutions business and strategic accounts lead Bob West will head the company’s new Customer Engagement Center (CEC). The Center has been established to develop, foster and support customer interactions and growth of the FMC agricultural business.
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes

Equipment Manufacturers See Strong April Sales

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The latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) shows strong U.S. sales of self-propelled combines and 4-wheel-drive tractors in April 2018.

“We saw that 2017 was better than 2016, and in 2018, growth is sluggish but still positive,” said Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president, AG services. “The downward trend in net farm income obviously is a concern since it is such a big factor in equipment sales. A bright spot, if you will, is the impact of continued replacement of aging machines; one downside is the continued threat of U.S. protectionism on farmers’ business as well as for equipment manufacturers. So, there’s still a lot of uncertainty with the year one-third over.”

U.S. sales of self-propelled combines jumped 59 percent over the previous month and 21 percent year-to-year. Tractor sales showed more modest gains.

Read the full AEM report online.

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GROWMARK Talks Farm Bill Priorities

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The House version of the farm bill is expected to come to the floor this week, and GROWMARK is among those weighing in with policymakers about priorities for the legislation. The cooperative is particularly looking for support of the Conservation Title, among others.

“Important to conservation is to make sure that we have program funding to put conservation practices on the land. As an ag retailer, we’re very interested in working hand in glove with farmer as a partner in the watershed,” said Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK’s executive director for government relations, during an interview last week.

Spencer explained that GROWMARK would like to work in partnership with the USDA NRCS as a technical service provider to help farmers develop nutrient management plans, noting language for that already exists in the current House version. Spencer also named the Commodity Title as a priority, along with crop insurance and infrastructure policies.

In this interview, Spencer also discusses how sustainability in agriculture has become an important issue when talking with lawmakers on both the state and federal levels: Interview with Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Conservation, Farm Bill, Growmark, sustainability

CUTC Extends Poster Submission Deadline

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The Corn Utilization & Technology Conference (CUTC) just announced that the deadline for posters to be submitted has been extended to Friday, May 18, 2018. There are a number of categories that you can submit a poster to including:

The professional category for both general and mycotoxin posters
General session student posters
Mycotoxin student posters

The Poster session is a great way to showcase your research to your peers and industry stakeholders.

For students who are interested, there is a contest with cash awards in both the general and mycotoxin poster sessions. Judging criteria and submission guidelines can be found here: Criteria.

The CUTC runs June 4-6, 2018, at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel, St. Louis, MO. Poster presenters must be registered as conference attendees.

I will be there once again and just in case you don’t know, the conference hashtag is #corntech18. You can register here.

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Corn, CUTC, NCGA, technology

Raven and Farmers Edge Join Forces

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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.

Learn more here

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Precision Ag Bytes 5/9

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  • 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 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.
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes

GROWMARK and FS Announce Enduring Farm Award Winners

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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:

Interview with Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK, on Enduring Farms awards

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BVLOS Will Open the Skies

chuck zimmerman

In case you didn’t know, BVLOS stands for Beyond Visual Line Of Sight. It’s something you can’t do commercially flying a drone right now. However, PrecisionHawk, working with the Federal Aviation Administration, has conducted research on conducting BVLOS and summarized it in a new report. Image from the PrecisionHawk website.

PrecisionHawk Inc., a leading provider of drone technology for the enterprise, today announced the release of its final Pathfinder Report – a blueprint for enterprises to conduct Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations. The fieldwork was performed in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and MITRE under the Pathfinder Program. The report outlines a comprehensive safety case and standards to fly drones BVLOS and has yielded critical information to the FAA regarding drone operations.

“The final report determined that there are three necessary components for BVLOS flight operations: detection, safety, and drone operator training,” stated Dr. Allison Ferguson, director airspace research at PrecisionHawk. “Technology must be integrated to identify cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft, pilots must be aware of existing airspace classes, temporary flight restrictions, and no-fly zones, and pilots must receive BVLOS-specific training to ensure a safety ecosystem around BVLOS drone flight.”

I do not use my drone commercially and right now I’m mostly confident when I can see it but the more I get used to flying, I can see the value in being able to do so with commercial products for agricultural operations that would not be possible without BVLOS. PrecisionHawk is offering consulting, training and has also announced a multi-rotor BVLOS drone platform. You can find out more about these services here.

AgNerd, AgWired Precision, Drones, Precision Agriculture, technology, UAV