ASTA CSS and Seed Expo Success

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Last week was the 73rd year for American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) CSS 2018 & Seed Expo and like this year it was full of changes for the industry.

Besides having several new company names, ASTA changed the layout of the trade show so that all the booths were located on the same expo floor. “We’re always trying to improve the experience of the members who attend the expo,” said ASTA Chair Jerry Flint of Corteva Agriscience, one of those new company names in the industry.

There were 21 new exhibitors at the expo this year and more than 2300 attendees. Flint says they also added a new seed treatment educational tour at the expo. “Over 80 people went around and visited a number of the different vendors and the feedback that we received was extremely good,” said Flint.

An expanded general session this year allowed for a panel on “Majors after the Mergers” with the four major companies discussing this year’s changes. “We thought that it was a very candid conversation they had,” said ASTA CEO Andy LaVigne. “We had a number of questions and they were able to have dialogue back and forth – we thought the session went very well.”

In these interviews, Flint and LaVigne talk about ASTA’s long range strategic planning for the industry, a look back at 2018 and a look ahead at 2019.

ASTACSS18 Interview with ASTA Chair Jerry Flint, Corteva Agriscience

ASTACSS18 interview with Andy LaVigne, ASTA CEO

2018 ASTA CSS and Seed Expo Photo Album

ASTA CSS Virtual Newsroom

Agribusiness, AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, seed

CropTrak Continues Expansion

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CropTrak, a leading global SaaS platform utilized by Agribusiness and Food Companies for compliance data capture and reporting, announced the hire of Stewart Dainty as Director, Key Accounts.

Stewart is based out of Des Moines, Iowa. Born and raised in the great state of Iowa, he brings 25 years of agricultural industry experience in data and engineering analytics technology to CropTrak. He is passionate about helping client companies achieve outstanding business results with our technology. He shares our perspective that we deliver great technology (from great people) to provide high value to key members of the Agriculture Industry.

Stewart began his career with a degree in Finance (Analytics) from Iowa State University, supported by extensive coursework in Architecture, Engineering, and History. All have proved useful. Following 2.5 years in Investment Banking and brokerage, Stewart accepted a leadership position with a sophisticated technology firm and never looked back. For nearly his entire career he has been working on improvements to agricultural processes, designs, and information (through data collection, analysis, and visualization).

He has enjoyed both sales and leadership roles (with companies such as John Deere and Proagrica) and is always focused on the client’s intrinsic needs to add value to their business. He feels fortunate to have developed a strong background in multi-dimensional data sciences, which helps to understand how CropTrak’s solutions can best be delivered to each unique client.

Stewart is most proud of his daughters and wife Jane and the rest of his large family. He likes to work on building rehab projects, the outdoors, and sports.

To learn more about the new CropTrak enterprise accounts team and how they can help you maximize efficiencies and provide further insights within your Agriculture-related business, send a note to

About CropTrak
CropTrak is dedicated to safe and traceable food by deploying a flexible enterprise software platform that tracks and manages the production of food using advanced mobile and web-based technologies. Its highly customizable software solution improves customer accuracy, efficiency, and timeliness in data collection, management and reporting on a global scale. CropTrak is deployed in 15 languages in over 50 countries to enterprise food and agriculture clients. CropTrak’s global headquarters are located at 6303 E. Tanque Verde Road, Tucson, AZ 85715. For more information, visit or email

AgWired Precision, CropTrak, Precision Agriculture

#ASTACSS Student Video Award Winner

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Kevin Faulk (left) receives award from Kerry Grossweiler, BASF

Iowa State University PhD candidate Kevin Falk received the grand prize this year in the American Seed Trade Association’s (ASTA) second annual “Better Seed, Better Life” student video contest during the CSS 2018 & Seed Expo in Chicago this week. The award was presented to him by Kerry Grossweiler of BASF, which sponsors the ASTA Communications Committee.

The contest is held in conjunction with the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) and the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of American and Soil Science Society of America (Tri-Societies). The 2018 contest theme was “Rumor Has It” and was open to university students who were asked to create videos to help set the record straight on a common misconception or myth associated with the seed industry and/or plant science. Second and third place winners were Kshitij Khatri, University of Florida, and Nathalia Penna Cruzato, Texas A&M University.

Kevin is currently a PhD candidate at Iowa State University focusing on soybean breeding. He holds a master’s in plant breeding from the University of Manitoba and worked in canola breeding programs at Monsanto and Bayer for five years prior to returning to pursue his PhD at Iowa State. He is one of five PhD students in the Singh soybean breeding and plant phenomics group. His PhD work focuses around harnessing technology to develop high throughput phenotyping platforms to advance plant breeding. He enjoys playing hockey, kitesurfing, videography, and exploring new technology. Kevin is set to graduate in the coming months and is interested in science, agriculture and using social media to connect and communicate with the public.

Learn more about Kevin in this interview and watch his award-winning video below – ASTACSS18 Interview with student video award winner Kevin Falk, ISU

2018 ASTA CSS and Seed Expo Photo Album

ASTA CSS Virtual Newsroom

AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, Plant Breeding, seed, Video

USDA Under Secretary Ibach at #ASTACSS

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USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach spoke to attendees at the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) CSS 2018 and Seed Expo during a Plant Breeding Innovation session, toured the trade show, and met with media on Thursday in Chicago.

Ibach discussed the importance of innovation in plant breeding, as well as coming regulations for GMO labeling, and the current global trade situation. He said the GMO labeling rules should be released in the very near future. “We’re hoping we have that done before the end of the year because that’s an important timeline,” he said.

Listen to and download audio here:
ASTACSS18 USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach remarks at Plant Breeding session

ASTACSS18 USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach press conference

2018 ASTA CSS and Seed Expo Photo Album

Find more content from #ASTACSS here:
ASTA CSS Virtual Newsroom

AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, USDA

Seed Treatment Tour at #ASTACSS

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A new feature this year at the ASTA CSS & Seed Expo was a Seed Treatment Education Tour in the expo. Groups of attendees visited ten different booths in rotation where they heard a ten minute presentation from each company.

I caught one of the groups in the Bayer booth. Doing the presentation is Greg Ginisty, SeedGrowth Product Manager. You can listen in to his presentation in the video below.

2018 ASTA CSS and Seed Expo

AgWired Precision, ASTA, Bayer, seed, Video

BASF Launches Vault® IP Plus and Obvius® Plus

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BASF has expanded its soybean seed treatment portfolio with the launch of Vault® IP Plus seed treatment and Obvius® Plus fungicide seed treatment, recently registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Both products will be commercially available in September 2019. I spoke with BASF’s Justin Clark to learn more about these products.

With the launch of Vault IP Plus seed treatment, BASF sets new standards for seed inoculation and protection. It’s the only combined inoculant and EPA-registered bio-fungicide, containing two active biologicals for improved fungicidal activity and protection.

“Soybean growers can benefit from Vault IP Plus seed treatment, as it delivers increased root nodulation and disease protection for an overall healthier soybean plant,” said Justin Clark, Technical Marketing Manager, BASF. “The highly effective rhizobia are produced fresh every year to increase overall nodulation and maximize nitrogen fixation potential.”

Obvius Plus seed treatment supports faster emergence and healthier plants. The new seed treatment delivers four-way disease protection that helps growers get their soybean crop successfully established earlier in the season.

“While early planting allows soybeans to intercept more sunlight for better photosynthesis, this practice also exposes newly planted seeds to potential damage from fungal infections while the soil is still damp and cool,” said Clark. “Obvius Plus seed treatment offers protection from key diseases such as Phytophthora, Pythium, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia.”

Growers can learn more about Vault IP Plus and Obvius Plus seed treatments by contacting their BASF representative or visiting

Learn more about these products by listening in to my interview with Justin:
Interview with Justin Clark, BASF

2018 ASTA CSS and Seed Expo

AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, BASF, seed

Precision Ag Bytes 12/5

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  • Raven Industries, Inc. announced the release of AutoBoom® XRT, the latest advancement in boom control.
  • Solinftec, a digital agriculture company that grew quickly in Latin America by making sugar cane and row crop operations more efficient, announced plans to establish operations at its U.S. headquarters near Purdue University to bring high-tech solutions to American farmers, creating 90 jobs in 2019 and up to 334 high-wage jobs by 2022.
  • Many farmers are considering the use of corn with the Enlist™ trait to control yield-robbing volunteer corn by applying a FOP herbicide in 2019.
  • AgXplore is pleased to introduce Microcoat™, a blend of five essential micro and secondary nutrients, including magnesium, sulfur, manganese, molybdenum and zinc, with a proprietary delivery package.
  • The Soil Health Partnership has tapped Dr. Maria Bowman, a notable and experienced agricultural and resource economist, for the new position of Lead Scientist.
  • AirBoard Inc. introduces AirBoard AGRO – an aerial platform for pesticide spraying in steep and mountainous vineyards. Built for pesticide and fertilizer spraying with a capacity of 60 liters, it is 50 times faster than manual spraying and twice as cost effective than using a helicopter service.
  • CNH Industrial N.V. has launched the AGXTENDTM brand, focused exclusively on aftermarket precision farming technology solutions.
  • BASF partners with the National Agricultural Aviation Association and presents “Ag Wings of Tomorrow” scholarships to support future aerial applicators. This year, Parker Gore of Cleveland, Mississippi, and Emory Lobley of Dalhart, Texas, receive scholarships of $5,000 each.
  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of Matthew J. “Matt” Lohr to serve as Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes

Major Seed Companies after the Mergers

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The past two years have seen major changes in the agricultural seed industry and some of the traditional companies have different names and different players. That’s why the “Majors after the Mergers” panel was a big hit at the ASTA 2018 CSS and Seed Expo this week.

Dan Basse, Ag Resource, moderated the panel which consisted of Jim Collins, Corteva; Scott Kay, BASF; Jeff Rowe, Syngenta; and Lisa Safarian, Bayer.

It was a long and very interesting panel, so we split up the audio into opening remarks and panel discussion.

Opening remarks ASTA Majors after the Mergers panel

Opening remarks ASTA Majors after the Mergers panel

2018 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo

AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, BASF, Bayer, Corteva Agriscience, seed, Syngenta

AGCO Presents 13th Operator of the Year at ARA2018

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AGCO Corporation presented its 13th Annual Operator of the Year award to Jerry Born of Fairmount, North Dakota at the 2018 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference & Expo last week in Boca Raton, Fla. The award recognizes the value of the hard work professional applicators do caring for crops and customers across the country, as well as their involvement in their communities.

Along with the title, Born was presented with the grand prize, a new Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. “I’m still shocked. When they told me I was a finalist I thought no way this is real and then to be selected as the winner, I couldn’t believe it,” said Born. “Being an applicator allows me to be out in the country every day and see different terrain. It’s always something new.”

Professional applicators spend long hours in the field every season, using technologically advanced application machinery like a RoGator® or a TerraGator®, to accurately and efficiently apply fertilizer and crop protection products on millions of farm acres, helping farmers achieve their best possible yield.

Listen to the presentation here: ARA18 AGCO Operator of the Year

2018 ARA Conference & Expo Photo Album

AGCO, AgWired Precision, ARA, Audio, Award, Equipment

ARA Installs New Chairman

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Troy Johnson of Wilbur-Ellis was installed as new chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association during the closing session of the 2018 ARA Conference and Expo in Boca Raton, Florida this week.

Johnson succeeds John Oster of Morral Companies in the position. Pictured here left to right are Oster, Johnson, and ARA CEO Daren Coppock.

Johnson shared with attendees his commitment to the association for the coming year, outlining goals that include continuing to strengthen and broaden the membership and keeping the association’s mission front and center in all activities. “I could not be more proud of what ARA accomplishes each year on behalf of its membership,” said Johnson. “Protecting ag retailers’ freedom to operate is what ARA is all about. I am committed to ensuring that everything we do is representative of the entire agricultural retail industry.”

Listen to or download an interview with Johnson here: Interview with new ARA chairman Troy Johnson, Wilbur-Ellis

2018 ARA Conference & Expo Photo Album

Agribusiness, AgWired Precision, ARA, Audio