- Vermeer has created the next step in their processor evolution with the new BPX9010 bale processor. This all-around bale processor is designed for a variety of applications including distributing a consistent, uniform windrow in the pasture or bunk line and spreading bedding with consistency at ranges up to 50 ft.
- The Pivot Bio team brought on three new senior leaders, including Natalie Hubbard, vice president of regulatory and government affairs; Mark Reisinger, marketing director; and Tracy Willits, vice president of communications. These new members are dedicated to providing farmers with solutions to grow high-quality, sustainable food crops with the launch the world’s first nitrogen-producing microbe for corn in 2019.
- Inocucor Corporation has announced it will change its name to Concentric Ag Corporation. Concentric by definition means “having a common center,” and the new name represents the company’s dedication to standing alongside growers to find crop solutions that will usher in a safe, smart Second Green Revolution.
- The Soil Health Institute seeks submissions for Poster Presentations at its 3rd Annual Meeting to be held August 1-3, 2018 in Albuquerque, NM. Poster presentations must be relevant to soil health. Information must be sufficiently transparent, detailed, and rigorous to support a scientific discussion. Online applications are due by 5:30 p.m., Friday, June 1, 2018.
- BRANDT has added six new formulations to its proprietary BRANDT Smart System line of foliar nutrients. The formulations provide fast, effective nutrient delivery and were designed for advanced tank mix compatibility and use with dicamba and 2,4-D herbicides.
- AgLaunch and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture announce the first eight farmer-led projects connecting farmers with pre-commercial technology for field testing. These projects are part of the AgLaunch strategy to attract, start, and grow new agricultural startup companies to and in Tennessee by connecting them with local farmers, while simultaneously helping farmers access new technology and market opportunities.
GROWMARK and FS member companies work hard to recruit and retain top talent, and there are a few reasons they’ve had success.
“The two things that we’ve done to really try to recruit top talent are to make sure that there is great, positive brand awareness around our employment brand, and the increased use of technology to make sure our message has gotten to the right people,” said Tom Swearingen, director of talent management.
Swearingen said the top resource within the GROWMARK system is people. He credits using more social media to recruit talent, as well as a strong internship program with approximately 50 interns available each year. Swearingen said typically 50 percent of students who complete an internship with the company will eventually be hired as a full-time employee somewhere within the GROWMARK or FS system.
Swearingen said retaining talent is just as important.
“We really work hard to preserve the integrity of our culture here,” he said, citing an open, active and fully funded benefits program as well as the family feel of the company as to reasons why people stay.
It’s not uncommon for GROWMARK employees to celebrate 25 years or more with the company upon retirement.
Listen to more with Tom Swearingen here:Interview with Tom Swearingen, GROWMARK
After the opening entertainment, USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey was first to take the stage Monday morning at ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. He was just discussing the issue of agricultural trade with China when President Trump tweeted “China has agreed to buy massive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products – would be one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!”
“The opportunities to be able to grow in that market are important,” said Northey in an interview after his address. “It was also important for us to challenge where they were not following through on some of the promises that they made and the rules that they had agreed to.”
After meetings between U.S. and Chinese officials last week, the White House released a statement saying that, “China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services….Both sides agreed on meaningful increases in United States agriculture and energy exports. The United States will send a team to China to work out the details.”
In addition to trade, Northey hit on a number of other topics during his address to the annual Alltech conference, including agricultural innovation, conservation, the farm bill, and renewable fuels.
Northey comments on all of that and more in this interview. Interview with USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey, ONE18
ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference 2018 kicked off Sunday night with the traditional international dinner, but the real work starts this morning and Alltech Vice President Aidan Connolly says they will be focusing on ideas that are disrupting the industry.
“Some things you might not think about so much include 3-D printing, we are starting to see that more and more for machinery parts,” said Connolly. “We’ve been talking a lot about what could be possible with respect to virtual reality, to engage consumers.”
The conference will also feature five of the Pearse Lyons Accelerator program participants who will showcase some of their ideas that could transform agriculture.
Learn more in this pre-event interview with Aidan. Interview Alltech vice president Aidan Connolly on ONE18
Chuck and Jamie are on-scene at the conference and will be providing updates on @AgWired Twitter, taking lots of photos and sending back lots of interviews. One of the first this morning will be USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Bill Northey. Stay tuned for more!
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
The transformative power of ideas is the focus of ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference 2018, May 20–22, in Lexington, Kentucky
An idea, even in its root meaning, is “to see.” Da Vinci, Einstein, Edison, the Wright brothers, Tesla, Bell, Borlaug and Fleming — they had the ability to see what others could not. Because they opened their eyes to possibilities and thrived in pursuit of them, we have light. We have abundant food. We can even fly. Ideas change everything.
The annual Alltech symposium, which draws thousands of international visitors to Lexington each May, is the brain child of Irish entrepreneur and scientist Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech, who passed away earlier this year. “This meeting is synonymous with Pearse Lyons,” says his son Dr. Mark Lyons, who is now president and chairman of Alltech. “All the way through, this program will be remembering him.”
The program includes former vice chair of General Electric Beth Comstock, USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey and groundbreaking neurologist Dr. Majid Fotuhi. Four thousand attendees from more than 70 countries are expected to attend this year’s 34th annual conference.
Learn more about ONE and this year’s program in this preview interview: Dr. Mark Lyons previews Alltech ONE 18
- Interview with Marina Menendez, Distillery Madison
- Interview with Diane Riley/Brenda, Kondex
- Interview with Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK
- USDA story on Precision Ag Advancement
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.
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Listen to the ZimmCast here: ZimmCast 584 – Farm Bill, NAMA Members & Precision Ag
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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.
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.
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