USDA RMA Administrator Updates #CIRB2019

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USDA Risk Management Agency administrator and Illinois farmer Martin Barbre attended the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (CIRB) annual meeting this week to provide an update on his agency’s priorities.

Barbre discussed a number of issues, including the Multi County Enterprise Unit, upcoming deadlines, a Farm Bill implementation listening session coming up February 26, disaster relief, and the Dairy Revenue Protection program.

We broke it down into what he could address on the record in this interview. CIRB2019 Interview with Martin Barbre, USDA RMA

2019 Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Annual Meeting photo album

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FMC Talks About the Danger of Reduced Herbicide Rates

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At the 2019 National Farm Machinery Show I spoke with Drake Copeland, Technical Services Manager, FMC. Our topic was the danger of reduced herbicide rates.

Drake talks about the importance of pre-emergence residual herbicides for weed control and what happens when a grower uses reduced herbicide rates. He also talks weed size and it certainly does matter. There’s a lot more in our discussion about this topic that growers will want to hear.

Listen to my interview with Drake Copeland, Technical Services Manager, FMC: Interview with Drake Copeland, FMC

2019 National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

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Case IH Unveils AFS Connect Magnum Series Tractors

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During the 2019 National Farm Machinery Show Case IH unveiled the new AFS Connect Magnum Series Tractors. Working with me here at NFMS is Laura Handke who took photos, recorded the unveiling presentation and interviewed Bill Webber, North America Marketing Manager for High Hp Tractors, Case IH Brand.

Case IH is unveiling new AFS Connect™ Magnum™ series tractors, giving producers a new way to run their businesses — with the freedom to adjust, manage, monitor, transfer data and partner the way they want. Powered by Case IH Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) precision technology, the tractor is outfitted with a new display, operating system, receiver and completely redesigned hardware environment that allows for remote display viewing, remote support capabilities and more. Plus, a redesigned cab delivers comfort, storage and easy-to-use controls for ultimate productivity.

The AFS Connect portal is a gateway to the AFS Connect Magnum series tractor. It allows farm managers to precisely manage their farm, fleet and data from a desktop or tablet/mobile device anywhere while feeling assured their data is securely transferring to and from the cloud. Users can log in to AFS Connect to view current field operations, fleet information, agronomic data and more, remotely keeping an eye on their operation as if they are in the cab. Farm owners and managers then have the freedom to share selected agronomic data — down to the field level — with third-party partners of their choosing.

You can find more information on the Case IH website and in the interview and presentation audio below.

Interview with Bill Webber, North America Marketing Manager for High Hp Tractors, Case IH Brand: Interview with Bill Webber, Case IH

Case IH AFS Connect Magnum Series Tractors Unveiling Presentation: Case IH Unveiling Presentation

2019 National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

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Optimism in Crop Insurance Reinsurance Industry

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This time last year, the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (CIRB) was concerned about what might happen with the new farm bill. This year, members are pretty pleased with how it all turned out.

CIRB chairman Zane Vaughn with ARMtech Insurance gives a lot of credit to the organization’s “Protect Crop Insurance” campaign. “It was very beneficial for staff on Capitol Hill gaining awareness of the program, what it does for farmers in their districts and their states,” said Vaughn. “That was a great outreach tool for us.”

Vaughn says this year’s annual meeting for CIRB is the largest ever and there is plenty of energy and optimism in the industry.

Listen to this interview with Vaughn from the 2019 CIRB Annual Meeting this week in San Diego.

CIRB2019 Interview with Chairman Zane Vaughn

2019 Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Annual Meeting photo album

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New Holland Launches Genesis T8 Tractor with PLM Intelligence

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New Holland used this year’s National Farm Machinery Show as the venue to unveil their new GENESIS® T8 Series tractor with Precision Land Management (PLM™) Intelligence. I talked with two New Holland representatives, Ken Paul, product marketing manager for New Holland, North America and Luke Zerby, PLM product marketing manager for New Holland, North America, about the new machine.

The new GENESIS® T8 with PLM Intelligence™ is designed to adapt to every individual farmer’s unique needs. With features ranging from advanced connectivity between operators, vehicles, advisors and dealers to improve productivity and reduce downtime, to customizable controls, improved visibility and enhanced comfort.

Customizable controls allow every operator to adjust based on their unique preferences and requirements. The all-new cab features more accessible storage, increased power ports and vents, egress lights, and an ergonomic seat for optimal comfort.

The in-cab experience has been enhanced to remove obstructions and ensure maximum visibility. The new InfoView™ monitor is positioned in direct line-of-sight on the dash so you can keep your eyes on the horizon ahead. Strategically placed cameras make it easy to navigate in and out of traffic and keep your eyes on in-field work as well. New 360-degree LED work lights turn night into day, delivering up to 25 percent more visible light for greater awareness of surroundings while operating.

But the most innovative features extend far beyond the cab with the complete integration of New Holland’s advanced PLM platform. “New Holland’s approach to precision farming solutions can be summed up in four words,” says Luke Zerby, PLM product marketing manager for New Holland, North America. “Open, Connected, Smart, Supported. PLM Intelligence maximizes all of these, utilizing ISOBUS CLASS III technology to keep you completely connected through MyPLM™Connect and APIs to share and analyze your data, and now to enhance support functionality through one’s local New Holland Dealer. This is all through a simple tablet-based user interface, allowing the farmer to do more, and do it easier than ever before.”

Interview with Luke Zerby, PLM product marketing manager for New Holland, North America: Interview with Luke Zerby, New Holland

Interview with Ken Paul, product marketing manager for New Holland, North America: Interview with Ken Paul, New Holland

2019 National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

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Precision Ag Bytes 2/13

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  • Marrone Bio Innovations Inc., a leading developer of biological crop protection and plant health solutions, is offering a pair of products – Haven® for Plant Health and Regalia® Biofungicide – to serve California almond growers as market demand for almonds continues to boom around the globe.
  • Valent U.S.A. LLC announced the launch of MycoApply® EndoPrime® SC – a liquid formulation of the company’s leading soil enhancement product, MycoApply EndoPrime. Applied in-furrow, MycoApply EndoPrime SC contains four unique species of mycorrhizal fungi that help improve soil health, nutrient efficiency, drought tolerance and maximize yield potential throughout the season.
  • January 2019 saw increases in U.S. sales of self-propelled combines and 4-wheel-drive tractors as well as total U.S. 2-wheel-drive tractor sales compared to January last year, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. 4-wheel-drive tractor sales gained 38.2 percent in January compared to last year and U.S. January self-propelled combine sales grew 14.5 percent. View the full report here.
  • Results are in for World Ag Expo’s® Top-10 New Products Competition, sponsored by Bank of America. The winners will be showcased February 12-14, 2019, during the World Ag Expo® in Tulare, California.
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National Cotton Council Announces Leaders, Intentions

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The National Cotton Council (NCC) named its leaders for 2019 and also shared planting intentions for the coming growing season at the group’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

The group announced results of its 38th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey, which show that U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 14.5 million cotton acres this spring. That number is up 2.9 percent from USDA’s December 2018 estimate.

Mike Tate of Huntsville, Ala., will serve as NCC chair and Kent Fountain of Surrency, Ga., will be vice chair for 2019.

Elected as NCC vice presidents are Kirk Gilkey, ginner, Corcoran, Calif., and Ron Harkey, warehouser, Lubbock, Texas. Re-elected as vice presidents are: Robert Lacy, Jr, cottonseed processor, and Kevin Brinkley, marketing cooperative executive, both from Lubbock, Texas; Joe Nicosia, merchant, Cordova, Tenn.; and David Hastings, textile manufacturer, Mauldin, South Carolina. Re-elected as secretary-treasurer is Barry Evans, a producer from Kress, Texas.

Elected to the NCC Board during segment caucuses were: Producers – Neal Isbell, Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Patrick Johnson, Tunica, Miss.; Shawn Holladay, Lubbock, Texas; Doyle Schniers, San Angelo, Texas; and Mark McKean, Riverdale, California. Ginners – Wesley Morgan, New London, N.C.; Curtis Stewart, Spade, Texas; George LaCour, Morganza, La.; Tom Pires, Riverdale, Calif.; and Drake Perrow, Cameron, South Carolina. Warehousers – Joe Tillman, Memphis, Tenn.; Jay Cowart, Altus, Okla.; Coalter Paxton, Wilson, N.C.; Joe Cain, Bakersfield, Calif., and Robert Swize, Corpus Christi, Texas. Merchants – Jordan Lea, Greenville, S.C.; Raymond Faus, Plano, Texas; William Barksdale and Jeff Johnson, both of Cordova, Tenn.; and Bobby Walton, Memphis, Tennessee. Cottonseed – Paul Scruggs, Overland Park, Kan.; Sammy Wright, Tifton, Ga.; Austin Rose, Altus, Okla.; and John Chisum and Jerrod Drinnon, both of Lubbock, Texas. Cooperatives – Keith Lucas, Lubbock, Texas; Hank Reichle, Greenwood, Miss.; Paul Bush, Glendale, Ariz.; Wayne Boseman, Garner, N.C.; and Reid Nichols, Altus, Oklahoma. Manufacturers – Anderson Warlick and James Martin, both of Gastonia, N.C.; William Bowen , Inman, S.C.; Robin Perkins, Sanford, N.C.; and Owen Hodges, Columbus, Georgia.

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Ag Retailers Have Busy Week on the Hill

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The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) held its annual Board of Directors and Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C. this past week, which included an intense day of visits with Congressional representatives.

ARA also presented its Legislator of the Year award to members of Congress who champion legislation important to the agricultural retail industry and this year the organization recognized Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) with its 2018 Legislator of the Year award. Sen. Wicker is pictured here receiving his award from ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock (left) and chairman Troy Johnson of Wilbur-Ellis.

“We are pleased to honor two very deserving Senators this year with our Legislator of the Year award,” said Coppock. “We are grateful for their dedication and continued support of the agriculture industry.”

Senator Wicker was honored for his support on important industry issues, such as promoting precision agriculture and rural broadband deployment. Sen. Grassley was recognized for his leadership as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. A longtime supporter of agriculture and agriculture retail, this is the second time Sen. Grassley has been honored as ARA Legislator of the Year.

The big news of the week for ARA was the formalizing of an alliance between ARA, The Fertilizer Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enhance workplace and community safety. “Safety is much larger than one person or one company,” said Coppock. “Safety also means being a good steward – a good steward of the land, business, employees, and the communities in which we operate. This alliance is a positive step for ARA, TFI, and OSHA to work together on an issue that is top of mind for ag retailers.”

Coppock talks about the new alliance and ARA’s week on the Hill in this interview.

Interview with Daren Coppock, ARA CEO

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USDA Tracking Farm Bill Implementation

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Now that the federal government is back at work, USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky says they are moving as quickly as possible to implement the new farm bill.

During a Farm Foundation Forum on the realities of implementing the 2018 farm bill, Censky said USDA is using a “Fitbit” type of approach to tracking goals. “We have our own ‘FBit’ we call a Farm Bit at USDA and it’s a Farm Bill Implementation tracker,” said Censky.

Censky chairs USDA’s Farm Bill Implementation Working Group that includes representation from each of the agency’s mission areas. “We have asked all of our agency’s to fill out this ‘FarmBit,’” said Censky. “We look forward to sharing more details of what the timelines are going to be in the next few weeks.”

The Farm Foundation Forum also comments from Senate Agriculture Committee chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) and a panel with Barry Flinchbaugh, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University; Tara Smith, Vice President of Federal Affairs with Michael Torrey Associates; and Alan Bjerga, Senior Vice President of Communications with the National Milk Producers Federation.

Listen to Censky’s comments here:
USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky at Farm Foundation Forum

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Precision Ag Bytes 2/6

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  • UPL Limited announced the completion of its acquisition of Arysta LifeScience Inc. from Platform Specialty Products for $4.2 billion.
  • Airbus launched an innovative service called Verde that delivers detailed crop analytics from satellite imagery, perfectly clipped to the field and accurately de-clouded. Served as plug and play API to any precision agriculture portal, Verde provides reliable and quantified measures of the vegetation, consistent over time and space, whatever the satellite used.
  • The National Conservation Foundation, in partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts, launched the Next Generation Leadership Institute, a program to develop opportunities for the next generation of conservation leaders.
  • The Farm Services Agency (FSA) and the Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) collaborated to quantify the effectiveness of saturated buffers to reduce nutrient loading from tile drainage waters. The full research report and videos pertaining to saturated buffer systems can be viewed here at
  • The National Association of Conservation Districts signed a memorandum of understanding with Ducks Unlimited, Inc. during the organization’s 73rd Annual Meeting. The MOU between NACD and DU establishes a formal commitment between both organizations to enhance the productivity of wildlife habitats on private lands.
  • After a record-breaking 251 startups from 53 countries applied to be part of The Pearse Lyons Accelerator, the class of 2019 has been selected to work with Alltech and Dogpatch Labs to accelerate their business development. The class of ten startups focus on all aspects of agriculture, including animal welfare, meat quality, crop health and increased productivity.
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