Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest Seeking Entries🌽

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

Fields of Corn Photo Contest NCGA The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is once again inviting amateur and professional photographers to help tell the story of farming American field corn through the third annual Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest. The contest allows the nation’s corn growers to submit high-resolution photos of corn growth from seed to harvest. Those who have already submitted entires can also enter additional photos, as participants will be able to submit multiple entries until November 30, 2016.

Entries should be submitted in the highest resolution possible. The best submissions will be featured in NCGA’s major publications, including the Annual Report.

19 cash prizes are also up for grabs in the contest, including a $500 grand prize. Cash prizes will also be received by the top three entries in each of the five categories: Farm Family Lifestyle, Farming Challenges, Growing Field Corn, Scenery/Landscape and the Soil Health Partnership’s new Conservation category. Additional first, second and third prizes will be awarded for the entries with the most “likes.”

An impartial panel of media and communications professionals, along with Soil Health Partnership (SHP) staff with conservation expertise, will judge the grand prize, as well as the first, second, and third place prizes in each category.

Entries to the Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest should be specifically geared toward photographs of field corn, not sweet corn. Learn more about the difference between the two by clicking here.

Entries will be accepted until November 30, 2016, and entries may accumulate “likes” until December 31, 2016. Winners will be announced in January of 2017. To get started, click here to register, upload your best farm photos, and come back often to submit new entries.

More information on prizes and on these categories can be found here.

Ag Group, Contest, Corn, Farmers, NCGA

Iteris adds Sunflowers, Sorghum to Growth Models

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

iteris Iteris, Inc. recently announced the addition of growth models for sunflower and sorghum crops into ClearAg, its digital agriculture platform, allowing ClearAg APIs to be more integrated in order to inform science-based insights for optimizing productivity, resource management and plant health for 10 species of crops that represent more than two billion metric tons of global annual production.

“Our software developers, agronomists and data scientists work together to build advanced predictive models regarding the growth stages of specific crop species,” said Tom Blair, senior vice president of agriculture and weather analytics at Iteris. “We now have precise science-based data built into our sunflower and sorghum plant growth models that cover the plants’ seedling emergence, vegetative, reproductive and physiologically mature states. This capability, combined with our global land surface modeling, dynamically generated weather data, and machine learning platform for digital agriculture produces a powerful tool for our customers to establish, grow and harvest crops more efficiently.”

USDA reports that sunflower seeds are one of the five largest oilseed crops, and about 40 million metric tons are produced in the world annually. Most sunflower seeds are crushed for oil, and the need to dry the flower before thrashing presents a significant challenge at harvest. This can be done most efficiently in-field in dry, sunny weather, but cooler, wetter or cloudier climates can allow for mold to quickly set in.

ClearAg’s analytics, weather data, and plant growth models will help growers and agribusinesses to make better informed decisions about these challenges, like whether to allow sunflower plants to dry in-field or provide additional drying.

Worldwide sorghum production totaled more than 60 million metric tons last year, according to the USDA. While sorghum has historically been used primarily as animal feed, it has also been used for ethanol, as a syrupy sweetener, and has been cooked whole or ground into an ancient-grain, gluten-free flour.

It is not uncommon for additional nutrients to be necessary just prior to flowering stage, and the latest crop growth model for sorghum will allow customers to integrate ClearAg APIs to inform more data-driven decisions about when sorghum crops are likely to reach the reproductive stage so they can time nutrient application accordingly.

Agribusiness, Data, Iteris, Sorghum

Fourth-Generation Farmer Wins Syngenta Contest

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

syngentaShelby Watson Hampton of Brandywine, Maryland works with her family on their four generation family farm, Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards.  When Syngenta‘s Thrive #RootedinAg contest challenged growers to describe how their agriculture roots are helping them, their families and their communities thrive, Hampton responded with these words:

“I’m blessed to be able to say that my family’s roots in agriculture go back many generations and are steeped in a rich tradition of hard work, faith, family and farming … If it weren’t for my agricultural roots, I would not have had the tenacity to grow wings and take a more active part in my larger community.”

Her easy has won her the grand prize, a mini touch-screen tablet, a $500 gift card, and a $1,000 donation in her name that will be donated to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention  (AFSP).

“I’m choosing this charity because it’s something that has deeply affected my family, our friends and our small rural town many times,” Hampton says. “As a community, we joined the AFSP and formed a local chapter and walk team to help shed light on the issues surrounding mental health and suicide. We hope to reach out to those who are suffering and their families, so that we can make a positive difference in the world around us.”

“We congratulate Shelby, and thank everyone who took the time to tell us how agriculture is benefiting not only them as individuals, but also the lives of so many others,” said Wendell Calhoun, communications manager at Syngenta. “As a company, we understand their deep passion for our industry and credit our own agricultural roots with our ability to develop exceptional innovations and practical solutions for today’s – and tomorrow’s – growers.”

To learn more about the #RootedinAg contest and other ag news, visit

Agribusiness, Award, Syngenta

Great American Wheat Harvest at #TransformFFA

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

ffa-16-3-editedThe story of custom wheat harvesters is one of a kind. That is the simple reason Conrad Weaver quickly grew passionate about telling their story. The Great American Wheat Harvest documentary shares the story of the hard working folks who harvest the wheat we use daily and Conrad knew FFA members from across the country could learn many life lessons through it.

While at the 89th National FFA Convention students will have the chance to receive a LIMITED EDITION copy of the Great American Wheat Harvest movie. This limited edition will only be available to FFA Chapters. They have printed more than 8,500 copies to distribute to chapter leaders so if you know someone who will be at convention, please encourage them to stop by the New Holland Agriculture booth in the exhibit hall to pick up their copy.

I spoke with Conrad to learn more about why he was so motivated to share this story with FFA members and the movies partnership with New Holland Agriculture. “This film in many ways has an education component to it. We divided the DVD into chapters so you can easily start at a particular part you are studying. It shares jobs that are related to the harvesting industry and the process of bringing wheat in from the field to how it becomes a loaf of bread. Plus a few extra features not found in the original DVD.”

Listen to my complete interview with Conrad here: Conrad Weaver, Great American Wheat Harvest

Be sure to check out even more action by viewing the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo Photo Album.

Coverage of the National FFA Convention is sponsored by
Coverage of the National FFA Convention is sponsored by FMC
Coverage of the National FFA Convention is sponsored by New Holland
Audio, FFA, Harvesting, wheat

Ag Secretary Brings Diversity Message to #TransformFFA

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

ffa-16-198-editedDiversity was the simple message Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack shared with FFA members at the 89th National FFA Convention. He encouraged each young person to be proud of our history in agriculture and to use their voice to tell that inspiring story.

“I am here first and foremost today to thank FFA for it’s commitment to diversity. Each of you has the opportunity in a small but important way to advance the cause of agriculture in this country through diversity.”

Listen to his complete message to FFA members here: Agriculture Sec Vilsack Remarks

Following remarks to FFA members, Secretary Vilsack took time to talk ag issues with members of the agriculture media. He continued on the theme of embracing diversity stating it was imperative for the future of agriculture.

Yesterday, USDA announced that they are awarding $7.6 million in grants to support projects that will grow opportunity in rural America through job training and economic development. The grants will support communities in at least 24 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with several projects spanning communities in multiple states.

Listen to the complete presser with Secretary Vilsack where he talks on the above grants, consumer perceptions, GIPSA and when the new Farm Bill might be addressed. Agriculture Sec Vilsack Presser

Be sure to check out even more action by viewing the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo Photo Album.

Coverage of the National FFA Convention is sponsored by
Coverage of the National FFA Convention is sponsored by FMC
Coverage of the National FFA Convention is sponsored by New Holland
Audio, FFA, USDA

Bayer Expects Registration for New Nematicide

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

velum-one-banner-logoBayer is wrapping up the registration process for California registration of Velum One, a nematicide with fungicidal activity.  The product is anticipated for use on almonds, tomatoes, strawberries, brassicas and cucurbits by the 2017 growing season.  It will help growers manage a wide spectrum of nematodes.

“During trials, early season application has been shown to protect root heath and get plants off to a great start,” said Joel Lipsitch, product manager for Bayer. “With Velum One, we will not only protect crops early in the season, but more importantly, we will give growers confidence that they’re using the right tools for the best return on their investment.”

Velum One contains a unique blend of active ingredients that work together to combat nematodes and damaging diseases. It moves from roots to leaves, not only suppressing nematodes below ground but also throughout the plant to suppress key diseases and help maximize yield potential.

“Field trials have shown that Velum One significantly increases yields and has an even greater impact when used with the insecticide/nematicide Movento and full disease management products like Luna,” added Lipsitch.

almond-on-vineThe product is applied through drip/micro chemigation and offers significant enhancement to existing nematode programs.  Velum One can immobilize nematodes within one to two hours after contact and is effective on early season diseases like powdery mildew.

“Once registered, Velum One will bring excellent protection to California crops in the coming year,” said Lipsitch. “We’re thrilled to bring growers a great option for nematode management to help maximize yield.”

Velum One is not currently registered for sale or use in California.

Agribusiness, Insecticide

Pioneer Brand Planish High Oleic Soybeans Expanding

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

plenishDuPont Pioneer and Perdue AgriBusiness are making plans to more than double the acreage of Pioneer brand Planish high oleic soybeans.  Beginning 2017 the soybeans will be grown in Maryland, Delaware, southeast Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

Mid-Atlantic growers will have the opportunity to recieve a grain premium with a high oleic contract.  Participating growers will be able to deliver the soybeans to designated Perdue facilities or participating elevators for processing.

“Food manufacturers, the food service industry and industrial users are demanding more Plenish high oleic soybean oil every year,” said John Ade, Perdue AgriBusiness senior vice president. “Thanks to the expanding market for this improved soybean oil, we are able to more than double contracted acre production acres for 2017.”

Growers contracting for Planish high oleic soybeans for 2017 will receive a 60 cent incentive for producing and sorting the beans, or a 50 cent premium for harvest delivery.

“Since we started working with Perdue in 2013, grower interest in Pioneer brand Plenish high oleic soybeans has been exceptional,” said Cynthia Ericson, DuPont Pioneer commercial unit lead. “The varieties we offer for contracting provide the defensive characteristics and high yield potential area growers need to significantly improve income per acre.”

The development and commercialization of Plenish high oleic soybeans illustrates how biotechnology can provide direct benefits to the food industry, consumers and growers.

With 0g transfat per serving and 20 percent less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil, Plenish high oleic soybean oil provides a sustainable, U.S.-grown, soy-based, transfat alternative for food companies and foodservice operators. The improved fatty acid profile provides the highest oxidative stability level of any commercially produced soybean oil. Additionally, this enhanced stability means longer fry life in restaurant applications and less polymerized oil buildup on equipment, which reduces cleaning costs.

Advantages of the oil also include a longer shelf life for packaged foods without sacrificing flavor.  It also eliminates the need for artificial preservatives, leading to a cleaner ingredient label.

Traits for high oleic soybeans have been approved by nearly all key U.S. export markets and remaining markets have approvals pending.

Agribusiness, Dupont Pioneer, Soybeans

FMC Registering New Fungicide Ingredient

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

fmc-logoFMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the registration process with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency for a new parasol carboxamide fungicide.  Bixafen is a new generation of succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors (SDHI) that FMC hopes to register for use on corn, soybeans, canola, peanuts and potatoes.

Bixafen is highly effective against a wide range of fungal diseases in row crops. Data has been submitted for review of several target diseases including: Northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot in corn; frogeye leaf spot, brown spot and white mold in soybeans; septoria leaf blotch, stripe rust and stem rust in cereals; early blight and white mold in potatoes; white mold in canola; stem rot, leaf spot, leaf rust and Rhizoctonia limb rot in peanuts.

FMC acquired exclusive rights to bixafen from Bayer CropScience to develop and distribute the novel product for row crops in the United States and Canada. FMC has greatly expanded its fungicide offerings in recent years for row crops and specialty crops, including tree, fruit and vine crops.

“Bixafen will further that growth with plans to build a suite of products around this chemistry,” said Amy O’ Shea, vice president and business director, U.S. and Canada, FMC Agricultural Solutions. “We have simultaneously begun registration for several premixes.”

This is the first of several new proprietary crop protection active ingredients FMC is working to complete registration for within the next three years.  “FMC is investing in synthetic and biological products to address growers’ dynamic crop protection challenges,” said O’Shea. “As pest challenges evolve, it’s incredibly important to bring new active ingredients to market. Growers need new tools to manage resistance and to control yield-robbing diseases, weeds and pests.”

Agribusiness, FMC, Fungicides

USDA Finalizes Conservation Easement Program Rule

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

nrcsThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published a final rule on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which was created in the 2014 Farm Bill to consolidate provisions in three previous conservation easement programs.

The rule changes are designed to “make the program more flexible and responsive to the unique needs of farmers and ranchers in each region of the U.S.”, according to USDA. The final rule was published after considering public comments on the interim rule published in February 2015. USDA received nearly 1070 comments from 102 respondents on the interim final rule and evaluated the comments in the development of the final rule.

Significantly, the final rule clarifies certain program requirements for certified and non-certified entities, which will help streamline participation in the Agricultural Land Easement component of ACEP. The final rule also incorporates more fully the protection of grazing uses and related conservation values as one of the program purposes.

USDA reports that demand for ACEP funds continues to be high, with 70 percent of applications for the wetland component and 30 percent for the agricultural easement component, and an average of 25 percent of applicants are funded.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers ACEP, a voluntary program created in the 2014 Farm bill to protect and restore critical wetlands on private and tribal lands through the wetland reserve easement component (ACEP-WRE). ACEP also encourages farmers, ranchers and non-industrial private forest landowners to keep their private and tribal land in agricultural use through the agricultural land easement component (ACEP-ALE).

Conservation, Government, USDA

AutoTrac™ Vision in Sight for 2017

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

autotrac-visionNew John Deere AutoTrac™ products available for 2017 provide a new line of vision when making postemergence sprayer applications.

AutoTrac Vision uses a front-mounted camera to see early-season corn, soybeans and cotton at least 4 to 6 inches high. An industry exclusive from John Deere.. “The camera actually sees the row and steers the sprayer down the row in early season application,” explained product manager Sara Flohr at the recent John Deere Product Reveal.

sara-flohrFlohr says Vision can be used all the way until canopy, at which point a grower can switch to AutoTrac RowSense™ “which are two paddles mounted to the front tires of the sprayer that feel their way down the row,” said Flohr. It uses a row sensor similar to that used on combines to detect crop rows and steer the sprayer to the center of the row for later season post applications. “Both systems allow the operator to spray at faster speeds with little manual steering and cover more acres per day with less damage to crops.”

Both systems are available as field installed kits on currently operating machines or from the factory on new John Deere R4023, R4030, R4038 and R4045 Sprayers.

Learn more in this interview with Sara: Interview with Sara Flohr, John Deere

John Deere 2016 Product Reveal Photo Album

Audio, Guidance, John Deere, Spraying