DuPont and Purdue Host Plant Science Symposium

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

purdue agPurdue University and DuPont Pioneer are teaming up to host the first Purdue Plant Science Symposium.  This event is part of a series co-sponsored by DuPont and various university around the globe.  The program was designed to improve collaboration and problem-solving between universities, government organizations, and agriculture.  The symposium at Purdue will be held on August 4, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.  The theme will be “An Interdisciplinary Approach to Abiotic Stress.”

“The main goal of the symposium is to build interdisciplinary partnerships within the plant sciences,” said Heather Pasley, a doctorate student in agronomy. “We hope to inspire the research that will improve abiotic stress tolerance in plants and close the global yield gap.”

Dupont PioneerThe global yield gap is a gauge of how well global food production is keeping up with demand. It is measured by a number of factors such as abiotic stress, which is stress inflicted on living organisms by nonliving substances or forces. Abiotic stress can be caused by wind, heat or cold, or natural disasters.

Speakers at the symposium will include researchers from Purdue, the universities of Missouri and Nebraska, DuPont Pioneer and the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo, or International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. Events will include roundtable discussions, networking opportunities, a tour of Purdue’s new phenotyping facility and a graduate student poster session.

Registration is free and open to all.  Organizers hope for participation from those involved in all areas of agriculture.

“We are hoping these symposia are one way to work together to address complex issues like food security and abiotic stress,” Pasley said. “We want to create networks among graduate schools and dialogue between public and private sectors.”

A poster competition will be open to graduate and postdoctoral ag students from any university.  The top three prizes are $300, $200, and $100 respectively.

For more information, contact Pasley,, or visit the symposium Facebook page at

Ag Group, Dupont Pioneer, Events, University

More than 100 Nobel Laureates Support GMOs

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Nobel Laureate Sir Richard RobertsThis morning three Nobel Laureates presented at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. to call on Greenpeace, the United Nations and governments around the world to support GMOs. They are the public face of more than 100 Nobel Laureates who signed a letter asking that campaigns agains products like Golden Rice be abandoned.  The letter condemns practices that are thwarting life-saving progress available through biotechnology.

Signers represent a variety of backgrounds; medicine, economics, physics, chemistry, literature, and peace.  Their campaign was kicked-off this morning by  Sir Richard Roberts (1993 Nobel Laureate for Physiology or Medicine), Professor Martin Chalfie (2008 Nobel Laureate for Chemistry) and Professor Randy Schekman (2013 Nobel Laureate for Physiology or Medicine).

At the press conference, Laureate Sir Richard Roberts stated, “In our letter we call upon Greenpeace and like organizations to end their shameful campaign of propaganda and criminal destruction of crops improved by modern genetic technologies, such as GMOs.” Roberts, added, “We call on governments and world organizations to do everything in their power to oppose anti-GMO obstruction and to accelerate farmer access to the life-saving tools provided by modern biotechnology.”

Roberts also points out the many good contributions made by Greenpeace, stating that “that this is an issue that they got wrong and [but we should] focus on the stuff that they do well.”

Nobel laureate Randy Schekman, a cell biologist at the University of California at Berkeley, says, “I find it surprising that groups that are very supportive of science when it comes to global climate change, or even, for the most part, in the appreciation of the value of vaccination in preventing human disease, yet can be so dismissive of the general views of scientists when it comes to something as important as the world’s agricultural future.”

Together the Laureates urge policy makers and the public an other to come together to support the logic of science and prevent “crimes against humanity” that are caused by needless deaths.

The movement has a website providing a list of the signers, their backgrounds and the benefits available through GMOs.

Ag Group, biotechnology, GMO, Plant Science, technology

1,000 Organizations Support Passage of Food Labeling

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

CFSAFMore than 1,000 ag and food industry organizations have come together to show their support for the food labeling solution.  Co-chairs for the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF), Pamela Bailey and Charles Conner are excited by the show of support for this critical legislation and hope a letter to the Senate will demonstrate the necessity of moving forward quickly.

“The unparalleled support from across the nation and across America’s food producing community shows how important this legislation is and why the Senate should pass it quickly,” said Conner, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “The over 1,000 groups that signed this letter strongly support the Roberts-Stabenow legislative solution and urge action before the negative impacts of Vermont’s law increase.”

“This bill provides consumers access to more information than ever before in a way that doesn’t needlessly complicate the jobs of American family farmers and small businesses,” said Bailey, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “The signers of this letter represent the people most directly responsible for producing our safe, affordable food supply. We ask that the Senate quickly bring this legislation up for a vote and pass it.”

The letter is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid.  It requests leadership to act quickly on the bill. “We thank Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow, for their strong leadership on this issue, and we ask that you schedule floor time and provide expedited consideration of this important and timely legislation,” the letter states. “We pledge to work with senators on both sides of the aisle to ensure quick passage of this bipartisan proposal.”

Ag Group, Food, Government, Labeling

European Commission Extends Use of Glyphosate

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

asaThe European Commission has extended authorization for glyphosate for another 18 months, an action supported by soy growers in the U.S.  However, Richard Wilkins, President of the American Soybean Association, notes that the announcement is only a temporary solution, and that American farmers are still searching for more certainty in the European marketplace.

“An 18-month extension gives U.S. farmers and exporters the assurance that they will at least have access to the European market for that period of time. Clearly that’s not the certainty the industry needs, but it’s better than nothing,” Wilkins states.

“That said, we are still extraordinarily frustrated by the unscientific approach in the EU. Remember, the European Food Safety Authority found that glyphosate is safe. Given this repeatedly proven fact, it’s a relief that the Commission decided to step in and issue this reauthorization, even after the Council of Ministers was unable to find the support among its members to affirm the EFSA finding. Continued progress is needed, however. A logical and welcomed next step will be for the EU to finalize approval of the three pending biotech varieties. With that approval, our farmers can move forward with the certainty they need.”

Ag Group, ASA, EU, Herbicides

Four Scientists Earn #FoodPrize16

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

World Food PrizeDrs. Maria Andrade, Robert Mwanga, Jan Low and Howarth Bouis have been honored with the 2016 World Food Prize.  Their names were announced today at a ceremony at the U.S. State Department where USAID administrator Gayle Smith gave the keynote address.

“These four extraordinary World Food Prize Laureates have proven that science matters, and that when matched with dedication, it can change people’s lives,” said Administrator Gayle Smith. “USAID and our Feed the Future partners are proud to join with renowned research organizations to support critical advances in global food security and nutrition.”

The World Food Prize is the most prominent global award for individuals whose breakthrough achievements alleviate hunger and promote global food security. This year’s $250,000 prize will be divided equally between the four recipients. The prize rewards their work in countering world hunger and malnutrition through biofortification, the process of breeding critical vitamins and micronutrients into staple crops.

Dr. Maria Andrade, Dr. Robert Mwanga and Dr. Jan Low are all three being honored for their work with the orange-fleshed sweet potato.  Their success at breeding a Vitamin A-enriched sweet potato is the single most successful example of biofortification.

Dr. Hwarth Bouis is the founder of HarvestPlus at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).  His leadership has resulted in crops like iron and zinc fortified beans, rice wheat and pearl millet, as well as Vitamin A-enriched cassava, maize and orange-fleshed sweet potato.

The combined efforts of the four winners have impacted the globe, with more than 10 million people positively touched by biofortified crops.

Visit for more information.

Award, biotechnology, Food

DuPont Licensed for Monsanto Soybeans in Brazil

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Dupont PioneerDuPont Pioneer and Monsanto have agreed to work together to provide additional choices for Brazilian soybean farmers.  Pioneer will receive a royalty-bearing license for Monsanto’s Intacta RR2PRO soybean technology under the new agreemnt.  The license is subject to approval by the Brazilian regulatory authority and financial details have not been disclosed.

“DuPont Pioneer looks forward to bringing the Intacta insect technology together with leading soybean genetics to Brazilian growers as early as the 2017 selling season,” said Alejandro Muñoz, DuPont Pioneer vice president, Global Commercial Business. “The combination of technology, genetics, and DuPont™ Dermacor® seed treatment will help advance the productivity of soybean growers while providing enhanced insect control and strengthening their integrated pest management practices.”

monsanto“We’re pleased we have been able to reach an agreement with DuPont for Intacta RR2 PRO™ technology in Brazil,” said Mike Frank, Monsanto vice president, chief commercial officer. “This agreement further endorses the value of our Intacta RR2 PRO™ platform, which has achieved rapid grower adoption and is providing an important new choice in insect control and convenience to growers in South America.”

The Intact RR2 PRO soybeans offer growers three main benefits; increased yield potential, protection from soybean pests and tolerance to glyphosate.  The product has become a cornerstone for Monsanto’s next-generation soybean platform.

Agribusiness, Dupont Pioneer, Monsanto, Soybeans

Dukes Honored with John Deere Gold Medal Award

Kelly Marshall 1 Comment

University of FloridaMichael Dukes has been honored with the 2016 John Deere Gold Medal award.

Dukes is the director of the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.  He has received national recognition for his expertise in irrigation and water conservation.  The award is given by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) to distinguish work done on behalf of soil.

“It is a great honor to be selected by my peers for this prestigious award,” Dukes said. “I look forward to continuing my work in helping create sustainable landscape practices that will impact not only Florida, but the world.”

As a professor and UF/IFAS Extension irrigation specialist, Dukes conducts research on water conservation and efficient irrigation with a focus on landscape irrigation. His research is used to inform irrigation professionals, decision makers and other stakeholders on how to implement changes and manage landscape irrigation systems to maximize efficiency while maintaining aesthetically pleasing landscapes. His work is invaluable, said Wendy Graham, director of the UF Water Institute.

“Dr. Dukes is one of the leading experts in developing efficient irrigation systems and in translating new technologies into real world water conservation. His pioneering work in soil moisture sensing to improve water use efficiency and development of smart irrigation technologies for both agricultural and urban landscapes have shown significant water savings impacts,” Graham said. “His strong interdisciplinary research and Extension programs are evidenced by his recent recognition as a UF Water Institute faculty fellow and this prestigious John Deere Gold Medal from ASABE.”

Dukes mentors graduate and postdoctoral students pursing the profession, and his research team has researched and developed commercially available irrigation technologies.  “Perhaps most importantly, we have documented hundreds of millions of gallons of water being saved that otherwise would have been wasted due to inefficient irrigation,” Dukes said. “Use of these technologies is increasing and being adopted by builders and developers for landscape irrigation throughout Florida and other parts of the United States.”

The award will be presented in Orlando, Florida on July 20 a ASABE’s annual meeting.

Award, Research, Soil, University

Monsanto Forms New Partnership Agreements

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

Monsanto-LogoMonsanto Company has formed two new partnership agreements.  One targets weed control solutions while the other focuses on genome-editing.

Under an agreement with TargetGene Biotechnologies LTD, Monsanto receives an exclusive license for TargetGene’s Genome Editing Engine (T GEE).  “TargetGene is pleased to be working with Monsanto to enable the next generation of agricultural innovation through the application of our genome-editing technology,” said Dr. Yoel Shiboleth, chief executive officer of TargetGene. “In a time of increasing environmental challenges and a growing global population to feed, this science has never been more important.”

“TargetGene has uniquely positioned itself to develop precision-editing techniques that can improve a broad range of solutions that help growers around the world deliver better harvests,” said Tom Adams, biotechnology lead for Monsanto. “Monsanto has conducted extensive research with various gene-editing approaches for years, and we believe access to TargetGene’s technology will help drive further precision and efficiency within the company’s robust plant breeding and biotechnology pipelines.”

The tool places the company in a position to deliver breakthroughs in plant science.  Monsanto compares it to the “search and replace” function in word-processors, allowing breeders to create new hybrids more efficiently.

The second agreement is with Sumitomo Chemical Company, Ltd.  Sumitomo Chemical has been developing a new generation of PPO chemistry with broader spectrum control and flexibility for application.  Now the companies are planning to work together to create an integrated system of germplams, biotechnology and crop protection for better weed control solutions.  To meet that goal they will collaborate on registration and commercialization of the PPO chemistry for use in Monsanto’s future weed management systems.  The new herbicide is expected to be offered by both organizations.

“I’m really excited about Sumitomo Chemical’s next generation weed control technology,” said Robb Fraley, Monsanto Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “This next-generation PPO herbicide has remarkable broad spectrum effect against both grass and broadleaf weeds, which will make it an excellent, complementary addition to the Roundup Ready® platform. The product’s low use rate, together with a unique mode of action effective against resistant PPO weeds, will be valuable to corn, soy and cotton growers.”

Agribusiness, biotechnology, Herbicides, Monsanto, Weed control

View Crops with Live Streaming Video

Kelly Marshall Leave a Comment

KenCastPrecision agriculture means growers are constantly pushing the envelope to monitor crops and turn that data into decision-making tools which offer an economic edge.  For some that means in-field video feed, for others its uploading captured photos for viewing remotely.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Now KenCast is offering the next level of aerial imagery.  Using HD streaming cellular or satellite networks the company provides real-time video feed of a farmer’s fields.  The product is portable and lower in cost than you might think.  The results are effective and high preforming without the need to visit each field.

The key to these products lies in how the video is transmitted from the field to the Internet. Embedded within these devices are multiple cellular modems whose bandwidths are “bonded” together to create a large data pipeline (think “multiple cell phones working in conjunction, embedded within a single box”).

The video is distributed across these connections based on available bandwidth to establish a strong, reliable connection. Multiple cellular providers’ SIM cards are used concurrently to avoid relying on one single network’s coverage.

For farms that fall within a cellular network range, this solution enables reliable live video broadcast to the Internet with little delay.  For farms outside of network footprints, many of these products can be used in conjunction with small satellite dishes for portable satellite connectivity.

Growers also have options for high-bandwidth capabilities that allow rapid file upload to a cloud platform.  Other options include the size and shape of the devices, ranging from servers to portable backpack units.

All options provide simple to use technology.  Connect to the Internet and you’re good to go.  Users can then watch their HD feed from a web-based streaming platform, generally with less than five seconds of delay.  Watch on your PC or from a smart device, either iOS or Android.  Streaming footage is also stored in the cloud for later viewing.

Check out their website to learn more, or plan to attend Interdrone in September to speak with a team member.

Aerial Imagery, Agribusiness, Data, drone

4R Approach is Personal to Ontario Crop Advisor

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

growmark-4r-chrisFor Chris Snip of Agris Co-operative in Ontario, Canada, the 4R approach to nutrient management is personal.

Snip has been a Certified Crop Advisor for 16 years and was one of five crop specialists recently named as the first recipients of the new GROWMARK Endure 4R Advocate award. “My family and I spend a lot of time in Lake Erie, fishing and swimming, and I’ve taken it as a personal thing,” he says. “I have the opportunity to reduce phosphorus loss from a lot of acres, that’s given me an opportunity to do more than a lot of people could.”

Snip is also an active member of Delta Waterfowl, The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and a board member of the local Soils and Crop Association.

Learn more about how Chris makes the 4R concept personal in this interview: Interview with Chris Snip, Agris Co-op

agronomy, Audio, Fertilizer, FS System, Growmark