Perdue Answers Questions From NAFTA to Wildfires

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Yesterday newly confirmed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue spent his third day on the job visiting the USDA office in Kansas City, Missouri. He also addressed members of the press, answering questions on topics from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to wildfires.

“I was a grain trader, and President Trump is a trader,” Perdue said when asked about the recent news that NAFTA is being rethought.   “When you said ‘he was going to do that,’  he uses statements many times from a  negotiating perspective, so saying something was contemplated is not the same thing as saying something was done, or going to be done.  I think the ultimate outcome is really what we’re interested in, and I think what you read in the news today regarding Mexico and Canada’s agreement to come to the table quickly, to renegotiate this years old trade affair will be helpful to producers of all kind in America, both in the agriculture sector and the manufacturing sector.”

“This president likes to do the deal,” Perdue added.  “I’m persuaded he has the leadership and tenacity to make a good deal for Americans.”

Overall NAFTA has been good for farmers, Perdue said, but there are areas that need to be reevaluated.  The agreement has been a net benefit overall.  Certainly it’s been good for grains, but it’s been a negative balance for crops like fruits and vegetables, and that’s something Trump and Perdue want to see changed.

“We grow stuff very, very well.  My job as USDA Secretary of Agriculture is to go around the world and make sure we’re able to market and sell the products we grow very well,” Perdue explains.

Perdue also answered questions about the farm bill and SNAP program, staffing possibilities, the recent wildfires, and his priority for the USDA.  Listen here or watch the video to hear the complete press conference: Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

Watch the video:


Audio, Government, USDA, Video

New CRISPR-Cas Website from DuPont Pioneer

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DuPont Pioneer has launched a new website to help inform about CRISPR-Cas technology. The site highlights how gene editing can improve plants and help produce more and better food with fewer resources.

“Acknowledged as a breakthrough in biology, the public conversation about CRISPR-Cas technology across human, animal and plant applications is growing,” said Neal Gutterson, vice president, Research & Development, DuPont Pioneer. “At DuPont Pioneer, we want to be an active participant in this important dialogue and make information about our crop research and product development activities with CRISPR-Cas easily accessible.”

The website includes a video, webinar replay, and frequently asked Q and A, along with news releases, science manuscripts, and a glossary of CRISPR-Cas terms.

Agribusiness, Dupont Pioneer, Gene Editing

Register for ASTA Now

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The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) has announced their 134th Annual Convention. The conference is scheduled for June 21-24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The theme will be “Voyage of Better Seed” with a focus on policy development and free movement of quality seed worldwide.

Sessions include: Consumer Food Trends Panel, featuring member of major food companies; International and Domestic Policy Outlook, covering trade and regulatory activities; and Seed and Research Facility/Plant Tours of a packing plant and Syngenta’s Seedcare Institute.

Ag Group, ASTA, Events

New Holland Sets World Record

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 New Holland‘s CR8.90 combine has set a new World Record.  In just eight hours a total of 16, 157 bushels of soybeans were harvested in the Bahia State of Brazil.

“Setting the world record for harvesting 16,157 bushels of soybeans is an achievement we’re very proud of and it demonstrates the power and productivity of the CR8.90”, stated Dan Valen, Director of Product Marketing North America. “Similar to the CR10.90 smashing the World Record for wheat harvesting in 2014, the CR8.90 delivered an exceptional performance in setting this record. Both of these accomplishments reinforce the New Holland CR Series and Twin Rotor™ technology as best-in-class, worldwide.”

The record was set on April 5, 2017 on the Villa Panambi farm.  Three quarters of an inch of rain had fallen that morning, making moisture high, while the temperature ranged from 77 to 82.4 degreed Fahrenheit.  Between 10:30 am and 5:30 pm, 222 acres (90 hectares) were put through the CR8.90, averaging 2,020 bushels/hour and 72.6 bushels/A of beans.  You can watch the feat on YouTube.

Agribusiness, Harvesting, New Holland, Soybeans

Inocucor’s Biological Crop Input is Certified Organic

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Inocucor Technologies‘ biological crop input, Synergro, has been granted organic certification for use in Canada. The approval means the product is in compliance with Canadian Organic Standards and the USDA’s National Organic Program. It is one of the first microbial crop inputs to be registered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Synergro can be used on high-value produce like strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, and broccoli. It uses a fermentation process to combine bacteria and yeast into soil and plant optimizers. The product is safe for people and the environment and naturally improves crop yields.

Agribusiness, biologicals, environment, Organic

Ag Groups Host Field Day for Government Officials

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The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) hosted a field day for officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs. Participants got to observe seed treatments, planting practices, equipment innovations and product demonstrations– all using the most cutting-edge technology available. The demonstrations took place on NCGA Chairman Chip Bowling’s farm in Newburg, Maryland.

“This event should serve as a model for how industry groups can work with environmental stakeholders and federal agencies to build understanding and cooperation on issues that affect agricultural stakeholders,” said AEM Senior Director Nick Tindall.

“As an industry, we are committed to the goal of developing better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life,” said ASTA President & CEO Andrew W. LaVigne. “Today’s event was a tremendous opportunity to showcase the critical role of innovation and stewardship in every step of bringing quality, safe, and nutritious products to market.”

“We are excited for the opportunity to engage with regulators and to showcase advancements in farming practices that have improved the environmental profile of farming while increasing yields,” said NCGA Chairman Chip Bowling.  “Technology is key to improving the sustainability of farming. It is important that those who regulate this technology understand how these tools are used by farmers on the ground.”

This year’s demo day came about as a result of a spray drift technology demonstration for the EPA in 2016. The organizing groups will release a video with the day’s highlights soon.

AEM, Ag Group, ASTA, EPA, NCGA, USDA

USFRA, ZimmComm Launch SMART Farmer Podcast

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Consumers can relate to the idea of ‘smart’ items like the smart phone, smart home or smart classroom. That’s why the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is promoting the idea of the SMART farm— connecting consumers with the technology used to make farms and ranches more sustainable and efficient.

One of the ways they’re sharing this message is through a new partnership with us here at ZimmComm New Media and the AgWired team of websites. Each week you’ll find a SMART Farmer podcast ready for download that covered topics such as environmental sustainability, misconceptions about GMOs, antibiotic use, pesticides, animal welfare, and the continual improvement of the industry.

“USFRA research shows technology in agriculture is perceived positively by consumers and food influencers, with about half who associate it to increased yields and improved efficiency,” said Randy Krotz, USFRA Chief Executive Officer. “Our SMART Farm platform is an opportunity to capitalize on the positive support for technology on today’s farms and ranches showing how it benefits the consumer and our planet.”

You can listen to podcasts here with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Chairman and USFRA Vice Chairman Chip Bowling, American Sugarbeet Growers Association (ASGA) President and USFRA Board Member Galen Lee and USFRA Face of Farming & Ranching Lauren Schwab, among others, or check them out at the NAMA Agri-Marketing Conference Connection Point Trade Show in Dallas this week. You can subscribe or listen in iTunes as well, and, as always, media is welcome to use any ZimmComm materials or portions of it in their programming.

Podcast, SMART Farmer, USFRA, ZimmComm

BASF Acquires Digital Farming Portfolio from ZedX

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BASF has announced that they have acquired ZedX Inc., a digital agriculture developer.  ZedX focuses on developing agronomic weather and crop and pest models. BASF plans to uses these resources to help growers take advantage of the power of big data.

“Growers are embracing cutting-edge technology and tools that can help them increase crop yields,” said Scott Kay, Vice President, Crop Protection, BASF North America. “ZedX’s innovative platforms and strong intelligence capabilities will not only enhance our current digital services, but will also provide growers with critical data to successfully manage their operations.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed within four weeks. Products and solutions from ZedX will soon be available to all key markets. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Agribusiness, BASF, Data

Indigo Presents Innovative Platform for Ag

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Indigo focuses on using nature to sustainably feed the plant, which is why they’ve collaborated with 25 growers and experts to test a microbial seed treatment on more than 15,000 acres in 2017. The project, named Indigo Partners, will provide data and insights to help Indigo bring new products to market.

“Using bioinformatics and data analytics, we are creating a unique agricultural R&D platform. Together with leading growers around the world, we will test and validate new technologies, generating insights that will bring innovative products to market,” said David Perry, CEO and Director of Indigo. “With Indigo Partners, we seek to discover and launch technologies that improve farmer profitability, and to champion change with new sustainable farming practices.”

Growers testing the microbial seed treatment will also have access to agronomic advice, allowing them to optimizing their crops with tailored recommendations. Over the season, data will be collected to provide the critical information growers are looking for; what value does the new technology bring?

Agribusiness, seed

Perdue Officially Confirmed as Secretary of Ag

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The U.S. Senate has formally confirmed the nomination of George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue III to serve as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture with a final vote of 87 to 11.

Perdue is an agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and former governor of Georgia.  He grew up working on his family farm in central Georgia, making him the fourth agriculture secretary who has worked as a farmer.  His USDA biography credits the family farm for shaping Sonny Perdue into the person he is today. “He has lived and breathed the exhilaration of a great crop and the despair and devastation of a drought. He learned by experience what his father told him as a child, “If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.””

Comments of senators supporting Perdue’s confirmation on the floor Monday.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – McConnell/Perdue

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) – Roberts/Perdue

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) – Stabenow/Perdue

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) – Tester/Perdue

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) – Isakson/Perdue

Audio, Government, USDA