GROWMARK Names New Vice President for Agronomy

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

growmark-orrGROWMARK has announced the appointment of Mark Orr as Vice President of Agronomy, succeeding Jim Spradlin who was recently named GROWMARK CEO-elect.

“Mark brings proven leadership experience and an excellent understanding of retail agronomy marketing and operations to this role,” Spradlin said. Orr began his career in the GROWMARK System career in 1990 at Schuyler-Brown FS. He served as controller for Western FS and then Ag-Land FS. Mark served as general manager of both Piatt County Service Company and Ag View FS. He was named Central Region vice president in October 2013.

gmk-jeff-jimGROWMARK just announced last month that Spradlin was chosen by the board of directors to replace CEO Jeff Solberg who is retiring in September. They are both pictured here at a 2012 Pursuit of Maximum Yields event.

“It is truly an honor to have the support of the GROWMARK Board of Directors as we work together to guide the GROWMARK System,” Spradlin said.

Spradlin has also held various positions within the GROWMARK System of cooperatives, including controller of Schuyler-Brown FS, regional administrative director, general manager of Piatt Service Company, general manager of Ag-Land FS, and region manager (Central Ill.), energy division manager, and agronomy division manager.

agronomy, Growmark Cindy ZimmermanGROWMARK Names New Vice President for Agronomy

Iowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

renew rural iowaALMACO, is a community supporter and tireless innovator in the global pursuit to end world hunger. The longtime family-owned manufacturing company was nominated for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur award by employees and Story County Economic Development leaders.

Founded in 1880, ALMACO is the oldest company in Story county; their first products were horseshoes for horse-drawn plows. But, as farming changes, ALMACO changed and grew. Today, the Nevada-based company’s 287 employees design sophisticated planters, grain drills, threshers, research plot combines and electronic data capture equipment which is used around the globe by farming innovators. Laura West, from the Nevada Economic Development Group, says even though ALMACO is very forward-thinking, they remain rooted in their strong, Iowa values. “They give back in more ways than just creating jobs; they give back to the school and they give back to local charitable organizations. They aren’t just a company that is growing in Nevada; they are growing Nevada.”

Patrick Clem, president of business development, says ALMACO is a company that is hiring, too. “A lot of our growth is coming from international markets where our clients are working with corn and soybean research efforts around the world. So we continue to evolve to meet their needs. Five years ago, if you would’ve asked if ALMACO is a manufacturing or technology company, I would’ve said we were a manufacturing company. Today, our niche is the many engineering solutions that we provide companies. Yet, it is important to us that ALMACO remains a family-owned business, where our employees are known on a ‘first-name basis’ and they look forward to coming to work each day,” said Clem.

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring, and financial resources.

Ag Group, Award, Farm Bureau Jamie JohansenIowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award

Varying Opinions on Farming Tech

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How can technology make farming even better?”

We all seem to have a different opinion on what type of farming technology would be the most beneficial. Right now I am leaning towards weather control. It would be nice to simply click a button when we need some rain. I still believe that is a little farfetched. However, I know we will all be seeing drones and robots in our near future.

Here are the poll results:

  • Remote control tractors – 15%
  • Drone crop management – 22%
  • Robot livestock feeders – 19%
  • Remote crop & livestock sensors – 15%
  • Weather control – 15%
  • Can’t imagine it yet – 7%
  • Other – 7%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, I prefer to get my farm news from:

In this day and age we can get news at the drop of the hat. It is pretty much everywhere we look. But we all have our preferred source for the latest news in the agriculture community. Let us know where you prefer to get your farming news.

ZimmPoll Jamie JohansenVarying Opinions on Farming Tech

MapShots Customers Learn More About AgStudio

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

The purpose of the MapShots AgStudio Expo event prior to the start of the InfoAg 2014 Conference in St. Louis this week was to help their customers learn more about the capabilities of AgStudio – and they certainly did.

mapshots-14-cochranPhil Cochran of Cochran Agronomics in Paris, Illinois has been in the crop consulting business for 32 years and has seen lots of changes in his time. “When we started 32 years ago, I was carrying a five gallon bucket and a map clip board and a soil probe, so we indeed have come a long way,” he said. “We came to the MapShots conference to stay up with what these guys are doing. This is our second year with AgStudio…our eighth year with MapShots and it’s been a wonderful experience.”

Phil says AgStudio has really streamlined the input of their soil data and it has a huge inventory of report forms for them to use. “And then we started using AgMap, their field software, this year and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” he said. The most important information he took home with him from the MapShots event was what he learned about AgStudio that could help his clients.
Interview with Phil Cochran, Illinois crop consultant

mapshots-14-customerMike Shuter is a corn and soybean farmer from east central Indiana who started using MapShots Easi Suite software when it first came out and he came to the event to learn about moving up to AgStudio. “It’s just given us a great way to keep field records and know what we’re putting where and work with prescriptions,” he said. “Basically everything we’re doing is variable rated in some fashion so we’re using Easi Suite to make those variable rate recommendations and now looking to move to AgStudio to do a little bit better job with that.”
Interview with Mike Shuter, Indiana farmer

AgStudio Expo Photo Album

AgStudio, Audio, InfoAg, MapShots, Software, Variable rate Cindy ZimmermanMapShots Customers Learn More About AgStudio

The Logic of John Deere AgLogic

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

infoag-14-deere-bakreJohn Deere AgLogic™ is the logical choice to help custom applicators manage and improve the productivity of their assets and fleet, and now they can do it on the go.

Swarupa Bakre, Associate Brand Manager for John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group, was at the InfoAg Conference this week talking about the recent launch of the AgLogic tablet platform for Android devices. “That really helps take AgLogic to the next level, because now you’re mobile,” she said. “You can manage your work orders, you can send driving directions to your fields, you can send prescription files, just helps to remotely monitor what’s happening in your spraying application in near real time.”

Bakre explains that the Android platform was the “most logical platform” to start with because it was the easiest to build, but they do hope to develop an iOS version in the future.

Interview with
Swarupa Bakre, John Deere

InfoAg 2014 Photo Album

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Coverage of the InfoAg Conference is sponsored by MapShotsCoverage of the InfoAg Conference is sponsored by John DeereCoverage of the InfoAg Conference is sponsored by Ag Leader Technology
Apps, Audio, John Deere, Software, Spraying Cindy ZimmermanThe Logic of John Deere AgLogic

AgStudio – Beyond Agronomy

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

mapshots-14-kellyMapShots AgStudio well known for its agronomic applications, but farmers can also use AgStudio for the business of farming.

During the AgStudio Expo this week, MapShots consultant Kelly Nelson outlined four areas where AgStudio can help farmers in the office:

Tracking input costs
Managing leases
Tracking commodity inventories
Reporting data to the government

“Agronomy is the killer function in AgStudio,” said Nelson. “These business features take the data you already have in AgStudio and tie that to something that makes sense.”

While there is currently software that helps farmers do all these jobs, Nelson says what they can do is bring it all into the same program. Interview with Kelly Nelson, MapShots consultant

MapShots is exhibiting this week at the InfoAg Expo in St. Louis where they are demonstrating the capabilities of AgStudio to farmers from all over the Midwest.

AgStudio Expo Photo Album

AgStudio, Audio, MapShots, Software Cindy ZimmermanAgStudio – Beyond Agronomy

Deere Driving Technology for the Bottom Line

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

infoag-14-deere-jerryJohn Deere is a major sponsor of the InfoAg 2014 Conference in St. Louis, as they have been since the beginning, according to Jerry Roell, Director of Business Development for Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group.

“It’s a great way for the industry to learn about precision ag, it’s grown now and it shows the passion and the interest,” said Roell at the conference. “The understanding of what precision ag can do for producers today is becoming well enough known that our precision ag sales continue to grow.”

InfoAg sessions have focused on some of the challenges facing the precision ag industry, one of which is the interface between technology and equipment. “We build equipment that many times lasts 20 years, most of this technology will not go through that kind of a life cycle,” said Roell. So, it’s important to look at ways that to ensure that as the next generations of technology are developed, they can apply to older equipment.

Roell says farmers will continue to see John Deere leading in the development of technology “that will drive the most money to our customers’ bottom lines.”

Listen to my interview with Jerry here: Interview with Jerry Roell, John Deere

InfoAg 2014 Photo Album

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Coverage of the InfoAg Conference is sponsored by MapShotsCoverage of the InfoAg Conference is sponsored by John DeereCoverage of the InfoAg Conference is sponsored by Ag Leader Technology
Agribusiness, Audio, InfoAg, John Deere Cindy ZimmermanDeere Driving Technology for the Bottom Line

PrecisionAg Excellence Award Winners

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

The annual PrecisionAg Institute Awards of Excellence were presented during the opening general session of the InfoAg Conference on Tuesday to highlight exceptional work and achievement in precision technology research, education, development and adoption.

infoag-14-award-1The 8th class of honorees include –

Educator/Researcher Award

Dr. Matthew Darr, Iowa State University – Dr. Darr holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering from The Ohio State University and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Kentucky Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. His research program focuses on the use of embedded systems and advanced instrumentation to enhance the efficiency, productivity, and control capacity of agricultural systems including those for food, fiber, and energy production

iinfoag-14-fenningCrop Adviser/Entrepreneur Award
Chris Fennig, MyFarms LLC – Fennig’s family has been raising corn and soybeans for four generations in Indiana and he and his father, Steve Fennig, had the idea for MyFarms back in 2010 after spending years studying how other supply chains share data.
Today they serve thousands of farmers and dozens of suppliers to make better decisions.

Farmer – Tony Alameda, San Juan Bautista, California – Unfortunately, Tony was unable to be in attendance to accept his award. He is a partner in Topflavor Farms with his father and two brothers where they grow more than 6,000 acres of vegetables each year throughout California and Arizona. Spinach comprises about 20 percent of the company’s production.

infoag-14-shearerThere were two Legacy award winners this year.

Dr. Scott Shearer, The Ohio State University – Shearer received formal training in agricultural engineering from The Ohio State University and was awarded B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 81, 83 and 86. Currently, he serves as Professor and Chair of the Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. During his 28-years in academia his research efforts have focused on spectral and spatial image processing for the extraction of features for classifying agricultural settings; and controls and methodologies for metering and distribution of inputs (e.g., seed, fertilizer and chemicals) in grain crop production systems. His current research activities include autonomous multi-vehicle field production systems and unmanned aerial systems for remote sensing.

infoag-14-joeFinally, Dr. Joe Tevis, Topcon Precision Agriculture – Joe received a PhD in Agricultural Engineering from Iowa State University in 1991 studying computational fluid mechanics. He began his career in precision agriculture as a Post Doctoral Research appointment at Texas A&M University studying the spatial distribution and management of agronomic variables in cotton. In 2011 Dr. Tevis was employed by Topcon Precision Agriculture as Director, Agronomic Products and Services. He also represents Topcon in two data standards groups, including AgGateway where he serves as chair of the SPADE project.

I had the chance to talk with Joe about where precision ag is today and where he hoped it would be, as well as the AgGateway SPADE project. Interview with Joe Tevis, Topcon

InfoAg 2014 Photo Album

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Agribusiness, Audio, InfoAg, Research, technology Cindy ZimmermanPrecisionAg Excellence Award Winners

Hick Chick Chat: Rolling into Sturgis

Leah Guffey Leave a Comment

11326519286_c9a07ae0bf_oI’m really excited to announce that Chuck and Cindy have offered me a bucket list opportunity to attend the 74th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

I’ll be joining the team from the Renewable Fuels Association and their quest to bring more awareness to the motorcycle community about E10 in their fill-ups. They will have their “free fuel happy hours” again this year and back by popular demand. I chatted with Robert White for this edition of my Hick Chick Chat to talk about the things to look forward to while visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota. Fueled with Pride 2014 Motorcycle Rally

In addition to the free fuel, RFA is also a sponsor at the Buffalo Chip Campground where many concerts, including Lynyrd Skynrd, Train, Florida Georgia Line, and the Zach Brown Band, along with many others, will take the stage and they are also sponsoring the annual Legends Ride which starts off in Deadwood and finishes back at the Buffalo Chip Campground. I’ll be posting stories, as time allows from Sturgis and after I return on Stay tuned as I’m so excited about this trip.

You can listen to my chat here: Hick Chick Chat with Robert White, RFA

Join in the conversation on Twitter and on Facebook

Audio, Ethanol, Events, Hick Chick Chat Leah GuffeyHick Chick Chat: Rolling into Sturgis

Find One of the World’s Largest Ag Tires at Farm Progress

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

SFT_1250_50_R_32_photo by Mitas_2014For the first time in the United States, Mitas will display 1250/50R32 SFT at booth 16S at the Farm Progress Show. It is one of the world’s largest agricultural tires. Weighing in at 1,224 lbs, this size of Super Flexion Tire (SFT) is also the heaviest tire in Mitas’ product portfolio.

“Mitas produces the most demanding and complex off-road tires. Our ability to manufacture one of the world’s largest agricultural tire proves it,” said Andrew Mabin, Mitas’ marketing and sales director. “Mitas is the European leader in combine tires sales having significant market share in tractor tires. With Mitas 1250/50R32 SFT we send the clear message that we will maintain and improve on this prominent position.”

The size of the tire is imposing. Weighing in at 1,224 lbs, this size of Super Flexion Tire (SFT) is also the heaviest tire in Mitas’ product portfolio. Mitas 1250/50R32 SFT 188A8/185B has a diameter of 80,3 inches and is capable of carrying loads of up to 35,280 lbs (6 mph cyclic). The volume of the tire is impressive with 135,000 cubic inches, which makes it one of the largest agriculture tires. Mitas 1250/50R32 SFT is designed for grain carts and combine harvesters and will be available on global markets later in 2014.

In October 2013, Mitas installed three additional curing presses at the plant in Charles City, reaching a total annual production capacity of 13,500 metric tons of tires a year. Mitas’ heaviest tire is being produced on a new prototype of the curing press. Because of the size of Mitas 1250/50R32 SFT it is the biggest curing press at any Mitas factory. The tires produced in Charles City are agricultural radial.

Agribusiness, Equipment, Farm Progress Show Jamie JohansenFind One of the World’s Largest Ag Tires at Farm Progress