Monsanto Completes $50 Million Plant Expansion

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Michael Gould, Iowa Department of economic development authority; Diana Broderson, Muscatine Mayor; Greg Mandsager, Muscatine city administrator; Shawn Schrader Muscatine plant manager; Lisa Safarian, Monsanto North American Lead Kim Reynolds, Iowa LT. Gov

The ribbon has been cut on Monsanto‘s $50 million dollar expansion in Muscatine, Iowa. The state-of-the-art facility expands the company’s formulations and packaging capacity for their dicamba-tolerant trait technology. The original plant has been around since 1961, producing products like Warrant, Degree, Harness, Roundup WeatherMax, and ExendiMax.

“Iowa is fortunate to have innovative companies like Monsanto that are making significant investments to create jobs in our communities while also providing farmers new tools to help increase productivity and reduce their environmental impact, said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. “The Muscatine plant expansion will help ensure farmers continue to have a variety of tools as they work to increase yields and improve profitability.”

“For more than 55 years we have been a proud part of this community and today is a celebration of the success and importance of modern agriculture in the great state of Iowa,” said Shawn Schrader, Monsanto Muscatine plant manager. “The work taking place at this site will play an important role in helping farmers produce better harvests and meet the global demand for food – putting Muscatine at the heart of one of the largest agricultural weed management in history.”

Agribusiness, Monsanto, Traits

Wisconsin Corn and Soybean SMART Farmer

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Nancy Kavazanjian is the second chairperson for the U.S. Farmers and Rancher Alliance and this week’s feature for the SMART Farmer Podcast.

Nancy farms with her husband Charlie Hammer in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin on land that has been in his family for 150 years. She grew up on Long Island, made a career as an agricultural journalist, has served as chairperson of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and currently serves on the board representing the United Soybean Board.

In this podcast, Nancy talks about the smart technology of GPS and GMOs on the farm: SMART Farmer Podcast with Nancy Kavazanjian

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Podcast, SMART Farmer

Farm Market iD Upgrades Software

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Farm Market iD’s FarmFocus software has been a leader in grower data for nearly 10 years. Users can now expect even more from the product with the introduction of several new features and capabilities, most notably the Grower Profile. The online database covers 2 million farmers and 300 million acres of crops with user friendly interfaces for mapping, charts, graphs, search, and export. The additional Grower Profile will offer field-level detail for the past 8 years, link the location of farms on a map, allow the users to view their individual records, groups or matched customers, view records by state, country, or profiles, and create comments and notes.

“We are very excited about the new FarmFocus with Grower Profile launch,”says CEO, Steve Rao. “This is a product release that has been carefully developed in consultation with our leading ag clients. It was designed to highlight sales and marketing opportunities from the vast amount of FMiD data to make it obvious and actionable. It provides agri-marketing teams, business intelligence groups and sales organizations the power to find farms and farmers, analyze their entire operation and have the current contact information for the farmers, all with a few simple key strokes.”

Watch a video about the new product on their website.

Agribusiness, Data, Software

Submit #RootedinAg Contest Entries Now

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If you’re thankful for your agriculture roots take time and celebrate the person who inspired you the most by entering the Syngenta #RootinAg challenge. Fill out the form, describing in 200 words or less the parent, grandparent, teacher or friend who inspired you and upload a photo or video that supports your entry before June 30, 2017.

Five finalists will receive a mini touch-screen tablet and the grand prize winner will take home a $500 gift card you can share with the person who inspired you most. The grand prize winner will also have the opportunity to pay it forward with a $1,000 donation to a local charity or civic organization. A panel of judges will chose the five finalists; online voting will help determine the grand prize winner.

Contest, Syngenta

AgriFlyNetwork Launches “Uber for Farmers” App

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In an industry with as much innovation as agriculture it’s a wonder when anything surprises, but AgriFlyNetwork has launched a rather unique idea. Their new app allows growers, retailers and crop experts to quickly and easily connect with ariel applicators through a platform they liken to ‘Uber for farmers.’ An assignment can be ‘pinned’ on a map, giving details of the job and then operators browse through, sending their profiles when they are interested. Then the growers chooses their preferred operator.

“In my career, I saw that there was a need for operators to reach employers more efficiently,” says Jeff Wagenknecht, Founder of AgriFlyNetwork, Inc. and industry veteran in aerial application. “Operators in the field tend to keep within their circle, and that can limit opportunities for work. AgriFly streamlines the process by allowing operators to grow their base by working outside of their usual radius, and by allowing growers to find reputable, qualified operators right in their backyard that they might not have found otherwise.”

AgriFly is offering a special deal for the first year of their app; growers and retailers using the program to find applicators can earn 15 cents per acre. Operators can get a discount on their subscription fee by signing up in the charter year as well.

Aerial Application, Agribusiness, Apps

1,000+ Members in FiberMax One Ton Club

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The Campbells are shown here (left to right) with Kerry Grossweiller, Bayer campaign manager; Allen Gent, Bayer strategic business lead; Rachel Walters, Bayer Southern region marketing manager; Jason Wistehuff, Bayer U.S. Product Manager for FiberMax and Stoneville; Tracy Campbell, winning grower, Floydada, Texas; Wesley Campbell, winning grower, Floydada, Texas; Stan Warren, Bayer sales representative; and Monty Christian, Bayer vice-president for U.S. cotton operations. (PRNewsfoto/Bayer)

Bayer is pround to announce that the FiberMax One Ton Club now boasts a total of 1,049 growers. In 2016, 391 cotton growers from across the nation were honored for their four-bale and higher yields. All qualifying members have surpassed their state average by 2 and a half times, but Johnny Lindley from Lakeview, Texas leads the club with 3,059 pounds per acre. Craig McCloy of Morse, Texas holds the honors for highest acreage winner. He averaged more than 2,000 lb/A on 2,046 acres.

“This club is solid evidence of the success growers enjoy when they combine their knowledge and skills with our science – cottonseed varieties and inputs focused on increasing a grower’s opportunity for profit,” says Jason Wistehuff, U.S. product manager for FiberMax cotton. “The consistent yields of FiberMax are demonstrated with the growers who come back year after year.”

Of the 391 members who qualified for the 2016 crop, six growers qualified in 10 years or more and nine percent qualified in five years or more. Consistent performance across the FiberMax brand is definitively proven by the range of varieties with which growers qualified for the One Ton Club over the last 12 years.

“Growers have qualified for the FiberMax One Ton Club with 38 different varieties,” Wistehuff says. “Each time we add varieties to the FiberMax lineup, we add growers who made high yields in fields planted to those varieties.”

Agribusiness, Award, Bayer CropScience, Cotton

Food, Conservation Groups Invest in Soil

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Some major consumer and conservation organizations are working together to help create better soil health and enhance farm sustainability. A $2 million investment from General Mills will provide tools and resources for The Nature Conservancy, Soil Health Institute, and Soil Health Partnership to use in working with farmers, landowners, and supply chain leaders to create healthier soil while providing food for the world.

“The needs for advancing soil health are far greater than any single organization can provide – public or private,” said Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “Soil health management systems can build resilience to drought as well as provide protection from other extreme weather events, such as flooding. In fact, when we increase soil organic carbon by a single percent – just 1 percent – we increase soil water-holding capacity by approximately 2,500 to 12,000 gallons per acre in many agricultural soils. These same soil health practices that are good for farmers can also improve water quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance pollinator and other wildlife habitat. Partnering is the way we can achieve national scale of such benefits.”

Targeted outcomes include creating measurements and standards for improving soil health, increase adoption of beneficial practices by absentee landlords, coordinating activities for maximum impact, and supporting diverse constituents in public policy solutions.

Ag Group, Conservation, Soil, Soil Health Partnership

GROWMARK Offers Advice to Protect Crops this Season

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It’s been a warmer, dryer winter than normal, says Tim Laatsch with the Agronomy Division at GROWMARK.  Combining that with the wet conditions many growers are experiencing this spring puts crops at risk.  The dry windows have provided opportunity to plant some early season corn, but corn isn’t the only thing growing in the field.

Winter annuals are also thriving, which causes concerns because their foliage provides a habitat for pests to lay their eggs. Of special concern is the cutworm, Laatsch tells us. Purdue has reported significant numbers of cutworms in the past three weeks so he suggests that growers be scouting that early corn very aggressively in the coming week or two.

Controlling the weeds is important, but two modern farming practices work against farmers when it comes to insect control. Vertical tillage requires a partner in the form of a strong herbicide and cover crops need a timely burn down, Laatsch cautions.

Disease control is anther area that growers should be attuned to this season, specifically when it comes to wheat. According to Laatsch, the flag leaf is critical and growers may need a second application at the vegetative state to protect its development and the yield potential of the plant. Scout, watch the weather, and be prepared, he advises.

Tim talks more about conditions this spring in this interview: Interview with Tim Laatsch, GROWMARK

Agribusiness, Audio, Growmark, Herbicides, Insect Control, Insecticide, Planting, Scouting

It’s Time for InfoAg

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It’s time again! Time to register for InfoAg in St. Louis, Missouri. This year the precision agriculture conference will be July 25-27th in its traditional location at Union Station. Novices or veterans will each find plenty of information during the three plenary sessions, five tracks of breakout sessions, exhibit time, and networking opportunities.

Online registration is now open, or a downloadable form is also available.  Full registration includes meals and refreshments as well as program materials.  Single-day registrations may also be purchased.  Hotel registrations should be made separately.  Check the website for more information.

Events, InfoAg

Mammoth Trading Presents Lesson in Water Markets

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Mammoth Trading’s President, Richael Young sat on a panel during the 2017 Water for Food Global Conference called, “Drought, Water Risk and the Context for Water Markets.” Drought risk management was positioned as a focal point as panelists discussed the water transaction outlook, water policy trends and the role of public versus private investment in water markets.

Mammoth Trading develops and operates market-based solutions to water resource challenges. Many places have active water markets but they are often decentralized and informal. Richael said they come in and help to reduce search and transaction costs for individuals.

“Mammoth Trading creates Smart Markets or electronic clearing houses that help automate the process of matching individuals who are interested in buying and selling water rights and automating the process of regulatory compliance,” Richael said.

There are a number of transactions people can make around water including: water leases, permanent transactions, pooling, rotational agreements, inter-annual water exchanges, etc. During the panel, Richael shared how farmers have been utilizing water markets over decades and how we are just shedding light on the extent of those occurrences.

“Water markets have emerged informally as a tool for farmers and communities to share water resources. If you can give communities the tools to move water resources to when and where they are needed, a wealth of risk management is provided,” Richael said.

The future of water rights was also discussed. Richael said more and more we are trending towards ways to give individuals the flexibility to use their water resources to best fit their needs. “We are also looking at ways to develop water markets that work well for communities. It’s not about taking water from one basin and exporting it to another. This is about how we can use water locally in a way that works best for that community.”

Listen to Jamie’s complete chat with Richael to learn more about the water market history, some misconceptions and more on the future: Interview with Richael Young, Mammoth Trading

View and download photos from the event here: 2017 Water for Food Global Conference Photos

Ag Group, Audio, water