GROWMARK Youth Programs Support 4-H and FFA

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It’s National Cooperative Month, it’s also National 4-H Week, and it is the month that National FFA holds its huge annual meeting. In celebration of all that, we talked with Karen Jones, GROWMARK Youth and Young Producer Specialist, about how this agricultural cooperative supports the young people involved in 4H and FFA.

“GROWMARK has been a longtime financial supporter of both the FFA and 4H organizations,” said Jones. “We believe that the members of those groups may be our future employees or future co-op members, and definitely future leaders in both arenas.”

One program that GROWMARK has had in place for 26 years now is the annual essay contest for FFA members in states served by the cooperative. “We’re excited because we added Missouri two years ago and we added Ohio this year, so now we are up to five states,” said Jones. The theme for the 2019 contest just announced is “What does the future of agriculture look like to you, and what skills will you need to play a part in it?”

Among the ways GROWMARK supports 4-H is the Pollinator Garden Program. “We provide pollinator seed and some education about the importance of pollinators and the students do a community service project through their club to plant and maintain these plots,” said Jones.

Learn more about GROWMARK’s youth commitment in this interview. Interview with Karen Jones, GROWMARK

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FMC Georgia Field Day Spotlights Lucento for Peanuts

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FMC Agricultural Solutions held a field day at its Sparks, GA research station last week, hosted by the FMC technical service team with a plot tour, presentations and certification training.

In particular, the FMC technical service team showcased new Lucento™ fungicide for the 2019 season, pending EPA approval. The new fungicide, which is expected to be approved by the end of the year, can be used on a variety of crops but since the field day was being held in peanut country, that was a big focus.

“We’ve been known as mainly a Midwest company, for corn and soybean growers,” said FMC Regional Technical Service Manager Bruce Stripling. “Now, we’re focusing on that Southeast grower that has peanuts, especially in a state like Georgia.”

Stripling says Lucento offers peanut growers flexibility. “He’s not going to be tied to one company from the standpoint of what he can spray on his peanuts,” he added. “We’ve got a product that is shining from the standpoint of leaf spot control and soil borne control for Southern white mold.”

Learn more about Lucento for peanut growers here: Bruce Stripling, Regional Technical Service Manager, FMC

2018 FMC Georgia Field Day Photo Album

Lucento fungicide is not registered for sale or use in the United States. No offer for sale, sale or use of this product is permitted prior to issuance of the required EPA and state registrations.

AgWired Precision, Audio, FMC, Fungicide, Peanuts

How BASF Helps Clothing Brands Understand Cotton

carrie muehling

Major clothing brand representatives learn more about cotton from BASF

Clothing brand representatives learned more about how cotton is grown during a recent BASF Cotton Production Field Day in Lubbock, Texas. Part of the program included information about e3™ cotton, an effort to produce economically sustainable cotton that’s good for the environment.

“The idea of the product is that it’s a sustainable cotton and it’s a continual improvement commitment by the farmers that decide to grow it,” said Andrew Olah, CEO of Olah, Inc. “And for the brands that want to get involved with it, they can associate with the farmers in the process that is actually good for the environment.”

Representatives from major clothing brands including Ralph Lauren, Target, Wrangler Jeans and JCPenney had questions for farmers and BASF representatives about the process of cotton production.

“A big problem in the clothing business and in consumer apparel, in general, these days, is disinformation,” said Bob Antoshak, Managing Director at Olah, Inc. “The amount of smoke and spin that’s out there in the trade and in the consumer world is so extensive that events like this help us to show factually what the cotton is all about, how its grown, but more importantly, who is doing the growing. It’s a chance for these buyers to actually meet farmers, and that’s a really critical element of this program.”

The program is just as important to cotton producers, said Malin Westfall, U.S. Cotton Lead for BASF.

“We’re hosting a group of clothing brands, which are far removed from the farmer, because they want to gain a better understanding of what farmers do. How they are raising cotton, what kind of management practices they use, because it’s important to them and their consumers,” said Westfall.

Westfall said defining sustainability is becoming more and more important throughout the production chain. And while that’s a conversation that typically focuses on food, it’s just as important when it comes to fiber.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Andrew and Robert here: Interview with Robert Antoshak and Andrew Olah of Olah, Inc.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Malin here: Interview with Malin Westfall, US Cotton Lead

2018 BASF Cotton Production Field Day Photo Album

AgWired Precision, Audio, BASF, Cotton, sustainability

BASF Arkansas Field Day

cindy zimmerman

BASF held a field day last week in Marion, Arkansas to meet with groups of retailer staff and talk about the what the new BASF portfolio has to offer, particularly for soybeans (Credenz) and cotton (Stoneville). There was limited in-field opportunities for the day due to rain, but there was still a lot to share.

BASF Cottonseed Marketing Manager Rachel Walters says the field days give them an offer to share their story and this year they have even more to discuss with the acquisition of Bayer assets such as Stoneville. “It’s the first time that some customers are coming in and seeing the BASF logo on the tents, the signs and even on the bags,” she said.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Rachel here:
Interview with Rachel Walters, BASF

Lance Rochelle, regional seed lead, talked about some of the new cotton varieties for this year.
Interview with Lance Rochelle, BASF

William Johnson, BASF Agricultural Solutions, gave a presentation on Credenz soybeans at the field day. Listen to that here and watch it below:
Presentation by William Johnson on soybeans, BASF

2018 BASF Field Day – Marion, AR Photo Album

AgWired Precision, Audio, BASF, Cotton, Soybean, Video

Gene Editing is Disruptive Innovation for Agriculture

cindy zimmerman

A disruptive innovation is one that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market-leading firms, products, and alliances. That definition fits the innovation of gene editing for agriculture and why Bayer included it in a series of Innovation Talks at the recent Future of Farming Dialogue.

Dr. Tom Adams is CEO of Pairwise, a company focused on using gene editing and leveraging natural diversity in agricultural crops to address global food challenges. “We have a relationship with Bayer to study row crops, but we’re also very interested in bringing the technology to consumer crops, making healthy food more available, convenient and sustainable,” said Adams during an interview after his presentation.

“It’s a technology that really does allow very specific changes to be made in crops in a way that you can’t do with breeding,” he added. “I think it can create a change in how (plant) breeding is done.”

Learn more about the disruptive potential of gene editing in Dr. Adams’ brief presentation and interview.
Tom Adams, Pairwise CEO, presentation

Interview with Tom Adams, Pairwise CEO

Bayer Future of Farming Dialogue 2018 Photo Album

AgWired Precision, Audio, Bayer, Gene Editing, Plant Breeding, Precision Agriculture

MFA Incorporated and Adapt-N Expand Partnership

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MFA Incorporated has announced an expanded partnership between its Precision Advantage, Crop-Trak and Nutri-Track service platforms and the Adapt-N nitrogen recommendations and monitoring system, operated by Agronomic Technology Corp and owned by Yara International.

Thad Becker, MFA Incorporated Precision Agronomy Manager, says MFA growers will benefit from the ability to leverage field data already available within the MFA system to generate unbiased and scientifically validated in-season, variable-rate nitrogen recommendations.

“We strive to serve our members with programs that improve their farms,” said Becker. “We accomplish this by providing nutrient recommendations tailored to each farmer’s unique growing conditions through MFA’s Nutri-Track system along with critical in-season field observations by Crop-Trak consultants and our overall commitment to environmental stewardship. Everything we do has sound agronomy behind it.”

Adapt-N combines advanced crop modeling with soil-type information, field management data and weather to establish real-time nitrogen recommendations to achieve maximum yield for each field.

“The increase in MFA’s use of Adapt-N over the past several years, and the company’s commitment to expanding availability of the technology across its territory is further evidence of MFA’s commitment to driving profitable sustainability for its growers,” said Steve Sibulkin, who leads the Adapt-N solution team at Yara. “This is completely aligned with our aspiration to bring timely recommendations to farmers that help them maximize yield while minimizing environmental impact.”

Learn more about Adapt-N

agronomy, AgWired Precision, MFA, Nitrogen, Precision Agriculture

Precision Ag Bytes 9/26

carrie muehling

  • AgLaunch Initiative announced the Innova $100,000 Row Crop Challenge powered by AgLaunch as part of their expanded partnership with Farm Journal Media to be held at the 2018 Farm Journal AgTech Expo, December 3-5, in Indianapolis.
  • Researchers at UW–Madison, Iowa State University and the Rodale Institute are embarking on a new project to assess current technologies that could be used in no-till organic systems and determine which practices will help farmers protect soil health in their fields. The project is funded through a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that totals $2.2 million, including matching funds.
  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue praised the Department of Justice’s decision to request a rehearing of a pesticide case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. DOJ has asked for a panel rehearing and a rehearing en banc in a case in which the court directed the Environmental Protection Agency to ban chlorpyrifos, a common and useful pesticide, within 60 days.
  • Semtech Corporation announced that Sensoterra, offering low-cost, wireless solutions for real time soil moisture measurement for commercial farms, leveraged Semtech’s LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) and Senet’s LoRaWAN-based network into its smart agriculture systems to reduce up to 30% of water usage in commercial farms including potato and almond orchards.
  • Nutrien Ltd. announced that Jochen Tilk will be stepping down as Executive Chair and as a director of the Company, effective September 30, 2018 to pursue other opportunities.
AgWired Precision, Precision Ag Bytes

Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN Debuts Truterra Insights Engine

carrie muehling

Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN plans to introduce its interactive on-farm digital platform called the Truterra™ Insights Engine later this year. The platform’s goal is to help farmers with stewardship goals and to help food companies measure sustainability progress.

“Truterra holds tremendous potential to harness stewardship to drive value by providing data-driven insights from farm-to-fork,” said Matt Carstens, senior vice president of Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN. “Using the Truterra Insights Engine, farmers and food companies will have the ability to establish and report clear metrics, create customized stewardship strategies that meet farmers where they are in their sustainability journey, and use a common language for on-farm stewardship that holds meaning and value. It’s a major step forward in supporting food system sustainability that starts on the farm.”

The Truterra Insights Engine aims to provide tangible conservation options and benefits customized to every business by leveraging agronomic expertise and technical capabilities from a variety of contributors to enhance the value of stewardship across the supply chain.

Such collaborations include USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and integration of the sustainability metrics of Field to Market’s Fieldprint® Platform. The Insights Engine even ties into major private-sector commitments such as Walmart’s Project Gigaton.

For farmers and agricultural retailers, the Truterra Insights Engine will utilize soil, weather, economic, and farm management data to create customized reports showcasing the potential impacts of various stewardship practices – providing field-by-field insights, tracking against both economic performance and conservation practices. Together, the economic and environmental results will facilitate the long-term productivity and success of our farmers and food system.

A key differentiator for this platform from other data tools is its design to be of value for farmers first and foremost. It was created by a farmer-owned cooperative, to be used by farmers, agricultural retailers, and agricultural experts to improve on-farm economic and natural resource stewardship. The benefits of the platform span the food value chain, but it was built to start with the farmer and deliver value back to the farm. The Truterra Insights Engine will measure and track stewardship progress over time. In addition to helping farmers make the right choices for their business, these expanded metrics will help food companies achieve their sustainability goals – leading the industry toward a more sustainable food system.

To learn more about Truterra and see the Truterra Insights Engine in action, visit

AgWired Precision, sustainability

Study Shows Ag Retailers Face Cover Crop Challenges

carrie muehling

A new study shows growing demand for cover crops, but agricultural retailers continue to face challenges when it comes to expanding that market.

The study, conducted by Datu Research, LLC, found 89 percent of ag retailers have offered cover crops and services in the past two years to farmers who use them to anchor the soil between growing seasons. The practice has shown benefits in the areas of soil erosion, fertility, water retention, weed and pest control.

“Ag retailers and Certified Crop Advisers are a trusted go-to source for farmers,” said Dr. Angel Cruz, lead author of the study. “We wanted to understand their role in promoting cover crops and see what it would take to expand that role.”

The survey, developed in cooperation with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), was distributed to ARA members and Certified Crop Advisers in the Midwest. Many respondents reported offering their customers cover crop advisory services (83%), selling cover crop seed (56%) and cover crop termination services (44%).

Still, these products and services account for less than five percent of total revenue, the study found. Many respondents described mutually reinforcing challenges: a lack of customer demand, insufficient evidence of cover crop benefits in their region, and “uncertain or negative profitability.”

Despite the low revenue they generate, cover crop services were cited by 60 percent of respondents as a way “to diversify your product and service offerings.” Respondents also cited “to stay ahead of the competition” (40%), and “to grow your customer base” (39%) as justification for incorporating cover crop products into their business model.

“We apparently have a long way to go,” said Cruz. “These results will be useful in developing a business case for ag retailers to integrate cover crops.”

The study recommends engaging state agribusiness associations, along with increased collaboration between agricultural retailers and agricultural conservation professionals such as local soil and water conservation districts and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Even more important, to increase customer demand will likely require providing farmers more solid answers on the economics of cover crops and how to manage them for local conditions.

“Ag retailers have always worked to assist their farmer customers in conservation practice implementation,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “The adoption of cover crops will continue at a slower rate until farmers can see the true value in the practice. Our retailer members appreciate the survey results and any subsequent findings to work with their customers in making the best decisions for their operations and the environment.”

ARA will launch its Sustainability Programming for Agricultural Retailers and CCAs (SPARC) initiative, which includes the utilization of cover crops and other conservation practices, at its upcoming Conference and Expo on Thursday, November 29. For more information, please visit

AgWired Precision, ARA, Cover Crops

Bayer Crop Science President Talks Glyphosate

cindy zimmerman

Glyphosate was on the table as U.S. agricultural journalists attending the Bayer Future of Farming event in Germany had the chance to sit down with Liam Condon, Bayer AG Board of Management member and Crop Science division president.

It was the very end of a very long day and Condon was able to joke about the jury verdict that came out a week before Day One of the new company formed with the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer. Comparing August 21 to opening up gifts on Christmas, Condon said the verdict was a “gift they hadn’t asked for” like a sweater they really don’t want to wear, but now they just have to deal with it.

“Our position is unequivocal” regarding the safety of glyphosate, said Condon. “Any product we sell has got to be safe.”

Moving forward, Condon says he is just excited about the potential of the new company.

Listen to Condon’s comments here: Interview with Bayer President Crop Science Liam Condon

Bayer Future of Farming Dialogue 2018 Photo Album

AgWired Precision, Audio, Bayer, Crop Protection