American Ethanol Launches NASCAR Sweepstakes

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American Ethanol SweepstakesNASCAR will soon surpass 10 million miles of racing on American Ethanol E15 blended fuel.  This year will also mark the expansion of E15 availability at fuel pumps across the nation.  To celebrate both of these milestones, American Ethanol is holding a sweepstakes contest to send two lucky winners to the ultimate NASCAR experience.

American Ethanol and NASCAR have been a great platform for corn growers.  Now, with the addition of E15 pumps there will be an increased opportunity to explain the myths related to ethanol’s safety while helping consumers live greener lifestyles.

The “We’ve Got the Power” sweepstakes is open to NASCAR fans who enlist in No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet driver Austin Dillon’s Green Army. Fans who share their American Ethanol-related experiences on Facebook with Austin Dillon will qualify for a chance to win an ultimate NASCAR fan experience at a Sprint Cup race in October of this year.

For engine technicians, auto dealers and fuel retailer professionals, American Ethanol has created the “Engine Insiders Talk Shop” sweepstakes to learn how the green power and performance of home grown E15 fuel works for cars on the road today. To participate, qualified individuals must register and participate in an American Ethanol event or audio conference. In addition to being entered into the sweepstakes to win an honorary NASCAR crew chief experience, two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded at each event and audio conference to participants.

For sweepstake details, visit

Corn, Energy, environment, Ethanol

Growers Selling Soybeans, Says Agri-Pulse Poll

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agripulse Soybeans won’t be sitting in the bin much longer, says a new survey by Agri-Pulse.  The $2 per bushel rise in market prices has Iowa producers getting rid of last year’s inventory.

“Thirty-seven percent of respondents said a price of $10.25 would compel them to sell their 2015 crop while another 12 percent said $10.75,” Wyant said. “Ten percent said a price of $11-11.25 would get them to act. About 40 percent of the farmers surveyed preferred not to disclose a price.”

Forty-five percent of 126 farmers surveyed this month by Agri-Pulse said they still have a portion of last year’s soybean crop to sell. When asked what percent of their 2016 crop has been presold, 48 percent said 10 percent or less while another 43 percent said between 10 and 50 percent. Just 8 percent admitted to preselling more than 50 percent of the crop currently being planted.

Today’s prices, however, aren’t enough to convince farmers of a strengthened economy moving forward.  Survey results also showed growers are planning to “tighten their belts” for the third year in a row.  All of the respondents planned to reduce expenses in 2016 and many plan reductions in several areas.  Sixty-three percent expect to reduce purchases of farm equipment, 36 percent will cut back on fertilizer costs, and 28 percent will cut seed expenses, primarily by switching to a cheaper seed variety.

“While most farmers are eternal optimists, a combination of factors involving lower commodity prices, high cash rents and an increasing regulatory burden are still testing our outlook for the remainder of this year and next,” said Iowa Soybean Association President Wayne Fredericks. “Even with a slight uptick in market prices, high input prices remain, squeezing most budgets and making it difficult to avoid red ink.”

A majority of growers (nearly two thirds) expect farmland prices to decline, while cash rent rates haven’t moved.  Not quite half of the survey participants said their landlord were moderately receptive to rent reductions, but 19 percent reported that they are unable to reduce rent payments and 15 percent were unwilling to even try.  Sixty-seven percent of the farmers in the poll said they pay cash for rented farmland.  As optimists, 55 percent of the participants expect rental rates to drop in the future, explaining, perhaps, the 60 percent of growers who are holding on to rented ground despite prices.

The survey also asked growers which national issue was of most concern to them.  Thirty-two percent chose “reducing regulatory burdens, like the Waters of the U.S. rule.”  Twenty one precent were most concerned about the Renewable Fuel Standards and 11 percent selected keeping farm bill safety net programs in place.

The presidential election is also on the radar of growers, with about one third choosing to support Trump, 22 percent wished they could back Kasich and 14 percent miss Cruz.  Eleven percent of respondents said they would be voting for Hillary Clinton; only 2 percent were supporting Sanders.

Markets, Soybeans

PrecisionAg Media Hosts first Conference

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PreicisonAg Vision ConferencePrecisionAg® Media will be hosting their first PrecisionAg® Vision Conference on October 18-20 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Highlights include expert speakers, including Rabobank, Ernst & Young, Intel and IOT Impact Labs, among others.  A conference agenda is available on the website.

The conference hopes to bring together the true decision makers from across the industry to learn how we can work together and make the most of opportunities.  “Our goal is for attendees to come away from this conference energized about the technologies and opportunities available in the precision agriculture field,” says Paul Schrimpf, Executive Editor.

If you are an executive or manager at an inside-at stakeholder (such as government, university, financial sector, or insurance agent), an agriculture supply partner, advanced precision farming enterprise, or outside-ag stakeholder (investor, venture capital organization, tech organization) then this conference is a must.  You’ll have the opportunity to learn how technology will help agriculture manufacturers achieve more efficiency and offer better customer service, how precision ag is reshaping crop production, better understand issues like water scarcity and fertilizer regulations, and much more.

Register now to attend this premier event.

Agribusiness, Events

Satellite Imagery Webinar Offered by Planet Labs

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planet labsPlanet Labs invites you to joint the second webinar in their series covering satellite imagery.  This second session, “From Pixels to Information: Supporting Field Management Across the Growing Season,” will be held on June 1st at 10 am EST and June 2st at 10 am PST.  The program will last 45 minutes and will be hosted by Ryan Schacht, Account Executive, and Erik Zillmann, Earth Observation Expert- Agriculture.

The webinar will help growers understand how the information collected from satellite imagery can help them better understand field dynamics across the season, identify issues early and make better management decisions.   If you would like to use satellite imagery to help better understand how to optimize yields and manage production costs, register for the 10 am EST or 10 am PST now.

Aerial Imagery, Agribusiness, Farm Management, Satellite, webinar

NCGA Joins Fight for the Nation’s Inland Waterways

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NCGA-Logo-3The National Corn Growers Association participated in Infrastructure Week, joining many other groups to point out the importance of the nation’s inland waterways. More than 60 percent of U.S. grain exports are moved by barge, making waterways of vital importance to agriculture. Farmers depend on the system to deliver crops to the global marketplace, and businesses rely on the rivers to bring products like fertilizer to the farm.

The current system, however, is aging and infrastructure related delays increase, making it difficult for farmers to meet timely demands for their product. Sixty percent of the 12,000 miles of the waterways in the heartland have outlived their 50 year economic design period. A large portion of the locks and dams in the U.S. were built in the 1920s and 1930s and are still being used today.

The good news is that infrastructure investment for our aging locks and dams offers a great return: Every $1 invested in our inland waterway system returns $10 to our Nation’s economy. And proper investment means sustaining 541,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in new job income annually.

NCGA reminds us that waterways are the safest, most environmentally friendly form of transportation. They have the best fuel efficiency record, relieve highway congestions and can increase productivity with higher capacity.

Ag Group, NCGA, transportation, water

Pacific Ag Expands

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Pacific AgPacific Ag, the nation’s largest crop residue supply chain, is expanding with a new field office near Fargo, North Dakota.  The area has seen an increased demand for wheat straw reside for use in the diary, beef, mushroom and erosion control industries, so the company has hired local farmers and wheat straw providers, Tom and Stephanie Borgen as managers.  They will be developing partnerships with other growers to match supply with demand.

“In Pacific Ag, Stephanie and I saw a company that shares our vision for how sustainable residue harvesting can help farmers add to their bottom line,” said Tom Borgen. “It’s a great chance for us to grow personally and professionally by working with a world class management team. Together we can more quickly and more widely expand the market for wheat straw by providing customers a professionally-managed supply chain that offers large-scale, consolidated supply, precise quality control and stable, competitive pricing.”

Pacific Ag focuses on harvest reside left behind combines.  They have nearly 20 years experience and expertise in preserving soil health while reducing ash and foreign matter in the bale.  They have trusted relationships with growers in California, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Iowa and North Carolina.

“Tom and Stephanie are a great addition to the expanding Pacific Ag team,” said Bill Levy, founder and CEO of Pacific Ag. “They have a strong reputation for integrity, quality and service among both growers and customers, and they will play a key role in establishing and managing our presence in the region. We look forward to leveraging our national supply chain system to increase opportunities for both growers and customers in the Upper Midwest.”

Agribusiness, wheat

ABM Files Patent on New Trichoderma Strain

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ABMAdvanced Biological Marketing (ABM) has filed an application with US patent office for a Trichoderma strain that may mean new things for agriculture.  ABM currently uses other Trichoderma strains in their ag products, including the SabrEx line.

This new strain is uniquely versatile in its capabilities and provides new and enhanced properties to ABM’s previously patented Trichoderma products.

The benefits of this new Trichoderma strain are an increase in one or more beneficial plant attributes. These attributes include plant growth, yield, root development, resistance to abiotic stresses, photosynthetic efficiency, reduction of foliar disease, controlling nematodes, inducing systemic changes in plant gene expression and protecting planted seeds from soil-borne pathogens.

“This new Trichoderma strain is showing very promising results,” said Dan Custis, ABM CEO. “We’ll need to do more testing in the field and get our registrations in place, but we anticipate a line of products soon. I complement our research and development team for their hard work and the discovery platforms they have put in place.”

You can learn more at

Agribusiness, Research, Traits

Precision Ag Bytes

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  • precision bytesCompass Minerals is welcoming Vatren Jurin on board to expand the company’s specialty liquid micronutrient products for agriculture. Jurin is a plant nutrition veteran, with more than 25 years of experience in the industry.
  • The 19th edition of Farm Estate and Business Planning by Dr. Neil Harl is now available in print or pdf format.  The 510 page book offers guidance to make the most of the state and federal tax laws and assure the most efficient transfer to the next generation.
Precision Ag Bytes

Ag Technology Plows Ahead

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Dr. Robert Hill

Dr. Robert Hill

Market prices and a generally “down” farm economy have most farmers tucking away the checkbook, expect, it seems, when it comes to new technologies.  In a recent report from Caledonia Solutions, a research and consulting firm in Minneapolis, as many as 1 out of every 4 large farmers are actually planning to increase spending on data and equipment technology.

Agriculture technology really began with the adoption of biotech seed, followed by the widespread use of GPS steering.  “The first wave was mainly driven by yield advantages, and the second wave mainly by cost savings,” says Dr. Robert Hill, principal of Caledonia Solutions. “In this third wave, it looks like the farm operators are getting a strong dose of both benefits.”

“We are in the early stages of the third wave, which is the explosion of digital farming and big data utilization in the farming industry in the U.S.”, continues Hill. “The benefits are powerful enough to keep this adoption moving forward at a strong clip, even in the currently depressed state of the farm economy. We are seeing disruptive technologies coming to the growers. An example is Farmers Business Network. They are challenging the traditional information networks and farm input supply channels in the ag industry. This may force a structural shift in the industry.”

The study of large farm operators from Caledonia Solutions details current adoption rates and future growth projections for 34 separate equipment and data technologies.  According to the study, the total number of new equipment and data technologies deployed by a grower is going to more than double over a 6-year period.

Says Hill, “Farmers aren’t waiting to make moves for improving their operations.”

Agribusiness, technology

EPA Approves Varisto Herbicide from BASF

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BASF-logoThe EPA has given the go-ahead to BASF‘s Varisto herbicide.  The product may be used on clover grown for seed, dry beans, dry peas, English peas, lima beans (succulent), snap beans and soybeans.  The herbicide offers a wide spectrum of broadleaf and grass weed control.

Varisto herbicide offers multiple sites of action for excellent weed control and resistance management in a convenient pre-mix formulation with low crop response,” said Christa Ellers-Kirk, Technical Market Manager, BASF. “The introduction of Varisto herbicide to the market gives growers best-in-class weed control.”

A 2013 University of Idaho research trial showed that Varisto herbicide was 98 percent effective in controlling hairy nightshade, 96 percent effective in controlling redroot pigweed, 90 percent effective in controlling common lamb’s quarters and 84 percent effective in controlling green foxtail. Results were measured 29 days after treatment.

In that same research trial, a post-emergence application of Varisto herbicide preceded by a pre-emergence application of Outlook® herbicide was 99 percent effective in controlling hairy nightshade and redroot pigweed, and 98 percent effective in controlling green foxtail and common lamb’s quarters.

Varisto is recommended as part of a comprehensive weed management program that also includes Prowl herbicide or Outlook herbicide applied at pre-emergence, with Varisto applied at post-ermergence.

You can learn more about the product at

Agribusiness, BASF, EPA, Herbicides, Weed control