Precision Ag Bytes 2/13

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  • Marrone Bio Innovations Inc., a leading developer of biological crop protection and plant health solutions, is offering a pair of products – Haven® for Plant Health and Regalia® Biofungicide – to serve California almond growers as market demand for almonds continues to boom around the globe.
  • Valent U.S.A. LLC announced the launch of MycoApply® EndoPrime® SC – a liquid formulation of the company’s leading soil enhancement product, MycoApply EndoPrime. Applied in-furrow, MycoApply EndoPrime SC contains four unique species of mycorrhizal fungi that help improve soil health, nutrient efficiency, drought tolerance and maximize yield potential throughout the season.
  • January 2019 saw increases in U.S. sales of self-propelled combines and 4-wheel-drive tractors as well as total U.S. 2-wheel-drive tractor sales compared to January last year, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. 4-wheel-drive tractor sales gained 38.2 percent in January compared to last year and U.S. January self-propelled combine sales grew 14.5 percent. View the full report here.
  • Results are in for World Ag Expo’s® Top-10 New Products Competition, sponsored by Bank of America. The winners will be showcased February 12-14, 2019, during the World Ag Expo® in Tulare, California.
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National Cotton Council Announces Leaders, Intentions

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The National Cotton Council (NCC) named its leaders for 2019 and also shared planting intentions for the coming growing season at the group’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

The group announced results of its 38th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey, which show that U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 14.5 million cotton acres this spring. That number is up 2.9 percent from USDA’s December 2018 estimate.

Mike Tate of Huntsville, Ala., will serve as NCC chair and Kent Fountain of Surrency, Ga., will be vice chair for 2019.

Elected as NCC vice presidents are Kirk Gilkey, ginner, Corcoran, Calif., and Ron Harkey, warehouser, Lubbock, Texas. Re-elected as vice presidents are: Robert Lacy, Jr, cottonseed processor, and Kevin Brinkley, marketing cooperative executive, both from Lubbock, Texas; Joe Nicosia, merchant, Cordova, Tenn.; and David Hastings, textile manufacturer, Mauldin, South Carolina. Re-elected as secretary-treasurer is Barry Evans, a producer from Kress, Texas.

Elected to the NCC Board during segment caucuses were: Producers – Neal Isbell, Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Patrick Johnson, Tunica, Miss.; Shawn Holladay, Lubbock, Texas; Doyle Schniers, San Angelo, Texas; and Mark McKean, Riverdale, California. Ginners – Wesley Morgan, New London, N.C.; Curtis Stewart, Spade, Texas; George LaCour, Morganza, La.; Tom Pires, Riverdale, Calif.; and Drake Perrow, Cameron, South Carolina. Warehousers – Joe Tillman, Memphis, Tenn.; Jay Cowart, Altus, Okla.; Coalter Paxton, Wilson, N.C.; Joe Cain, Bakersfield, Calif., and Robert Swize, Corpus Christi, Texas. Merchants – Jordan Lea, Greenville, S.C.; Raymond Faus, Plano, Texas; William Barksdale and Jeff Johnson, both of Cordova, Tenn.; and Bobby Walton, Memphis, Tennessee. Cottonseed – Paul Scruggs, Overland Park, Kan.; Sammy Wright, Tifton, Ga.; Austin Rose, Altus, Okla.; and John Chisum and Jerrod Drinnon, both of Lubbock, Texas. Cooperatives – Keith Lucas, Lubbock, Texas; Hank Reichle, Greenwood, Miss.; Paul Bush, Glendale, Ariz.; Wayne Boseman, Garner, N.C.; and Reid Nichols, Altus, Oklahoma. Manufacturers – Anderson Warlick and James Martin, both of Gastonia, N.C.; William Bowen , Inman, S.C.; Robin Perkins, Sanford, N.C.; and Owen Hodges, Columbus, Georgia.

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Ag Retailers Have Busy Week on the Hill

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The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) held its annual Board of Directors and Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C. this past week, which included an intense day of visits with Congressional representatives.

ARA also presented its Legislator of the Year award to members of Congress who champion legislation important to the agricultural retail industry and this year the organization recognized Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) with its 2018 Legislator of the Year award. Sen. Wicker is pictured here receiving his award from ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock (left) and chairman Troy Johnson of Wilbur-Ellis.

“We are pleased to honor two very deserving Senators this year with our Legislator of the Year award,” said Coppock. “We are grateful for their dedication and continued support of the agriculture industry.”

Senator Wicker was honored for his support on important industry issues, such as promoting precision agriculture and rural broadband deployment. Sen. Grassley was recognized for his leadership as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. A longtime supporter of agriculture and agriculture retail, this is the second time Sen. Grassley has been honored as ARA Legislator of the Year.

The big news of the week for ARA was the formalizing of an alliance between ARA, The Fertilizer Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enhance workplace and community safety. “Safety is much larger than one person or one company,” said Coppock. “Safety also means being a good steward – a good steward of the land, business, employees, and the communities in which we operate. This alliance is a positive step for ARA, TFI, and OSHA to work together on an issue that is top of mind for ag retailers.”

Coppock talks about the new alliance and ARA’s week on the Hill in this interview.

Interview with Daren Coppock, ARA CEO

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USDA Tracking Farm Bill Implementation

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Now that the federal government is back at work, USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky says they are moving as quickly as possible to implement the new farm bill.

During a Farm Foundation Forum on the realities of implementing the 2018 farm bill, Censky said USDA is using a “Fitbit” type of approach to tracking goals. “We have our own ‘FBit’ we call a Farm Bit at USDA and it’s a Farm Bill Implementation tracker,” said Censky.

Censky chairs USDA’s Farm Bill Implementation Working Group that includes representation from each of the agency’s mission areas. “We have asked all of our agency’s to fill out this ‘FarmBit,’” said Censky. “We look forward to sharing more details of what the timelines are going to be in the next few weeks.”

The Farm Foundation Forum also comments from Senate Agriculture Committee chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) and a panel with Barry Flinchbaugh, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University; Tara Smith, Vice President of Federal Affairs with Michael Torrey Associates; and Alan Bjerga, Senior Vice President of Communications with the National Milk Producers Federation.

Listen to Censky’s comments here:
USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky at Farm Foundation Forum

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Precision Ag Bytes 2/6

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  • UPL Limited announced the completion of its acquisition of Arysta LifeScience Inc. from Platform Specialty Products for $4.2 billion.
  • Airbus launched an innovative service called Verde that delivers detailed crop analytics from satellite imagery, perfectly clipped to the field and accurately de-clouded. Served as plug and play API to any precision agriculture portal, Verde provides reliable and quantified measures of the vegetation, consistent over time and space, whatever the satellite used.
  • The National Conservation Foundation, in partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts, launched the Next Generation Leadership Institute, a program to develop opportunities for the next generation of conservation leaders.
  • The Farm Services Agency (FSA) and the Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) collaborated to quantify the effectiveness of saturated buffers to reduce nutrient loading from tile drainage waters. The full research report and videos pertaining to saturated buffer systems can be viewed here at www.saturatedbufferstrips.com.
  • The National Association of Conservation Districts signed a memorandum of understanding with Ducks Unlimited, Inc. during the organization’s 73rd Annual Meeting. The MOU between NACD and DU establishes a formal commitment between both organizations to enhance the productivity of wildlife habitats on private lands.
  • After a record-breaking 251 startups from 53 countries applied to be part of The Pearse Lyons Accelerator, the class of 2019 has been selected to work with Alltech and Dogpatch Labs to accelerate their business development. The class of ten startups focus on all aspects of agriculture, including animal welfare, meat quality, crop health and increased productivity.
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Barn Sentry Launches at Develop with Deere

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John Deere dealers attending the Develop with Deere Conference in Chicago were among the first to see a new barn monitoring system with the launch of Barn Sentry from New Boundary Technologies and Mel Foster Company.

The product is designed especially for farmers with hog, turkey and chicken operations and it has the ability to send data from New Boundary’s RemoteAware service into the John Deere Operation Center. Farmers can then see alerts and data with the Operation Center or in a mobile app.

“We believe the John Deere dealer network is the ideal network to work through, because of their close relationships with their customers, and the fact that we are already sending the data into Operations Center, we feel that they will find more value in that than maybe some other dealers will,” said Martin Miller, Application/System Engineer with Mel Foster Company.

Barn Sentry includes a monthly monitoring service that provides the cellular service and the RemoteAware application service. The system is easy to install in new or existing barns. Barn Sentry is available through Mel Foster Company and its authorized dealers. For information, contact Martin Miller, martin@melfoster.com.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Martin here: Interview with Martin Miller, Mel Foster Company

2019 Develop with Deere Conference Photo Album

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Deere Dealers Gain From Conference

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The 2019 Develop with Deere Conference saw more John Deere dealers attending as they strive to stay current on available technology and know how to best help their farmer customers.

“This is where some of the future of John Deere lies,” said Jeff Barnes with Greenway Equipment. “The way that Deere is thinking about partnering with these software guys and incorporating them in, I think it’s very important as a dealership to support this effort and come here, because I think we need to continue encouraging all the companies that are out there that you have a network. You’re not just working with Deere, you’re working with a dealer network to help deliver these solutions to a broader marketplace.”

Barnes valued the opportunity to find nearly 80 software companies in one place and see what each is bringing to the table. He also appreciated the ability to talk with other dealers about how they are implementing different technology. Marcus McDonald with James River Equipment agreed.

“There is no easy button when it comes to precision ag,” said McDonald. “The way I approach it, everything is customizable. Every farm is different, so being able to customize a software or a program or some type of package is huge for us at a dealership. Having that ease of changing program, changing packaging, offering different services, a different level of services is big for the dealership.”

McDonald said support is also a key piece for dealerships when it comes to partnering with software companies as they work to keep their customers profitable and ultimately stay in business themselves.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Jeff here: Interview with Jeff Barnes, Greenway Equipment

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Marcus here: Interview with Marcus McDonald, James River Equipment

2019 Develop with Deere Conference Photo Album

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AWS, Deere Partner on Data Application

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Participants in the Develop with Deere Conference in Chicago had the opportunity to hear a keynote address from Brandon West, Evangelism Leader, Americas, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

West shared that John Deere is a partner of AWS, and the groups have similar philosophies. While West said John Deere is working to build a platform for collecting agronomic data and make it useful for software developers, AWS is trying to provide the primitive building blocks of the internet operating system. He said the volume of data being collected is massively growing because of better connectivity, cheaper processors, and numerous other reasons.

“I think, in this particular instance, machine learning and how you turn that data into useful knowledge is one of the most important things that can be done,” said West. “If you’ve got a bunch of satellite imagery of your fields, you can start to train automated systems to be able to identify anomalies for you and just really increase the level of software automation involved in agriculture so we can really address the scaling problem that we have in this industry right now.”

While the algorithms for machine learning have been around for years, West said those complex ideas can now be built into tools that can be readily applied to industries like agriculture. AWS has a variety of teams ready to help equipment dealers and others to do this, along with a training program and relevant webinars.

“The more things you try, the more you learn,” said West. “If you want to be innovative, you have to be willing to fail.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Brandon here: Interview with Brandon West, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

2019 Develop with Deere Conference Photo Album

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Precision Ag Bytes 1/30

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  • TechAccel announced the launch of RNAissance Ag LLC, a new company that holds the exclusive license to RNA-interference technology in partnership with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO. The new company will use the proprietary technology in the development of sprayable insect control measures.
  • Register for Foster Our Future to experience how Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research funding is advancing innovations that are changing the food and agriculture landscape. Please register in advance for this event, scheduled for the afternoon of Feb. 5 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
  • Smart Ag Inc. announced that Tim Norris and Paul Bruns have joined the tech firm as leads for the 2019 commercial launch of AutoCart – Smart Ag’s software platform and aftermarket kit that fully automates a grain cart tractor and provides valuable labor assistance during harvest.
  • BRANDT’s proprietary foliar nutrients have helped Randy Dowdy, soybean world record holder, win the Corn Warriors’ yield challenge on corn. The first generation Georgia grower is the new “Corn King,” winning Corn Warriors’ Season 2 with 408 bu/ac using BRANDT foliar products.
  • The Illinois Wheat Association and the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program will co-sponsor the Illinois Double-Crop Farmers’ Forum on January 31 in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. For more information visit: https://www.illinoiswheat.org/events.html.
  • Check out the 2019 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show for the return of the Aglaunch Startup Station and Showcase on Friday, March 1, 2019.
  • Lindsay Corporation and Nutrien Ag Solutions announced a partnership that will enable Nutrien Ag Solutions crop consultants to leverage Lindsay’s remote irrigation management and scheduling platform to supplement Nutrien Ag Solutions’ offerings.
  • Yield10 Bioscience, Inc. announced that it has initiated an early development program in corn to evaluate novel seed yield and drought tolerance traits.
  • A&L Laboratories and Deveron UAS Corp. announced they have entered into a service agreement where A&L Canada Laboratories Inc. will engage Deveron to administer, manage and execute A&L’s soil sampling collection business. The initial term of the agreement is for 5 years.
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Partnerships Help Farmers Handle Digital Information

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Helping farmers to solve challenges that exist with precision agriculture and large amounts of data is a constant focus for Lane Arthur, who leads the Digital Solutions group for John Deere. Arthur said once data leaves one of the company’s machines, it is his group who manages that information.

“The reality is, farmers don’t farm alone. They need a lot of partners. They need a lot of people to work together,” said Arthur. “Long term, the way we see this is farmers will be able to customize their software the way they want through these connected software companies.”

Arthur said the Develop with Deere conference continues to grow in a couple of ways. The first is the actual number of connected software companies attending. The second is the depth of knowledge and the value of information that they bring to John Deere customers.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Lane here: Interview with Lane Arthur, John Deere

2019 Develop with Deere Conference Photo Album

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