PrecisionAg Big Data Conference Program

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 1.10.26 PMWhy should you attend the PrecisionAg Big Data Conference in Columbus February 16? Leading experts are preparing to share information vital to your success, as experienced farmers share insights to help you adopt best practices as they relate to data collection and application. See the complete program.

Here are a few program highlights:
Data Ownership and Privacy – Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Associate Professor – Agricultural Law, Oklahoma State University
American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF): Data Principles Panel – AFBF’s Mary Kay Thatcher moderates a panel discussion including growers and industry partners on the Data Ownership and Privacy Principles created by AFBF in conjunction with leading manufacturers
Players and Partners – Dr. Scott Shearer, Professor and Chair, and Dr. John Fulton, Associate Professor, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University
Empowering Data-Driven Decisions: Yield Building and Beyond – A panel of experienced farmers share success stories
Seward Farm: A Case Study in Data Value And Partnerships – Darrington Seward; Clint Jayroe, Jimmy Sanders Inc.; and J.D. Cresswell, John Deere dealer
A Data-Driven Future: Driving Decisions Beyond The Field – Dr. Terry Griffin, Associate Professor – Economics, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

Join your peers at Crown Plaza Columbus North-Worthington for Big Data: Understanding and Leveraging the Most Elusive Farm Asset, the one-day conference that sheds light on the opportunities and challenges of big data.

Ag Group, Data, Events

Comments Needed on EPA Neonic Report

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

asta-css-14-beckyFarmers and other stakeholders have only a few days left to comment on the EPA report about the “Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production” which finds little or no overall benefits. The comment period concludes on December 22.

Dr. Becky Langer, Bayer CropScience Bee Care Program manager, says the EPA document came out of the presidential memorandum this year to develop a national pollinator strategy. “I believe they are using the information to see what kind of response they get,” she said. “Soybean we don’t see as much yield increase as we do with some of the other crops, so perhaps that’s why they chose it to see how much interest there is.”

Langer says Bayer developed a platform for people to comment on the report called “Where stakeholders can go and submit a letter based on their zip code, they can choose whether they’re a grower, applicator or concerned citizen, and let their concerns be voiced.”

Becky explains more in this interview: Interview with Becky Langer, Bayer CropScience

2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album

ASTA, Audio, Bayer CropScience, Bees, Pesticides, pollinators

Cellectis Plant Sciences Supports Subsistence Farming

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 12.52.29 PMCellectis plant sciences, a Minnesota-based company focusing on developing healthier food products, and the Two Blades Foundation (2Blades) announced the execution of a non-exclusive cross-license agreement relating to TAL nuclease technologies.

Pursuant to the agreement, 2Blades receives a license to TALENTM technology for not-for- profit uses, including use in 2Blades’ humanitarian efforts to support subsistence farming, and for certain commercial applications related to the disease resistance programs of 2Blades. In addition, pursuant to the agreement, Cellectis plant sciences receives a license under 2Blades’ TAL Code technology related to nucleases for commercial uses in certain specified crop plants. Cellectis plant sciences has an option to expand its license to additional crops. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“2Blades is pleased to enter into a cross-licensing agreement with Cellectis plant sciences,” said Diana Horvath, 2Blades’ President. “It streamlines the use of this powerful gene-editing technology in agriculture, fitting well with 2Blades’ interest in seeing broad use of the technology for a wide range of commercial and subsistence applications that we believe will benefit farmers and consumers.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with the Two Blades Foundation to support its humanitarian effort to reduce the impact of plant diseases in developing countries,” commented Luc Mathis, Chief Executive Officer of Cellectis plant sciences. “The agreement also provides a unique foundation for the commercial development of healthier food products with the objective to expedite their availability to consumers.”

The TAL Code technology and TALENTM technology are useful tools that target genes at precise sites and enable specific regulation of gene expression. The technology is based on novel DNA-binding proteins that can be designed to cleave at any selected region in any gene.

Agribusiness, Plant Science

Hick Chick Chat: Koch Talks AGROTAIN® Upgrades

Leah Guffey Leave a Comment

IMG_3295 copyAt the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk I had a chance to visit with Ron Restum vice president of sales for North America with Koch Agronomic Services. He explained how they’ve been working with new technology for the grower with the addition of two new nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN® product family; AGROTAIN® ADVANCED and AGROTAIN® DRI-MAXX.

15782345405_8a0de1844d_mRon tells me that farmers really enjoyed the success they have seen with AGROTAIN® but wanted an easier application process, so they sat down with their customers to find out what worked best for them and spent about two years in the lab with trials before developing a patent-pending formulation. “We really thank our customers, we couldn’t have come up with this on our own,” Ron says.

You can listen to my chat with Ron here: Hick Chick Chat with Ron Restum, Koch Agronomics

Join in the conversation on Twitter and on Facebook

2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Audio, Hick Chick Chat, Koch, NAFB, Nitrogen

FarmLogs Continue to Build Future of Farming

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

farmlogsFarmLogs, the leading agricultural tech startup and Y Combinator alum that helps over 15 percent of U.S. farms analyze data to increase their fields’ profitability, announced that it has closed a $10 million Series B round of financing.

The $10 million capital raise includes follow-on participation from existing investors Drive Capital, Huron River Ventures, and Hyde Park Venture Partners. New investors participating in this round–which takes FarmLogs’ total funding to $15 million–include SV Angel and Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator.

“I’m a huge fan of Jesse and FarmLogs, and they have the opportunity to build a very important company,” said Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator. “Their growth has been phenomenal since they participated in YC in 2012, and Jesse has a focused vision combined with relentless execution. I think improving agriculture is one of the most important challenges in the world, and I’m excited to be involved.”

The funding will enable FarmLogs to further invest in product development for its best-in-class data technologies, to significantly expand its team and to continue to rapidly execute on its vision for the future of farming.

“We will continue to add great people to our team of engineers, data scientists and designers,” said Jesse Vollmar, CEO and co-founder of FarmLogs. “I’m amazed at all the momentum we’ve been able to build and at how much value we can create for farms all over world. Having additional capital behind us accelerates our ability to bring the best science and technology to every farm through intuitive software.”

Read More

Agribusiness, Data

Seed Industry Challenges

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What’s the biggest challenge for the seed industry?”

All of agriculture depends in some way on seed. The long term survival of the seed industry impacts everything. It looks like you think anti-GMO attitudes have the greatest negative impact on the seed industry. Environmental regulations came in with a close second.

Here are the poll results:

  • Intellectual property rights – 4%
  • Anti-GMO attitudes – 33%
  • Trade restraints – 11%
  • Environmental regulations – 19%
  • Innovation progress disruption – 4%
  • Pollinator health issues – 11%
  • All of the above – 11%
  • Other – 7%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, What type of gadget is on your wish or to-give list?

Christmas is right around the corner and gadgets are one of our favorite things to talk about. We want to know what gadget you want to find under the tree this year or what type of techie gift you’re giving. Is it a smart phone, computer, power tool, camera or one of each? I wouldn’t mind seeing a camera under my tree!


Bayer CropScience Commitment to Innovation

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

asta-css-14-bayer-hollinrakeBayer CropScience hosted a press conference at last week’s ASTA CSS & Seed Expo to highlight the company’s commitment to innovation.

David Hollinrake, vice president of Agricultural Commercial Operations Marketing, says that they are investing more than $1 billion annually in research and development. “We’re looking across disease control, crop efficiency, trying to help crops thrive in less than great conditions,” said Hollinrake, adding that they have more than 30 new products coming in the next decade, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and seed treatments.

Listen to David’s comments here: David Hollinrake, Bayer CropScience CSS 2014 press conference

2014 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo photo album

Agribusiness, ASTA, Audio, Bayer CropScience

Research on Value of Neonicotinoids

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

asta-css-14-nowakThe agriculture industry is working to show the benefits of neonicotinoids in the face of an EPA report released in October concluding that the seed treatments “provide little or no overall benefits to soybean production in most situations.”

During the ASTA CSS and Seed Expo last week, Dr. Pete Nowak with AgInfomatics discussed some of his findings on the value of neonics in North American agriculture to respond to the EPA findings. “A good $4 billion plus, direct costs to our economy if we lose neonicotinoids,” says Dr. Nowak summarizing the cost to all agricultural and green industry crops. “A very significant impact, not only on the producer, but also on the consumer in terms of food costs, as much of the four billion dollars would be passed on to the consumer.” Dr. Pete Nowak, AgInfomatics

AgInfomatics has compiled a number of research papers on the value of neonics to several different industries, with the latest one just released this week which found the seed-based insecticide significantly increases yields of major crops.

The research used a meta-analysis approach to assemble existing data from more than 1,500 field studies conducted over 15 years in the following crops: corn, soybean, wheat, cotton, sorghum, canola, potato and tomato. According to the researchers, farmers experienced average yield increases ranging from 3.6 to 71.3 percent in the eight major crops across North America.

The research has been commissioned by Growing Matters, which is a group formed by a collaboration between Bayer CropScience, Syngenta, Valent and Mitsui, to help let the industry know what is happening on the federal level. The public comment period on the EPA analysis is open until December 22 and information on how to comment can be found by going to Growing Matters or

ASTA, Audio, Bayer CropScience, Bees, Insecticide

US Rice Would Benefit From New Cuba Policy

John Davis Leave a Comment

castrorice1The announcement that the U.S. is normalizing relations with Cuba is seen as good for American agriculture, with rice producers perhaps seeing the biggest boost. The USA Rice Federation welcomed the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the countries and sees the new approach to banking to being the key.

“The changes to banking are very important because they will significantly reduce red tape and costs associated with doing business with Cuba,” said Betsy Ward, president and CEO of the USA Rice Federation. “Since the mid-1990’s USA Rice has taken leadership among commodity groups in calling for an end to the economic and travel embargo on Cuba, so we’re encouraged by today’s announcement.”

Ward said her organization has long maintained that the “embargo was not on Cuba, as they could source rice and other products from around the world, but rather on the rice growers in the U.S., whose own government cut them out of one of the world’s top markets, just 90 miles from our shores.” She added that USA Rice is also a founding member of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), a group dedicated to lifting the embargo.

“USA Rice was the first U.S. group of any kind to exhibit at the 2001 Cuba International Trade Fair, the first such participation in any Cuban trade fair in more than 40 years,” said USA Rice’s Marvin Lehrer. “This historic action, taken under extraordinary and difficult circumstances, was among those cited by the Government of Cuba as a motivation in making the first purchase of U.S. rice since 1961 and garnered worldwide media attention.”

Despite sales of American rice to Cuba hitting more than 175,000 metric tons in 2004, representing about 30 percent of Cuba’s import needs, there have been no sales since 2008 when the U.S. government restricted the definition of “cash in advance” and banking terms with Cuba. USA Rice Federation officials believe the banking changes will change that and possibly make Cuba, once again a major market for American rice.

“Today’s announcements are good news for the Cuban and American people,” said Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice producer and chairman of the USA Rice Federation. “We’ll be looking for ways to tap into potential markets there to help people on both sides of the equation.”

Ag Group, International, Rice

Ag Leader Yield Monitoring System on AGCO Combines

John Davis Leave a Comment

agleaderagco1Ag Leader‘s precision technology will now be offered on North American AGCO combines. Ag Leader says the 2015 Gleaner S8 Series combines, Massey Ferguson 9505 Series and Challenger 500E combines will feature a factory-installed Ag Leader yield monitoring system, with Ag Leader Integra and Versa displays also available to be ordered separately.

“Adding a yield monitoring system with Ag Leader display to your combine allows the operator to view yield and moisture maps in real-time for instant feedback on yield performance while in the field,” said Roger Zielke, Product Manager. “Our time tested yield monitor will be a perfect addition for growers purchasing an AGCO combine.”

Ag Leader’s founder and owner, Al Myers, is credited for developing the first widely used yield monitor just over 20 years ago and has led the industry in developing precision technology. Today Ag Leader offers a complete line of precision farming products from planting through harvest through a global dealer network.

“We know that it is increasingly important for farmers to collect and analyze yield data to use in making management decisions as it has a significant impact to yield and the bottom line,” Zielke added. “We’re excited to pair our yield monitoring technology with a leading manufacturer to assist more growers with harvesting both crops and information.”

Ag Leader, Agribusiness