Perdue Celebrates Anniversary With Senate Ag Committee

cindy zimmerman

Tuesday was the first anniversary for Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture and he spent it briefing the Senate Agriculture Committee on The State of Rural America.

“It’s a fascinating job,” said Perdue. “Even more broad and vast and deep and wide and impactful than I could have ever imagined.”

Most of the questioning for the secretary revolved around trade issues and the farm economy. Addressing Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, Perdue said, “Mr. Chairman you are fond of saying we’re in a rough patch, and I certainly agree with that, but I fear that it’s moved to the whole farm, not just one patch.”

Listen to opening comments and questioning by Sen. Roberts and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Opening of Senate Ag hearing on State of Rural America

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Precision Ag Bytes 4/25

carrie muehling

  • Whether you attended or not, you can revisit sessions from the 2017 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health. All session recordings are now available on the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education website.
  • Nutrien Ltd.’s retail division – soon to be rebranded as Nutrien Ag Solutions – announced the launch of a new digital platform designed to augment its distribution network, agronomic advice and services. Nutrien Ag Solutions’ digital platform will initially be available across North America and will serve as an integrated hub for helping
    customers more effectively manage their agronomic and business needs. Nutrien will officially roll out the platform beginning in July 2018 and continue in phases into mid-2019.
  • The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released for public comment the draft human health and ecological risk assessments for glyphosate, one of the most widely used pesticides in the United States. EPA’s risk assessment concludes that gylphosate is NOT likely to be a carcinogenic to humans. The agency found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label. These scientific findings are consistent with conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institutes of Health Agricultural Health Survey. To submit comments, click here. The comment period closes April 30, 2018.
  • The preliminary program for InfoAg 2018 is now posted. Online registration is now available for the conference, with an early bird discount available through July 1.
  • Sakata Seed America recently announced the launch of its new, mobile-responsive website for the vegetable side of their business. The organizational structure of the new closely mirrors that of the previous site, allowing users who have used the Sakata vegetables website previously to enjoy a seamless experience when transitioning to the new website.
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Bayer Launches ForwardFarm in Maryland

cindy zimmerman

Bayer’s ForwardFarming program launched in North America last week at the farm of fourth-generation Maryland farmer Trey Hill.

Harborview Farms was chosen as the latest Bayer ForwardFarm, joining Bayer’s global network of 12 innovative, independent farms representative of their unique environments across Europe, Latin America and now, North America. “One of the primary goals of ForwardFarming is to foster dialogue and knowledge exchange on local farms around the world, which we achieve by welcoming people to the farms to learn about today’s agriculture and some of the remarkable men and women engaged in it,” said Jim Blome, President and CEO of Crop Science North America, a Division of Bayer.

Harborview Farms on the Chesapeake Bay is two hours from Washington, D.C., and includes innovative management practices, such as precision technology, cover cropping, solar energy, integrated peswt management, and wildlife habitats. Over time, Bayer will add more operations to the ForwardFarming program in additional regions across the United States and the world to expand the knowledge platform further.

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House Ag Committee Advances Agriculture and Nutrition Act

cindy zimmerman

The House Agriculture Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to pass the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2) out of committee, a new farm bill designed by Republicans to “address the economic challenges facing the nation’s farmers and ranchers, while making historic investments in opportunities for SNAP recipients.” All 20 Democrats on the historically-bipartisan committee voted against the legislation over their objection to requiring work-capable adults to either find employment or receive free training for 20 hours per week.

“I’m disappointed that my Democrat colleagues have turned their backs on America’s heartland – that they’ve chosen partisan politics over the three years of bipartisan work in this committee,” said Chairman Mike Conaway. “I am hopeful Democrats will not hold the nation’s farmers and ranchers hostage in this process over the SNAP work and training requirements, which will provide SNAP beneficiaries not just a benefit, but a better future that only a job can provide.”

Conaway held a press call this morning to discuss the legislation with Committee Vice Chair Glenn Thompson (R-PA).

Listen to this morning’s conference call here: House Ag Committee Conference Call

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Midwest Seed Genetics Expansion and Growth Continues

cindy zimmerman

Midwest Seed Genetics continues its growth with four senior managers joining the team.

“The addition of these highly skilled individuals underscores our resolve in building a new, high quality, high performance hybrid corn and soybean company. Midwest Seed Genetics plan is to match exemplary products and people together to provide America’s row crop farmers with new choices.” said Don Funk, Midwest Seed Genetics Owner.

Todd Claussen is Midwest’s new Director of Sales Agronom/Product Positioning Lead. Todd was formerly the Director of Agronomy & Technical Services for Landus Cooperatives of Iowa. He has also held management positions with Monsanto Company and JC Robinson Seed Company.

Chandra Edwards, Senior Operations Manager, was formerly with Wilbur-Ellis where she held Brand Manager Integra and Operations Manage. Chandra previously worked for E-Markets.

Wayne Hoener, Soybean Product Manager, was most recently VP Sales for Schillinger Genetics, Inc. He also held management positions with Asgrow Seed Company and Channel Bio Corporation.

Rodd Whitney, Senior Recruiting Manager, was formerly Founding Principal for One Purpose People Agricultural Recruiting. Prior to that, Whitney held senior positions at Monsanto Company and Channel Bio Corporation.

“We continue to grow at a fast pace and are shaping our company around entrepreneurs that we can build an outwardly focused, forward thinking company that is correct for today’s marketplace” said Erik Nelson, General Manager for Midwest Seed Genetics.

Listen to an interview with Wayne Hoener from last August talking about the overwhelming reception the introduction of Midwest Seed Genetics received. Interview with Wayne Hoener, Midwest Seed Genetics

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Precision Ag Bytes 4/18

carrie muehling

  • A bipartisan coalition of 28 producers, national and state commodity groups, supply chain companies, and environmental and conservation groups have signed a letter to U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) urging them to support the Agriculture Data Act of 2018 (S. 2487). The coalition applauds Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for introducing the legislation. The bill would strengthen the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) management of producer data so that it can be used to study the impacts of farm conservation practices such as cover crops, no-till farming, and more, while protecting the privacy of farmers.
  • Neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides are currently undergoing registration review, an extensive scientific process that the EPA conducts on all registered pesticides every 15 years, to ensure they meet the latest scientific standards. This multistep process typically takes five to eight years to complete.
  • AgJunction, Inc. has announced the opening of the online store to bring low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions direct to all farmers. To launch the online store, AgJunction introduced RANGER, precision farming made simple with an easy-to-install and use guidance system for under a thousand dollars.
  • Actagro released results showing that in over 40 multiyear corn trials, Proximus increased average yield by 10 to 15 bushels per acre. The research findings make a strong use case for the company’s new nitrogen management solution among growers looking to better manage their nitrogen investments and increase yields.
  • The sixth Plant Genomics & Gene Editing Congress is coming to Philadelphia on October 1-2, 2018.
    This comprehensive two-day congress, featuring over 50 presentations across three tracks, will provide experts with an exceptional environment in which to explore the application of novel gene-editing technologies, CRISPR and other ‘omics technologies. An extended panel discussion will explore issues arising from gene editing regulation; while nine roundtable discussions, led by experts, will enable a deeper investigation of subjects that include genomic selection, sequencing workflow and adapting to the challenges of climate change. Register here.
  • Verdesian Life Sciences has announced a reformulation of its mission, positioning statement and approach in order to create a more mission-driven organization committed to providing sustainable nutrient use efficiency (NUE) solutions for farmers and growers. Verdesian’s new mission statement reads: At Verdesian Life Sciences, we enable a sustainable future for farmers through nutrient use efficiency.
  • Inocucor Corporation, a developer and producer of biological crop inputs for high-value produce and row crops, announced it has acquired ATP Nutrition, a producer of science-based plant nutrients based in Oak Bluff, Manitoba, Canada. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
  • The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced that online dicamba/auxin trainings have been approved for farmers and applicators who wish to use dicamba products. Farmers and applicators can access the online trainings or find details about any upcoming in-person trainings at
  • Syngenta has received confirmation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Fusilade® DX herbicide has been cleared for tank mixing with both XtendiMax® with VaporGrip®Technology and Engenia® herbicides. Fusilade DX will be available for use on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans, providing growers with more options for a strong weed management plan this growing season.
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AEM Releases First-Quarter Sales Data

carrie muehling

The latest sales data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) shows total U.S. 2-wheel drive tractor sales gained four percent for March compared to last year, while 4-wheel drive tractors sales dropped five percent. Self-propelled combine sales declined 20 percent.

First-quarter 2018 U.S. sales were essentially flat for the smaller-size tractors and 100-plus HP 2-wheel drive tractors declined about five percent for January-March compared to the same quarter in 2017. U.S. 4-wheel drive tractor sales gained about five percent for the first quarter, and U.S. sales of self-propelled combines gained four percent for January-March compared to those months in 2017.

“As we close the first quarter of 2018, we are still cautiously optimistic for continued growth this year, but it’s tempered by uncertainty in the farm economy,” said Curt Blades, senior vice president, AG services. “We are still contending with diplomatic jockeying over steel tariffs and China trade that is causing concern for the agriculture and manufacturing communities. Headwinds also include potential negative changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). And, overall, we’re looking at the USDA forecast of a decline in 2018 net farm profits. Many farmers will still need to replace equipment at some point for longer term efficiencies, and we are still hopeful that tax reform could provide a positive stimulus.”

Read the full report online:

John Deere at 2018 Commodity Classic Photo Album

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House Ag Committee Unveils Agriculture and Nutrition Act

cindy zimmerman

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) today introduced the first draft of a new farm bill, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2).

““The farm bill keeps faith with our nation’s farmers and ranchers through the current agriculture recession by providing certainty and helping producers manage the enormous risks that are inherent in agriculture,” said Rep. Conaway. “The farm bill also keeps faith with these families by not only maintaining SNAP benefits but by offering SNAP beneficiaries a springboard out of poverty to a good paying job, and opportunity for a better way of life for themselves and their families.”

Conaway introduced the bill along with House Ag Committee Vice Chair Glenn Thompson (R-PA).

Listen to the press conference: House Ag farm bill introduction

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WEDA Acquires Friend Management Systems™

cindy zimmerman

Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA) announced today that it is acquiring Friend Management Systems™ (FMS), pairing two leading providers of management consulting and professional development services for equipment dealers.

Friend Management is a Canadian-based management consulting firm providing leadership development and peer-to-peer learning to agricultural, consumer, and golf equipment dealerships in Canada, United States and Australia. The company is also John Deere’s recommended provider of Leadership Dealer Performance Groups and provides aftermarket and golf distributor specific leadership groups.

After 30 years of providing management and financial advice and peer group facilitation to John Deere dealer groups, Doug Friend decided it was the right time to look at succession. “I am pleased to join with WEDA,” said Friend. “Our consolidated energies will make us well-positioned to offer deeper client consultative analysis, broader scope of products and enhanced geographical footprint, to the already large ($6 Billion annual sales) data base.”

Dealer Institute, one of WEDA’s largest divisions, provides consulting, education and training to dealers so the addition of FMS will expand the suite of services to their members.

“We’re delighted with the opportunities presented by fusing our collective consultative approaches with Friend Management’s technology and support,” said WEDA CEO John Schmeiser. “This joining of talent not only brings leading-edge expertise to our association but will further expand on our ability to offer specialized experience and insight that dealers rely on for strategizing and growing their business.”

Schmeiser adds that Boyd Hofmann, former partner in a large multi-store John Deere dealership, will also join WEDA and Dealer Institute and will focus on the facilitation of the current Large Ag and Large Turf Dealer Performance Groups as part of this transition.

In this interview, Schmeiser explains how this move enhances the offerings of WEDA Business Management Services to benefit the equipment dealer industry. Interview with WEDA CEO John Schmeiser

Read more about this story

For more information about Friend Management Systems™, visit the website

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Precision Ag Bytes 4/11

carrie muehling

  • Cytozyme Laboratories, Inc. has announced the recent opening of a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise office in Beijing, China, to improve its business processes and meet the growing demands of consumers throughout the region.
  • The LG Seeds brand announces the launch of a new Technical Team Agronomist role. This role will provide technical support services to LG Seeds’ sales team, customers, and dealers. These individuals will leverage the product knowledge that already exists among AgReliant Genetics’ six regional brand agronomy teams making up the new LG Seeds brand. The team will focus on supporting sales growth and strategic brand initiatives, including the company’s digital ag platform, Advantage Acre.
  • Western Growers and Radicle Growth have partnered to create The Radicle Automation Challenge, a competition where AgTech automation entrepreneurs are eligible to compete for a minimum of $250,000 in investment capital and exclusive access to farm acreage to pilot their technologies. Four finalists will be chosen to showcase their technologies in front of a group of investors, corporate partners and agribusiness experts and the winner will be announced during the Western Growers Innovation Showcase Dinner at the Forbes AgTech Summit on June 26, 2018.
  • Syngenta is offering members of the ag community a way to honor those individuals who have ignited their ag passion the most. The application period is now open for the annual #RootedinAg contest. In exchange for sharing their stories, participants will have a chance to be named one of five finalists, who will each receive mini touch-screen tablets and have their inspirational stories featured on the Syngenta Thrive website. From those finalists, one grand prizewinner will receive a $500 gift card and have their story published in Thrive magazine, plus Syngenta will make a $1,000 donation in the winner’s name to a local charity or civic organization.
  • AgVend, the leader in agricultural eCommerce, announces the close of a $1.75m seed fundraising round led by Iowa native Drew Oetting at 8VC.
  • Agrian Inc. continues to expand internationally, announcing that they will bring their comprehensive agriculture software platform to Brazilian agronomists, growers, retailers and food processors. To spearhead efforts in the new territory, Agrian has hired Ed Siatti as the senior sales director, Brazil.
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