SMART Farmer Jeremy Brown

cindy zimmerman

In this edition, we hear from a Texas farmer who grows both organic and traditional cotton and peanuts, as well as other crops.

Jeremy Brown is one of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) faces of farming, which has given him the opportunity to engage with the non-farm public on the highly emotional topic of biotechnology and GMO crops from the perspective of someone who grows both.

Learn more about Jeremy in this podcast – SMART Farmer Podcast with Jeremy Brown, Texas farmer

USFRA is also supporting a new film that takes on the biotechnology debate. Food Evolution, which is now streaming on Hulu, was commissioned by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and directed by Academy Award®-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy.

Subscribe to the SMART Farmer podcast

Learn more about USFRA and SMART Farm

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Precision Ag Bytes 11/1

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  • National Plant Genome Initiative, shepherded by the National Corn Growers Association, is celebrating 20 years of genetic research.  The historic research effort to map the corn genome has resulted in significant economic and environmental dividends for farmers and society at large.
  • Mycogen’s Turn the Bag Blue & Gold program is working with select retailers and local FFA chapters to offer students a learning, as well as fundraising, opportunity.  Chapter members will receive professional selling training to sell special blue and gold bags of select Mycogen brand corn hybrids to local farmers.
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Ibach Sworn in, Northey Still on Hold for USDA

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue traveled to Omaha yesterday to swear-in new Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach in his home state.

“Greg Ibach will bring experience and integrity to his new role at USDA, and carries with him the knowledge he’s gained in the dozen years he has served as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue.

During the swearing-in ceremony, Perdue expressed his disappointment that Bill Northey was not also being sworn in at the same time, after his nomination was put on hold last week by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in an apparent attempt to retaliate against the administration for bowing to pressure from ethanol states like Iowa on changes to the RFS. “It’s a sad note when one senator put a hold on a nominee not based on anything that has to do with that nominee,” said Perdue.

Audio file – Secretary Perdue swear-in opening comments

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John Deere Features Combine Technology at Sunbelt Ag Expo

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This year’s Sunbelt Ag Expo was an opportunity for John Deere to show off some new combines to growers in the Southeastern United States. Technical Marketing Manager for Combines and Cotton Equipment Matt Badding said the new S700 series combine offers three new features: the Gen4 Command Center, the Combine Advisor package, and Active Yield for sensor calibration.

“Right now, what we notice is for a lot of customers it’s difficult to get a good calibration of their yield sensor, of their mass flow sensor, as we call it. And what we’ve got is three sensors, three pads that are in the grain tank, and they’re continuously calibrating the sensors so the customer no longer has to worry about that,” said Badding.

Badding also featured the 635F HydraFlex Cutting Platform, which provides flexibility for farmers harvesting both rice and soybeans.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Matt Badding: Interview with Matt Badding, John Deere

2017 Sunbelt Ag Expo Photo Album

Stories from Sunbelt Ag Expo sponsored by Stories from Sunbelt Ag Expo sponsored by John Deere
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2017-18 National FFA Officer Team Elected

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2017-18 FFA National Officers: President Breanna Holbert, Wastern VP Gracie Furnish, Secretary Erica Baier, Western VP Bryce Cluff, Central VP Piper Merritt, and Southern VP Ian Bennett

Students from Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky and Oklahoma were elected to serve on the 2017-18 National FFA Officer team.

Breanna Holbert, an agricultural education major at California State University of Chico, made history as the first female African American elected as National FFA president. Her fellow officers include:

National Secretary – Erica Baier, agricultural education major at Iowa State University
Central Region VP – Piper Merritt, agricultural economics major at Oklahoma State University
Western Region VP – Bryce Cluff, agricultural technology and management major at the University of Arizona
Southern Region VP – Ian Bennett, majoring in plant breeding and genetics at the University of Georgia
Eastern Region VP – Gracie Furnish, career and technical education major at the University of Kentucky

Listen to an interview with Breanna from FFA: Interview with Breanna Holbert, FFA National President

Click for interviews, bios and hi-res photos of all the new officers.

Watch video of the officers being announced:

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USFRA Supporting Food Evolution Movie

cindy zimmerman

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is supporting a new film that offers an independent investigation into biotechnology that concludes GMOs may well be a force for good to feed the world.

Food Evolution, which is now streaming on Hulu, was commissioned by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and directed by Academy Award®-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy.

“The GMO story is a metaphor for how important it is to use science to make decisions,” said Kennedy during a conference call with reporters Thursday. He says the audience reaction to the film during screenings has been very gratifying. “From the critics standpoint, we’re 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (reviews from) the top critics.” Kennedy adds that screenings around the world have helped change minds about the perception of GMO crops.

“We are interested in promoting the film in any way we can,” said USFRA CEO Randy Krotz. That includes college campus screenings, digital media, and educational materials.

Also on the call was USFRA board member and Illinois farmer Roberta Simpson-Dolbeare, who talked about the value of genetically modified crops to farmers and getting accurate information out to the non-farm public. “I think it’s up to us farmers to better educate them on GMO plants and why from a sustainable standpoint going forward in order to feed the world, we really have to depend on GMO crops,” she said.

Audio file: USFRA and Food Evolution film comments

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House Ag Chair Says Farm Bill on Track

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House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway (R-TX) says they are moving forward with work on the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Still on track for late for fourth quarter (this year) or early first quarter of next year,” said Conaway during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “We’re going to be ready on the committee…when floor time opens up.”

Rep. Conaway was asked about trade, crop insurance, CRP, budget, nutrition programs, and more. Listen in here: Cong. Conaway call 10-25-17

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Precision Ag Bytes 10/25

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  • Monsanto has filed a complaint in Pulaski County Circuit Court in response to the Arkansas Plant Board’s decision to continue Arkansas’s ban of XtendiMax® for the 2018 growing season.  The Plant Board overlooked extensive volatility data provided to it – including data EPA used in its registration decision, says Scott Partridge, Vice President of Global Strategy.
  • The AgGateway Annual Conference in San Diego, California will feature speakers on Inventory Management, “Design Thinking,” and Farm Data Challenges.  The 2017 conference theme is “Efficiency-Opportunity-Profitability” and takes place November 6-9 at the Hilton Resort & Spa.
  • Verdesian Life Sciences is offering growers a money back guarantee on their AVAIL and/or NutriSphere-N products for the coming season.  Growers are guaranteed an increased yield or Verdesian will cover the product costs.
  • Precision Tank, a leader in liquid storage solutions, has unveiled a new brand identity.  The new brand represents the capabilities of two industry leaders, the former Precision Tank & Equipment (PT&E) and A & B Welding companies.
  • Adama, a global crop protection company, has entered into agreements with Syngenta AG to transfer certain crop protection products and distribution rights in exchange for products in the Nufarm Limited line.  These transfers are part of the acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina.
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SMART Farmer Rochelle Krusemark

cindy zimmerman

Rochelle Krusemark is a Minnesota grain and soybean farmer, a state and national soybean board and USFRA board member, wife, mother and grandmother – all at the same time!

Obviously a busy lady, Rochelle squeezed in time as she was watching her two toddler grandsons to tell us what being a SMART farmer means to her, and why she is so passionate about education about agriculture. A former teacher herself, Rochelle has been a longtime advocate of the Ag in the Classroom program and has worked with Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) and the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) start a program to help urban teachers learn more about agriculture so they can teach it to their students.

Listen to Rochelle here – SMART Farmer Podcast with Rochelle Krusemark, MN farmer

Subscribe to the SMART Farmer podcast

Learn more about USFRA and SMART Farm

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Agrikua’s Gender Equality Project = 1st at #YouthAgSummit

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Last week, I was given the opportunity to attend the 2017 Youth Ag Summit organized by Bayer Crop Science. Never have I ever attended such a motivating and uplifting agricultural event. 100 youth from 18-25 gathered in Brussels, Belgium to tackle some of the worlds leading issues in agriculture.

During the Summit, delegates worked across the week in groups of ten to develop their ideas centered around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of Gender Equality, Quality Education, and Responsible Consumption and Production. Groups pitched to a jury of experts and the audience. Winners were selected based on feasibility, innovativeness, and creativity. Bayer will be funding the top three future projects developed.

– Third place went to “Imperfect Picks”, a group who was assigned to work on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. These delegates impressed with their cartoon campaign to promote “ugly fruits” to children and enable a broader cultural shift towards accepting food that appears blemished but is still of good quality. They won €3,000 to further develop and implement their project.
– Second place went to “Seeds of Change”, a group of delegates focusing on SDG 4: Quality Education. They will use their prize of €5,000 to fund a project aimed at promoting agriculture in schools through young agricultural champions, in order to bridge the disconnect between people who consume, and people who produce food.
– First place was awarded to the group “AGRIKUA” (“kua” being the Swahili word for “grow”), whose project focuses on promoting Gender Equality (SDG 5) in the agricultural sector. Their plan to create an online professional platform for young Kenyan women seeking opportunities in agriculture impressed the jury and audience alike, and they took home the grand prize of €10,000. On top of this funding, the AGRIKUA delegates will also receive dedicated training and coaching to help make the project a reality. They will also be invited back to Europe to present their project to a relevant industry platform.

I was able to speak to the Agrikua spokespeople following the announcement to dive deeper into their project and hear their enthusiasm. Listen here: Interview with Agrikua

View and download photos from the event here: 2017 Youth Ag Summit Photo Album

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