Enogen Presents American Ethanol Race in Iowa

cindy zimmerman

Coming up tomorrow at the Iowa Speedway, Enogen presents the NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 for the fifth year.

Ron Wulfkuhle is excited to be attended the race for the first time as head of Enogen at Syngenta. “We’ll have about 1200 corn farmers attending as our guests and also we’ll be working with the FFA,” said Wulfuhle. “They’ll be doing a fundraiser at the race and just to make it interesting we’ve agreed to match whatever they raise.”

At the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Minneapolis this week, Wulfuhle was spreading the word about the winning combination of Cellerate™ process technology and Enogen corn for ethanol plants and corn farmers by getting more ethanol from the same kernel of corn.

Learn more about Cellerate, Enogen, and the race in this interview and watch for photos and stories from the race where our Jamie Johansen will be this weekend.
Interview with Ron Wulfkuhle, Enogen

2017 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photos

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Syngenta Enogen

AgWired Precision, Audio, Corn, Ethanol, Syngenta

Precision Ag Bytes 6/22

kelly marshall

AgWired Precision, Zimfo Bytes

Herrmann Concludes Year as ASTA Chair

kelly marshall

The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) annual meeting marks the end of Mark Herrmann’s service as Chair of the organization. For the past year he has lead the group in some major changes and successes, including the passing of a federal GMO bill.

“The GMO transparency bill being a federal bill, as opposed to the patchwork that was being done by state bills, is huge– for not just the American Seed Trade Association but the entire food industry in general,” Herrmann stated.

There have been other major milestones during his tenure as well. ASTA placed a staff member in China to assist with developing intellectual property rights and processes along with other bills. The communications team has also released two videos, one featuring a plant breeder, mother, and gardener, and a new animated video that seeks to educate the public on a very simple level about what breeding actually means.

Herrmann also leaves behind the legacy of an entirely rebranded event for future years. While “annual conference” is a very broad term, the summer meeting has evolved into something more specific. The new title of the session going forward has been changed to “Policy and Leadership Development Conference” to reflect this focus.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Mark here: Interview with ASTA Chair Mark Herrmann, Ag Reliant Genetics

2017 ASTA Annual Meeting Flickr album

Agribusiness, AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, seed

Panel Offers Food Company Perspectives

kelly marshall

The Opening Session of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) annual meeting featured three speakers offering “Perspectives from Today’s Major Food Companies.”  John Wiebold from General Mills, Jenny Verner from Cargill, Inc., and Autumn Price representing Land O’Lakes each addressed the audience before participating in a panel discussion and taking questions from the audience. Each spoke of the challenges of feeding the world balanced against the needs of the environment and the changing consumer who is more aware of these issues.

“We believe the work that we do upstream in our supply chain has a direct impact on the ecosystems around the world and we want to leverage that for positive,” said John Wiebold regarding General Mills. “So as we roll forward not only do we want to help farmers but we want to help farming communities around the world.”

“Farming is not big gardening,” he continued. Crops need a stable climate and it’s important to work across the entire value chain to ensure crops are available now and in the future. Listen to Wiebold’s full remarks here: Remarks by John Wiebold, General Mills

The challenges of nourishing 9 billion people concern the folks at Cargill as well, noted Jenny Verner. “You care a lot about what you put into your body, what you feed your family, what you feed your friends. And so for us as an industry, it really is a powerful opportunity to work collaboratively to help people come together and solve the world’s issues.”

Those solutions will involve transparency, sustainability, and trade, Verner asserts. Listen to her full address here: Remarks by Jenny Verner, Cargill, Inc.

Autumn Price reiterated that Land O’Lakes believes in these ideals too, but also stressed support for science-based farming.

“We’ve stayed true to our roots as a farmer-owned cooperative and are honored to be advocates to the farmers and producers who are our members. We’ve also expanded and evolved our businesses to meet the challenges and changing demands of farmers, customers, and consumers in the last 100 years.”  Listen to her comments here: Remarks by Autumn Price, Land O’Lakes

2017 ASTA Annual Meeting Flickr album

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The GROWMARK Endure Initiative Grows

chuck zimmerman

The GROWMARK Endure sustainability initiative is enduring. For the second year GROWMARK has announced winners of the Endure 4R Advocate award. They are:

Adam Dexter – West Central FS – Williamsfield, Illinois
Don Jones – GROWMARK FS – New York/Pennsylvania
Jay Matthews – AgVantage FS – Charles City, Iowa
John Musser – Stephenson Service Company – Stockton, Illinois
Nicole Weber – FS PARTNERS – Ontario, Canada

I spoke with GROWMARk’s Lance Ruppert about the program and this year’s winners. He says the program is designed to encourage and promote 4R practices. The 4R approach to nutrient stewardship involves using the right source, place, time, and rate of fertilizer.

Agriculture industry professionals outside the GROWMARK System served as judges. The winners earn recognition at August’s GROWMARK Annual Meeting and Agribusiness Symposium. They also get an all-expense paid trip to attend the event with their spouse.

Ruppert also talks about a new component of the Endure initiative called Endure Farms and the Enduring Farms Award.

The FS System created the Enduring Farm Award to award farmers who have excelled to preserve and improve their land and natural resources for future generations by utilizing proven best management practices such as using the 4Rs of nutrient management, soil sampling, phosphorus management, and nitrogen management.

Nominations can be submitted annually September 1 – December 31 with announcements and awards given in February. The initial nomination period will be in the fall of 2017 with the first awards given out in February 2018. Find specific qualifications here.

Listen to Lance talk more about this award and GROWMARK’s commitment to sustainability in this interview. Interview with Lance Ruppert, GROWMARK

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Trump Commits to Agriculture in Iowa

lizzy schultz

President Donald Trump stood among various models of John Deere and Case IH farm equipment as he pledged to boost agriculture exports, loosen federal regulations on the agriculture industry, and support ethanol and biofuels yesterday while speaking to a crowd of about 250 at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“Today we are celebrating the dignity of work and the greatness of the American farmer,” said President Trump. “I’m not a farmer, but I’d be very happy to be one. It’s a very beautiful world to be in.”

President Trump began his speech by congratulating former Iowa governor Terry Branstad before he leaves for Beijing on Friday to begin serving his new role as U.S. Ambassador to China. Branstad stepped up to the podium following the send-off to praise the Trump Administration’s work in re-gaining access for U.S. beef in China.

In his speech, President Trump pledged to support and protect corn-based ethanol and biofuels, emphasized his commitment to reforming the nation’s existing trade agreements, advocated for improving rural infrastructure, including access to rural broadband and increased resources for vocational programs like Kirkwood, and pledged to eliminate “the intrusive rules that undermine farmers’ ability to make a living.”

“U.S. farmers produce great products, but you have to work too hard and too long to make a living,” said President Trump. “We’re going to make it easier to produce and grow in America by eliminating job-killing regulations and supporting schools like Kirkwood that are helping to train young people in the cutting edge technologies that are making American agriculture greater and more productive than ever before.”

Prior to his speech, President Trump toured Kirkwood and learned about the institution’s successful precision agriculture program. He expressed sincere understanding and respect for the technologies that have advanced modern agriculture and pledged his support for the continued advancement of agricultural technologies and educational programs.

“If we continue to train our workers in these new technologies, then we will usher in a new era of prosperity for American agriculture and for the American farming family,” he said.

Listen to the full speech here: President Trump at Kirkwood Community College

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Joe Funk Earns ASTA Distinguished Service Award

kelly marshall

Joe Funk, Editor at SEED TODAY, was selected as this year’s American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Distinguished Service Award winner. He was honored during the Opening General Session of the ASTA Annual convention in Minneapolis, MN. The award is given to a member who has made a significant contribution both to ASTA and the seed industry.

“Joe has been faithfully serving agriculture and the seed industry with in-depth reporting on our rapidly changing business for 30 years,” said ASTA Chair Mark Herrmann. “He’s not satisfied to just research a topic and write about it; more often than not, you’ll find Joe making a personal trip to see first-hand the subject of his article.”

Funk grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Agronomy. He spent 10 years with the USDA and a few years as a sales manager for a regional seed company before beginning to write for the Grain Journal in 1987. He was made Editor of SEED TODAY in 1998. He will continue his career as an external agriculture communications consultant beginning next week.

“The men and women that I have met since becoming Editor of SEED TODAY represent an outstanding group of people,” says Funk. “Seed production is a unique industry with widespread personal relationships. These are exciting times. Each year brings both unprecedented challenges and new, exciting opportunities. I am grateful to the seedsmen and product/service providers for allowing me to have a role in their industry.”

Listen to the award presentation and Joe’s remarks here: ASTA Distinguished Service Award winner Joe Funk

2017 ASTA Annual Meeting Flickr album

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Joe Swedberg to Lead Farm Foundation Board

kelly marshall

Joe C. Swedberg of Longmont, CO., was elected to serve as chairman of the Board of Directors of Farm Foundation on June 9th at the Board’s annual meeting in Charlottesville, VA, succedding Mark Scholl from Owensboro, KY. Larkin Martin, Courtland, AL, was elected to serve as Vice Chair.

In addition to the election, the Farm Foundation Trust Agreement name has been changed to Legge Lowden Farm Foundation Trust. The six-member Board of Trustees will have responsibility for the Trust and insuring the mission of the Trust is fulfilled. The operating entity has also recieved a name change, moving from Farm Foundation, NFP to Trust to Farm Foundation.

Ag Group, AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, Farm Foundation

ASTA Annual Conference in Full Swing

kelly marshall

The American Seed Trade Assocition (ASTA)  annual conference is in full swing in Minneapolis, MN with both Cindy and Kelly on the ground to bring you all the news.  To kick off our coverage of the event Cindy spoke with President and CEO Andy LaVigne about the past year’s work and what ASTA hopes to accomplish at the conference for the future.

“We’ve got a number of issues that we’re looking at that we continue to address,” LaVigne outlines.  “Plant breeding innovation, breeding techniques as they evolve, how will policy impact them, seed treatment, cover crops– a lot of things that are impacting America’s farmers we’re looking at this week from the seed perspective.  How do we make sure we’re prepared to play our role as those policies develop.”

Policy develops slowly in D.C. for the moment.  Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is doing great stuff, LaVigne notes, but it’s frustrating because there’s not yet anyone under him to help get the work done.  One of the first things to move forward when everyone’s in place is the GMO labeling law.  It took a lot of effort to pass, says LaVigne, and it has a lot of industry support.

Breeding techniques will also make the list of top priorities.  It’s getting a lot of attention in the mainstream media, not just with plants but also humans and animals.  When the new adminstation is in place there will be lots of education to be done to teach staffers just what breeding techniques mean to the industry.

Learn more in this interview:Interview with Andy LaVigne, ASTA

2017 ASTA Annual Meeting Flickr album

Ag Group, AgWired Precision, ASTA, Audio, politics, seed

Bayer Celebrates National Pollinator Week

kelly marshall

To celebrate National Pollinator Week, Bayer Bee Care has granted funding to 58 projects that will focus on forage planting. Projects in more than 30 states and Washington D.C. and will recieve between $1,000 and $5,000 in hopes of meeting Feed a Bee‘s latest initiative of forage planting in every state by the end of 2018.

“It’s thrilling to see so much interest around the country in such a short amount of time,” said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager, Bayer North American Bee Care Program. “We’re more than halfway to accomplishing our goal after the first round of proposals with more than a year and a half left in the initiative. It’s rewarding to see organizations across the country come together with one common goal: providing quality nutrients for pollinators. We look forward to seeing all the creative project ideas yet to come!”

Kickoff for the projects began Saturday, June 17 in Washington D.C. and the first Family Garden Day of 2017. Round one of grant recipients include:

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Agribusiness, AgWired Precision, Bayer, Bees, pollinators