- 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 HandsFreeFarm.com 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 http://DicambaTrainingIowa.org.
- 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.
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: https://www.aem.org/market-data/statistics/us-ag-tractor-and-combine-reports/.
““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
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.”
“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
For more information about Friend Management Systems, visit the website DealerInstitute.org.
- 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.
The 2018 Oklahoma state legislature has seen several bills this session that seek to increase revenue by making tax policy changes that would impact the agriculture industry at an already difficult time, and the Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA) says they expect more such challenges in the future.
WEDA Vice President of Government Affairs Eric Wareham explains that the Oklahoma legislature faced a $400-600 million projected budget gap at the beginning of this year. “Once again legislators have taken to turning over every rock to raise revenue, and the teacher walkout has upped the ante on finding funding sources,” said Wareham.
In Oklahoma, there have been three major bills this legislative session that would impact both farmers and farm equipment dealers. Wareham says one bill would have sunset all tax credits and exemptions by 2021, including the farm equipment sales tax exemption. Another bill would have eliminated the ag sales tax exemption for purchases under $25,000, and the third would repeal the state capital gains exemption. The bills have all been either changed, killed or stalled, thanks to the efforts of WEDA and others.
Wareham says other states, such as Kansas and Oregon, have attempted to take similar actions as commodity prices have dropped in the past few years. “Over the past 4-5 years, net farm income has reduced by 50 percent and therefore (states) are not receiving the money from farmers because they’re just not making it.” But Wareham says trying to “tax your way out of a hole by increasing taxes on the hardest hit segment of the economy” to quote Winston Churchill “that’s like standing in a bucket and trying to pull yourself up by the handles.”
In this interview, Wareham provides an update on the Oklahoma legislation, and comments on the potential for more challenges in the future and how such actions would impact an already depressed farm economy. Interview with WEDA Vice President of Government Affairs Eric Wareham
John D. Lagemann is the new Vice Chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), filling the unexpired officer term of recently retired Jim Walker of CNH Industrial. Lagemann is Deere & Co. Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing-Regions 3 & 4. Lagemann has served in AEM leadership roles since 2001.
AEM has also elected CNH Industrial’s Scott Harris to its Board of Directors, filling Walker’s unexpired 2018 Board term.
“We are very pleased to announce John’s expanded leadership of AEM and welcome Scott to its Board of Directors. Their knowledge and dedication exemplify the active company participation that underpins AEM’s success and growth for its members, the equipment industry and the overall agriculture and construction-related sectors,” said Dennis Slater, AEM president. “We also take this opportunity to publicly thank Jim Walker for his years of leadership as an AEM officer and Board member, and his support of the AEM staff.”
Bayer CropScience is seeing rapid growth in the use of its Credenz soybean varieties. In 2018, Credenz sales broke into the top ten out of more than 150 soybean brands available in the United States.
The strength of the Credenz soybean brand continues to be the fact that it is based on the LibertyLink system, which is outstanding for both weed control and elite genetics, according to Bayer agronomist Monty Malone.
“Going forward, Credenz will remain the same focus of being grower choice. Any trait platform that is in need that can serve as a tool to a grower, we will definitely try to provide that within the Credenz brand,” said Malone, who noted that over 90 percent of the Credenz portfolio is enabled by Liberty.
Malone was at the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim.
Listen to Jamie’s interview with Monty here: Interview with Monty Malone, Bayer – Credenz History
The 8th World Water Forum, held in Brazil last month, drew more than 20,000 participants from 170 countries to focus on the challenges and solutions to ensuring water security around the world. The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska (DWFI) coordinated the Water for Food track of sessions with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The institute organized a High Level Panel on Water for Food, moderated by DWFI executive director Peter G. McCornick, featuring international leaders who shared their views and experiences on ways organizations and nations can work together to improve food security and successful farming production, conserve natural resources and mitigate the effects of climate variability.
“We are building awareness of the urgent importance of looking at water issues differently, especially when it comes to agriculture,” said McCornick. “If we’re not including agriculture in the water security challenge, we’re ignoring 70 percent of the equation, and missing the opportunity to increase resilience in our food systems. Nebraska has a lot of expertise to share, as well as a lot to gain through our involvement with the many partners participating in the World Water Forum – developing potential projects that will further our goal of ensuring water and food security.”
DWFI also held a side event to discuss ways in which organizations can support farmer-led agricultural production, including access to irrigation for small-scale farms.
Listen to my interview with McCornick here: Interview with Peter McCornick, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute
- Dr. Henry Nguyen, a Curators’ distinguished professor of plant sciences in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, has employed NRGene‘s DeNovoMAGICTM to assemble two genomes of soybean: “Lee,” a Glycine max variety, and a Glycine soja accession PI 483463. In addition to the United Soybean Board, funding for the sequencing project was provided by three private companies: Bayer CropScience, DOW AgroSciences and Monsanto.
- Semtech Corporation, a supplier of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms, announced that Teralytic, a manufacturer of wireless soil sensors, implemented LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) in its wireless sensor to detect nitrogen, phosphate and potassium (NPK) levels in soil to help farmers reduce waste and to improve crop yields. Teralytic launched its LoRa-enabled NPK soil sensor at the recent World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in San Francisco on March 20, 2018.
- The National Corn Growers Association partnered with the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to conduct a study on the benefits of poultry exports to corn. The study, conducted by World Perspectives, Inc., entitled “Corn and Poultry: A Great Partnership,” outlined the benefits realized by America’s corn farmers from exports of poultry and eggs.