GROWMARK on Board with ResponsibleAg

responsibleagThe Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently announced the selection of individuals to serve on the newly formed ResponsibleAg Board of Directors.

The nine representatives include:
– Alicia Duke, Director, Health and Safety, Simplot
– Justin Gough, Director, Agricultural Products, LSB/El Dorado Chemical Company
– Dave Ito, Manager, Human Resources & Regulatory Affairs, Lyman/Tremont Group
– Pete Mutschler, Environmental and Safety Director, CHS Inc.
– Tim McArdle, Executive Vice President & COO, Brandt Consolidated, Inc.
– Rosemary O’Brien, Vice President, Public Affairs, CF Industries, Inc.
– Billy Pirkle, Sr. Director, Environmental, Health & Safety, Crop Production Services
– Scott Rawlins, Director, Regulatory & Governmental Affairs, Wilbur-Ellis Company
– Rod Wells, Manager, Plant Food Division, GROWMARK, Inc.

Wells says it’s important for GROWMARK to be involved in this non-profit organization designed to work with retailers ensuring best practices are in place providing a safe product to the consumer.

“This is an industry led initiative,” said Rod. “We want to demonstrate that we are doing the right things, that we are operating safety, we’re complying with regulations, that we are accountable. We feel like ResponsibleAg is a very transparent way to show that we are committed, compliant, and safe operators in the communities that we serve.”

You can listen to an interview with Rod here: Interview with Rod Wells, GROWMARK

The board of directors for ResponsibleAg will meet next month to finalize bi-laws, an operating budget, elect officers and begin looking for a business manager to oversee the day to day operations of the new organization.

ResponsibleAg is an independent, not-for-profit organization designed to support fertilizer retailers’ compliance with federal safety and security regulations. Under ResponsibleAg, retail fertilizer dealerships will have access to comprehensive inspections based on federal regulatory requirements. The inspections will be carried out by trained auditors who will have successfully completed an intensive training course based on the objectives of ResponsibleAg.

BASF and the Advanced Acre Hick Chick Chat

11326519286_c9a07ae0bf_oAt an event not too long ago BASF Crop Protection discussed the Science Behind: the Advanced Acre. Three different growers from distinct parts of the country talked about their operations. Whether it be feedlot, dairy heifer replacement, corn, beans, wheat, sunflowers or millet they use some of the same practices and rely on their BASF counterparts to help them make the best decisions for their operation.

12816088005_bb58a73361_mNot all farming operations are created equal. TJ Shambaugh grows corn and beans in Central Illinois along with his dad and son. Alex Rock comes from Northeast Colorado where they are farming a lot of dry land with irrigation and raising cattle in their feedlot operation. Not all irrigation systems are created the same, Matt Miles in Southeastern Arkansas farms using a different style irrigation with on his 4th generation farm. I had a chance to talk with all three growers about how their operations work, what makes them different and successful. Pictured here from left to right, Matt Miles, Alex Rock, TJ Shambaugh, Scott Kay (BASF, VP Crop Protection), AJ Woodyard (BASF Technical Crop Production Specialist).

You can listen to the Hick Chick Chat with TJ, Alex and Matt Here: Hick Chick Chat; BASF, the Science behind the Advanced Acre

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Registration Open for Mid-Year Meeting

AgGateway_LogoRegistration is now open for AgGateway’s 2014 Mid-Year Meeting, to be held June 9-12, 2014, at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. AgGateway’s more than 200 member companies use this working meeting to advance efforts to enable eBusiness in agriculture, resulting in improved business efficiencies and better use of ag technology. Current work spans the areas of precision ag, crop nutrition, crop protection, ag retail, seed, grain and feed, as well as supporting initiatives from allied providers to the industry.

In addition to ample networking opportunities at the Mid-Year Meeting, attendees will hear general session presentations by Kathy Mathers, vice president of public affairs for The Fertilizer Institute, on the Responsible Ag Initiative; and from Tom Sell, co-founder and managing partner of Combest, Sell & Associates, on ramifications of the new farm bill.

The registration fee for the meeting is only $75, discounted to $50 for first-time attendees. AgGateway keeps the registration fee low to facilitate participation, and so that those who are curious about eBusiness and the organization can see AgGateway in action.

“Join us at this meeting to network and to learn from others that are already seeing the immense benefits of electronic connectivity between trading partners,” said AgGateway CEO Rod Conner. “And for our members, this is a great opportunity to invite colleagues and trading partners to see what AgGateway is all about.”

AgGateway encourages attendees to register and reserve their hotel rooms early, in order to ensure a place at the meeting and at the best hotel rate. A list of hotels with negotiated rates and reservation information is available on the Mid-Year Meeting web page under “Events” at www.AgGateway.org.

iCropTrak Makes WagNet Irrigation & Field Data Mobile

AgSense PressiCropTrak Mobile Farm Management announces support for Agsense WagNet network for pivot irrigation and soil sensor monitoring. iCroptrak automatically integrates the WagNet water and soil sensor data with your farming data to help farmers make better decisions and monitoring your irrigation efforts painless.

With water restrictions and sustainable farming playing an ever-growing role in farming, iCropTrak integrated one of the leading irrigation monitoring applications to automatically populate irrigation efforts and allows them to be reviewed easily with your other field data.

iCropTrak cloud talks directly with WagNet network to capture a farmer’s pivot and soil moisture sensor probe data. Formatting the WagNet data to be loaded onto the iCropTrak mobile platform for access while in the field. Allowing the farmer to combine soil, farming, harvest, weather, zone, and irrigation data together to make informed decision.

To learn more about iCropTrak mobile farm management capabilities including automated data entry support for MyJohnDeere.com and Weather Underground data feeds by visiting our website at www.iCropTrak.com and contact our sales team at Contact@Cogent3D.com.

GEOSYS, Tavant Technologies Enter Partnership

GEOSYS Inc., the global leader in remote sensing for agriculture and Tavant Technologies, a global technology solutions company involved in some of the latest GEOSYS innovations, announced today a preferred partner agreement. The agreement recognizes the success both businesses have experienced working together on GEOSYS products; the award-winning R7® Tool iPad app developed for WinField Solutions is the most recent example. R7® has received the 2013 FINovation award from Farm Industry News and the Agricultural Retailers Association Technology Award presented in partnership with AgGateway.

“The collaboration with Tavant is a prime example of GEOSYS working with best in class experts to help increase our ability to deliver innovations for customers. Getting the power of the tools we have developed into the hands of the users is critical to our success. Tavant helps us deliver,” said Norm Davy, vice president of GEOSYS.

GEOSYS will continue to leverage Tavant expertise to develop new innovative applications for advancing its decision support tools for agriculture.

“Our leading edge technology expertise, particularly in Mobility and Big Data, and deep understanding of the agricultural technology industry has enabled us to turn complex data and processes into actionable tools for our customers,” said Manish Arya, CTO of Tavant Technologies. “We are excited about this strategic partnership. It formalizes our working relationship and recognizes that each company benefits from this dynamic collaboration.”

Registration Open for Delta AgTech Symposium

Delta_AgTech_color_croppedUnmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have become one of the hottest topics in agriculture today. With predictions that up to 80 percent of future commercial usage of UAVs will be in the agriculture sector, farmers, researchers and industry professionals alike are curious about the technologies and applications on the horizon.

Registration is now open for the Delta AgTech Symposium — a two-day conference set for July 7-8 at Agricenter International in Memphis — that will bring together farmers and the businesses who serve them, along with UAV manufacturers and dealers, to collectively explore how this technology can be integrated into farming practices. The conference is hosted by Entira, an agricultural marketing and management firm with support from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are also available for this unique conference. Visit the website or contact Kelli Polatty at kpolatty@entira.net. Attendees and exhibitors who register online before May 15 are eligible for a 5 percent discount.

“We’re excited about the interest in the conference across all sectors of agriculture,” said Mike Karst, senior partner at Entira. “The lineup of speakers and demonstrations will give attendees a valuable preview into the technologies that may be available to them in coming years.”

Several industry leading speakers have been confirmed, with more to be announced in coming weeks. Confirmed speakers include:
– Kyle Snyder, Director of the NextGen Air Transportation Center, Institute of Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University
– Gretchen West, Executive Vice President of Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)
– T.J. Agresti, CEO of RoboFlight Systems

Childress: Ethanol a Winner for Racers & Farmers

childress-testThe Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing this week on advanced biofuels. One of the witnesses at the hearing was NASCAR team owner Richard Childress who talked about the many benefits of corn-based biofuels, such as the higher fuel performance he has seen in more than five million miles of racing since the E15 ethanol blend was introduced in the 2011 racing season.

“When they decided to go with an ethanol-blend of fuel, in 2010, NASCAR started looking at what was the correct blend to use. After many tests, they came up with E15,” Childress said, pointing out that his own racing team tested up to E30 blends, which he believes would be even better. “Nothing but positive results came out of our tests. Engines ran cooler, ethanol makes more octane so it makes more horsepower, less carbon buildup, better emissions, and our parts when we tore the engines down looked much better.”

Childress, who has also been in the farming business for 30 years, says he knows what it’s like for farmers.

“Ethanol is definitely a great plus for our farmers in America today.”

Listen to all of Childress’ remarks here: NASCAR team owner Richard Childress testifying before Senate Agriculture Committee

Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says advanced biofuels are here now, and they are an important part of the energy title in the recently passed farm bill.

“The Energy Title funds critical programs that helps our farmers produce energy from non-food sources and helps companies get low-interest loans for those facilities, and of course, all that creates jobs,” Stabenow said, adding that to continue to grow the industry, there needs to be policies that support it. She said passing the Farm Bill was a strong first step toward to that goal. “Now we need to provide certainty through a strong Renewable Fuels Standard and tax credits to support long-term investments in our energy future.”

Hear more of what Stabenow had to say here: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chair of Senate Agriculture Committee

NCGA Supports Federal GMO Labeling Legislation

ncgaThe National Corn Growers Association announced its support for legislation introduced at a press conference today that would establish a federal standard for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients.

“The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act provides certainty for both consumers and farmers alike by creating a unified, science-based approach to labeling and eliminating potential risks and costs posed by an expensive patchwork of labeling laws,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a farmer from Carmi, Ill. “NCGA’s more than 40,000 members work tirelessly to provide America’s families with a wide variety of nutritious, quality food choices that are both safe and affordable. A federal GMO labeling solution will allow consumers to feel confident in the safety of American food by affirming the FDA’s sole authority in food safety and labeling decisions. We applaud Reps. Mike Pompeo (R- Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D- N.C.) as well as Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) who introduced this legislation, for their work on behalf of families and farmers.”

The legislation introduced will protect consumers and ensure the safety of food ingredients using solid, science-based information by providing a consistent, informative GMO labeling solution that eliminates confusion and advances food safety.

In setting out a federal labeling system, it reaffirms the FDA as the nation’s authority for the use and labeling of GMO food ingredients while providing consumers greater confidence by establishing a required FDA safety review process for all new GMO traits. Notably, the FDA would have the authority to mandate the labeling of any GMO food ingredients it determines would create a health, safety or nutrition issue.

The legislation would also empower the FDA to provide greater consistency in the market by defining the term “natural” for its use on food and beverage products. The clear definition of this commonly used term would offer consumers clarity about products allowing them to base choices on information verified instead of marketing claims.

“America’s corn farmers want the same things as families across the country. We want to keep families safe and protect our nation’s food supply,” said Barbre. “That is why we believe it is imperative important decisions about our safety and how we label what we eat should remain in the hands of experts, the scientists at the FDA. NCGA supports the Congressmen’s effort to ensure America’s food supply remains safe and America’s consumers have access to clear, consistent information based in reputable science.”

For more information about GMOs and the need for a federal labeling standard, visit www.CFSAF.org.

Proper Preparation Best for Propane Equipment

Propane-Council logoSpring is in the air, and planting is either started or getting ready to get started across the country. The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is urging farmers who use their fuel to make sure spring preparation includes prepping that propane-fueled equipment.

Irrigation Engines
After a long winter, rodents, debris, and exposure to the elements are the most common source of engine issues, said Pete Stout, product manager for Origin Engines. Stout encourages farmers to refer to their product manuals for maintenance needs specific to their engine models, and offers these tips for preparing irrigation engines for spring planting:

* Disconnect the engine battery and check battery voltage.
* Clear away any dirt and debris that have collected on and around the engine. Pay special attention to clutch bellhousings, radiator shrouds, and wire harnesses.
* Inspect wire harnesses for cracked or exposed wires and make repairs if necessary.
* Check front drive belts for proper tension and wear.
“I also urge farmers to place engines inside of structures, such as a simple carport style shelter, for the summer growing season,” Stout said. “UV sunlight and general exposure to extreme weather can be tough on engine power units.”

PERC goes on to suggest that before that spring storm rolls through and knocks out power, propane generators are checked and cleaned. Pickup trucks running on the clean fuel also need to be properly maintained to get the most out of the efficiency propane autogas can bring. The same goes for forklifts and other propane-powered equipment.

In addition, you can check out PERC’s Propane Farm Incentive Program, which could make up to $5,000 available to farmers who switch to propane. More information is available here.

Iowa Corn Promotion Board Receives U.S. Patent

IowaCornPromotionBoard_CMYK_4F1DB6BE3EF0DThe Iowa Corn Promotion Board is the recipient of a newly issued patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This is the first U.S. patent that the Board has received for its work in nitrogen use efficiency in corn and related to transgenic plants that have increased nitrogen use efficiency, and/or increased yield using a patented gene. Specifically, patent 8,692,070, Plants with Improved Nitrogen Utilization and Stress Tolerance demonstrates Iowa Corn’s commitment to improving farmer productivity even to the gene level.

“The Iowa Corn Promotion Board collaborated with Strathkirn Inc. and Athenix Corp. to develop improved corn plants that are more efficient in using nitrogen fertilizer,” said Larry Klever, a farmer from Audubon and chair of the Iowa Corn Research and Business Development Committee. “This new trait could result in improved economics on the farm, reduced impact on the environment and reduced energy requirements to grow a corn crop.”

The objectives of the research are either to increase yield without increasing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer or obtain the same yield with less fertilizer. Data indicates this patented gene assimilates more nitrogen and increases kernel number, which could translate to greater yields for Iowa farmers.

By patenting this technology, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board is able to provide protection for partners who would like to license this technology. “The goal is to get this trait licensed and commercialized by seed companies for commercialization so that farmers, like me, can benefit,” said Klever.

The Plants with Improved Nitrogen Utilization and Stress Tolerance patent number is 8,692,070 and was issued on April 8, 2014. A patent for this technology has also been awarded to the Iowa Corn Promotion Board by South Africa. Patents for this gene in other countries are still pending approval of the respective patent offices.

Economic Impact of Ag Equipment Industry

aem_logo2The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has just released a new in-depth analysis of of the impact of the agricultural equipment industry on the American economy.

The white paper quantifies the many economic impacts of the manufacturing, distribution, and use of agriculture equipment and machinery from 2011 and figured the total economic footprint of the agricultural industry – including upstream and downstream industries – at $51 billion.

“The purpose of this white paper is to provide a better look at the agriculture equipment industry’s effect on U.S. workers and our economy as a whole, with an eye toward better arming our policy makers in Washington with the information they need to make sound policy decisions that impact this critical sector,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “This kind of information is vital to accurately assessing the potential long-term consequences of decisions being weighed as we are debating issues such as the renewable fuels standard and international trade agreements that directly impact the future of American agriculture.”

Among the Top Ten Takeaways of the paper:

In 2011, 78,200 people were directly employed in U.S. farm equipment manufacturing, while another 52,300 were indirectly employed in other manufacturing activities to support materials and parts used by the industry.

Overall, the agricultural equipment cluster employed almost 377,000 workers in 2011, representing a footprint of more than half of the total population of Washington, D.C.

View the Top Ten Takeaways and the full Report here.

Hick Chick Chat about Norman Borlaug

11326519286_c9a07ae0bf_oBack in early October, I got an email from Cindy asking if I would be available to join her in Des Moines for the World Food Prize. Of course I was available, but what on earth is the World Food Prize. I did some Google research, I had seen our agenda, but I really had NO clue what I was about to learn and hear in downtown Des Moines. I kept telling Cindy that I was totally fascinated by the sheer knowledge I was gaining. At some points I think she wanted to choke me if I said “this is fascinating” one more time. Truth be told, I’d never heard of Norman Borlaug, the Borlaug Dialogue and had no idea what I was getting myself into. Boy, did that all change.

normAs the week went on and I started to learn more about the players and was a bit star struck when Julie Borlaug was on our same elevator on the way to one of our functions. Truth About Trade and Technology had allowed me to meet and interact with farmers from around the globe and learn more about each of them. They truly were a fun group to meet and spend time with. But Dr. Borlaug, his legacy and seeing a man I had interviewed many times in my radio days, Dr. Robb Fraley be honored as one of the laureates; the puzzle pieces all began to come together. I can’t say anything more about Dr. Borlaug than what the folks who were on-hand at the installation in the nation’s capital did.

You can listen to the Hick Chick Chat of the Norman Borlaug statue installation: Hick Chick Chat Dr.Norman Borlaug Statue Installation

Borlaug Statue Unveiling Photo Album

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BASF Offers Advice for Early Weed Control

Experts agree the best way to improve yields, control weeds and fight resistance is early season weed control.

bryan-young“Effective weed management today means starting the growing season with a clean weed-free seedbed,” said Bryan Young, Ph.D., Associate Professor of weed science, Purdue University. “That typically means tillage in corn and in some cases a spring burndown in soybeans. Then make sure that the field stays clean from that point forward throughout the season. Residual herbicides are critically important in helping us reduce weed competition to optimize crop yields and to improve control of our most problematic weeds.”

Dr. Young offered his weed control advice during a Commodity Classic seminar sponsored by BASF Crop Protection entitled “Clean Fields, High Yields: The Keys to Solving Your Weed Problems in 2014.” He notes that early season weed control is not only an effective strategy for combating weeds at their easiest stages, but it can also help in the fight against weed resistance.

“When you have weeds resistant to glyphosate and are utilizing different herbicide chemistries, a two-inch weed might be the maximum height you can control with the herbicide,” explained Young. “We’ve seen resistance happen before and it’s too risky to allow these weeds to emerge and depend solely on the timing of a post-emergence herbicide. For some weeds, we don’t have effective post-emergence herbicide options, it’s all about never letting these weeds get a start.”

BASFBASF Technical Market Manager Mark Oostlander recommends using a preplant or preemergence herbicide with residual control to get the season off to a clean start.

“Early in the season, weeds aren’t taking as many important resources such as water, sun and nutrients from your crops as they will later in the season,” said Oostlander. “Controlling weeds in the beginning is the most efficient and cost-effective step you can take in weed control.”

For the latest Advanced Weed Control tips based on geography, weed pressure and crop, visit advancedweedcontrol.basf.us.

Corn Growers, NASCAR Aim to Make April Greener

nascarracetogreen1Corn growers across the country are either busy planting or getting ready to plant. A little different initiative also shows their environmental concern. This month, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is joining NASCAR for the second year of the NASCAR Race to Green Campaign.

The goal of NASCAR Race to Green is to highlight the accomplishments of NASCAR Green™ programs like the move three years ago to Sunoco Green E15, a fuel blended with 15 percent American Ethanol, and its massive tree planting initiative to help reduce the sport’s carbon footprint.

“American Ethanol is a key part of NASCAR’s efforts to reduce the sport’s carbon footprint,” said Jon Holzfaster, a Paxton, Neb., farmer and chairman of NCGA’s NASCAR Advisory Committee. “These high-performance cars have put more than five million tough competition miles on E15 in the last three years, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. Combine this with the massive tree planting effort underway, and the results are phenomenal.”

American Ethanol, which is supported by corn checkoff investments and ethanol plant members of Growth Energy, has committed to plant 50 trees for every American Ethanol Green Flag waved during NASCAR’s national series races in the month of April.

The NASCAR Race to Green program runs through April 25. More information is available at http://green.nascar.com/.

Extended Tech Support Hours

Insights Weekly Whether it’s good (hopefully!), bad or “help me before I throw this thing out into the field and run over it”, Ag Leader’s customer support staff wants to hear from you. And during busy seasons such as planting and harvest, customer support specialists are on hand extended hours to be sure that across all time zones, day or night, if you have a question in the field you can get an answer over the phone.

They may be called the silent heroes of the day, but Jordan Dittmer, Ag Leader Machine Guidance Support Supervisor, says, “We’re here to help. If you have something going on and you don’t tell us, we can’t help you. We want to hear from you.”

Listen to Dittmer explain

So think of these silent heroes as your next door neighbor, even though they may be thousands of miles away. In fact, most of the support staff are farmers just like you!

Listen to Dittmer explain

You can find Ag Leader’s 2014 Tech Support Extended Hours schedule here.

On behalf of Ag Leader’s support team, we wish you a safe, successful 2013 planting season!

Become a fan of Ag Leader on Facebook today, and get the latest precision ag videos on the YouTube channel. For more information about Ag Leader products and services, or to visit the blog site, go to www.agleader.com.