ZimmComm Announces Summer Intern

maggie-seilerWe are so pleased with the response to our new agri-blogging internship program. It was tough to choose just one for the summer semester, but we finally decided on Maggie Seiler – a sophomore at Kansas State University dual majoring in agricultural communications and journalism and animal sciences and industry.

Maggie grew up on a dairy operation outside of Wichita and has worked for the Kansas Dairy Association and the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, as well as serving as an Agricultural Ambassador and an officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She is very interested in the agriculture use of social media.

“Blogging and the use of social media platforms is becoming an increasingly important part of journalism and the agricultural industry,” Maggie said in her application. “I really appreciate the ability of online platforms and blogs to provide the vital information from agriculture industry meeting to members of the community that cannot physically travel to events. ZimmComm is a company that stays on the cutting-edge of industry developments sharing them with producers. I would really like to be a part of this movement and especially focus on increasing my knowledge of using online platforms to reach out to agriculturists.”

We are not wasting any time getting Maggie on the agri-blogging highway. She will be joining Chuck next week for the 2013 Alltech Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky and you can expect to meet her at other events this summer.

Welcome, Maggie!

Leica Releases SteerDirect ES

LGS_logo_web2Leica Geosystems released Leica SteerDirect ES, the latest retro-fit electric steering system. Customers can install the assisted steering solution effortlessly into all major brands and models. SteerDirect ES reduces input costs and operator fatigue.

The electro-mechanical drive unit is quiet and latches on and off for easy transfer between vehicles. Adding Leica SteerDirect ES doesn’t involve integration into the hydraulic system or dismounting the steering wheel. Compatible with the Leica mojo3D guidance system and the Leica mojoXact the Leica SteerDirect ES offers a universal installation kit and several vehicle specific installation kits including:

• Case IH MX & STX, New Holland TJ & T9000 (Install Kit 805047)
• Case IH Maxxum, MXU & Puma, New Holland TS, T6000 & T7000 (Install Kit 805046)
• John Deere 6000 & 7000 (Install Kit 805048)
• John Deere 6000 Premium & 7000 Premium (Install Kit 806829)
• John Deere 47X0, 4830, 7000, 8000, 8000T, 8R (2010), 9000 & 9000T (Install Kit 805045)

Additional vehicle specific installation kits will be available in the near future.

Have a Sweet Thanksgiving!

Of the many foods we have to be thankful for in this nation, I’ll bet there are lots of people who are thankful every day for the gift of chocolate! Oh yeah!

This is an image of our sweet Thanksgiving greetings sent this year to some of our clients. Hopefully most received them before leaving for the holiday, but if not, it will be waiting for you at your desk on Monday. Some other clients will be receiving a sweet bag of Florida citrus next week. We want you to know how much we appreciate not only your business, but your friendship as well.

We also are very grateful for the hundreds of other business associates and Precision Pays readers that we count as our friends. Wish we could send everyone a whole bushel of Florida citrus and sweet chocolate to let you know how much we appreciate you! You are all in our prayers of gratitude this holiday and we wish you the sweetest joys of the season!

Rabobank’s Gilligan Tapped to Lead Ag Consultants

Paige Gilligan, CAC, a senior vice president with Rabobank, NA, Fresno, Calif., was elected president of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants at the organization’s recent annual meeting.

Gilligan holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She received her Certified Agricultural Consultant designation in 2007. She is currently the Director of Collateral Valuation & Field Services for Rabobank, N.A. and is responsible for all of the bank’s appraisal functions as well as collateral verification services for both agricultural and commercial clients.

Other newly elected officers for ASAC are: President-Elect Russell Morgan, CAC, Covenant Accounting and Tax Services, PLLC, Paducah, KY; Vice President Norman Brown, FBS Systems, Inc., Aledo, IL; Chief Financial Officer Erin Pirro, Farm Credit East, Enfield, CT, and; Immediate Past Gary Wagner, CAC, Great Earth Agri-Business, Inc., Madison, WI.

Elected to the Board of Directors was Joseph Kluender, CAC, Farm Family Dynamics, LLC, North Mankato, MN; and, Angie Vandergriff, Weaver Boos Consultants, LLC, Ft. Worth, TX. Continuing in terms on the Board are: Robert Mehrle, Ph.D., CAC, Agricultural Information Management, Lambert, MS, and; Robert E. Lee, CAC, Lee Agribusiness Connections, Inc., Harrison, ME.

New Website Boosts AgGateway Strategic Plan

AgGateway has revised and re-launched its corporate website (www.AgGateway.org) to support its 2013-15 strategic plan. The new website is easier for members and prospective members to navigate, and contains additional information on how and why agricultural companies should engage in eBusiness efforts. The site also unveils AgGateway’s new tagline, “Collaboration for eConnectivity”.

The strategic plan, developed by AgGateway members, contains four main objectives: 1) Promote the value and benefits of eBusiness and membership in AgGateway; 2) Reduce implementation barriers for companies of all sizes; 3) Become a valued partner to other industry groups; and 4) Develop and maintain strong councils and committees.

More information on AgGateway’s strategic plan and current initiatives will be presented this week at the AgGateway Annual Conference (Nov. 6-8) in Albuquerque.

Winterize Farm Equipment With Slip Plate

With the fall harvest ending in the near future it’s time to look at winterizing all that equipment. That means you need a good lubricant and that means you might want to check out Slip Plate. You can find out all they ways you can use this product from Superior Graphite on their website. Go ahead. Visit now. Here are a few places where you can use Slip Plate:

SLIP Plate dry film graphite coatings (SLIP Plate No. 1, SLIP Plate No. 3, SLIP Plate No. 4, and SLIP Plate Aerosol) significantly reduce sliding friction on corn picker heads, combine cutter bars, hay elevators, planter plates, hay bailers, gravity wagons, and many more applications around the farm.

Slip Plate is a dry lubricant that is very environmentally friendly unlike petroleum based products. More reasons to use Slip Plate!

I visited with Barry Lee, Superior Graphite, once again to talk about Slip Plate products for the agricultural market. This is part of a periodic series of interviews I’m doing to help the ag industry come to know this company and their products. In our interview Barry not only talks about products for specific farm applications but also one I think you hunters our there should know about and that is Black Ice.

A unique formulation combining a unique solvent cleaner with a friction reducing mineral that first cleans the surface, and then deposits a layer of pure, lubricous graphite powder.

This makes it perfect for gun cleaning!

Our discussion also focused on “What’s inside a can of graphite?” You might think all cans of graphite are the same but they are not. Barry did some research on this subject that finds two things that govern the performance of the graphite product you are using: amount of graphite and the type of graphite. You can find details of his research findings on the Slip Plate website.

Listen to my interview with Barry here: Interview with Barry Lee

DPAC Awarded Training Program Grants

The Dakota Precision Ag Center (DPAC) has been awarded two grants totaling $3.28 million for the development of training programs in precision agriculture. DPAC will develop the programs to help fill in-demand jobs requiring high skill level in precision ag technologies and enhance current workplace training at North Dakota agribusinesses and implement dealers.

Precision ag includes remote sensing or GPS; soil and grid sampling; and information management tools.

Currently nationwide there are 8,000 unfilled positions requiring knowledge in precision ag but not enough people with the right skill sets to fill those openings.

One of the grants comes from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant’s $2.99 million will fund training to recent veterans or workers who are currently unemployed due to foreign trade. DPAC plans to provide training through this program from Minnesota to Wyoming.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce’s grant for $288,600 will provide additional education for workers already employed in agriculture.

Monsanto Commits to Invest An Acre Program

In keeping with the company’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and improving lives, Monsanto Company is partnering in Invest an Acre, which is focused on addressing rural hunger in America.

In partnership with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Feeding America and Archer Daniels Midland Company, Monsanto is proud to be the first seed company to join the program and match the contributions of U.S. farmers who are working to fight hunger in their own communities.

The Invest an Acre program is the first effort of its kind to mobilize farmers, agri-business and a nonprofit on a national scale to support rural hunger relief. Through the program, participating farmers can go to an ADM elevator to invest a portion of the proceeds from their harvest to support their local food bank connected with Feeding America.

Monsanto will support Invest an Acre through a $3 million contribution, in which the company will match the contributions of U.S. farmers, dollar for dollar.

Benefits of Long-Range Forecasts

MDA EarthSat Weather and EarthRisk Technologies, a pioneer in the research, analysis and visualization of extreme temperature and weather pattern risks, announced a strategic partnership. Under the partnership, MDA EarthSat Weather will distribute EarthRisk’s cutting-edge weather risk platform to help traders in natural gas, power, and agriculture sectors project extreme weather patterns up to 40 days in advance.

Powering the alliance is EarthRisk’s newly developed TempRisk 4.0 software platform. TempRisk views the atmosphere at both high and low altitudes around the globe for variables ranging from pressure patterns and jet stream position to air temperature and thunderstorm activity. Analysis of these variables against historical weather records dating back more than 60 years results in improved risk assessment for either extreme cold or heat for regions of interest. TempRisk 4.0 has incorporated a new comprehensive empirical forecast model that intelligently combines the most important signals for a specific region and forecast window, significantly improving accuracy over analog methods alone.

SPADE Project Seeks to Improve Data Exchange Processes

AgGateway’s Precision Ag Council has launched a new project that will improve the data exchange processes that drive the use of precision agriculture field equipment for such major operations as seeding, tillage, spraying, fertilizing and harvesting. The Standardized Precision Ag Data Exchange (SPADE) project is intended to streamline and encourage adoption of precision ag practices.

Currently, costs for exchanging data in the world of precision agriculture are high due to the lack of common implementation guidelines, data transfer protocols, message standards and standard reference data. Producers report that it is difficult or nearly impossible to move data from one system to another.

The ultimate objective of the project is to make the benefits of precision ag available to all growers and ag retailers. This will be done by reducing the complexity of the process and lowering the cost of entry.

Companies interested in joining the SPADE project should contact Marilyn Hunter, AgGateway’s Enabling Services Director at Marilyn@aggateway.org.

Topcon partners with PrecisionAg Institute

Topcon Precision Agriculture has announced support for the PrecisionAg Institute, the industry’s independent global initiative dedicated to the sharing of precision agriculture practices, ideas, research, products, services and success stories.

The company has joined as a “PrecisionAg Institute Partner,” reinforcing its commitment to the greater adoption and efficient, effective use of precision agriculture technology. Topcon joins other leading agricultural companies and will be providing guidance and counsel as activities and initiatives move forward in the months ahead.

AgGateway’s New Grain Council

AgGateway recently launched a new Grain Council in order to identify, develop and implement standards and guidelines to bring eBusiness efficiencies to grain, oilseed and renewable-fuel companies.

The new Grain Council will work to identify and define industry business processes, electronic business messages, and information standards that support those processes. Importantly – as with other AgGateway councils, the Grain Council charter includes the commitment from participating parties to follow through and integrate standards-based messaging into their business processes.

Kinze’s Autonomous Harvest System

Kinze Manufacturing, Inc. has continued its progress on Kinze Autonomy, refining the capabilities of its groundbreaking autonomous row-crop solution and undertaking release previews on three large Illinois farms this harvest season. The system was recently showcased for the first time at a farm in Monmouth, Ill.

As the world’s first large-scale, truly autonomous row-crop solution, Kinze’s autonomous system is capable of completing many tasks with minimal direct human input, including planting, nourishing, maintaining and harvesting crops.

Follow: The autonomous grain cart system follows the combine through the field at a safe distance.
Unload: When the combine operator is ready to unload the grain into the cart, they press the “Unload” button on their tablet. The autonomous grain cart system then speeds up and pulls alongside the combine, matching its speed to the combine’s and positioning the cart under the combine unload auger. The combine operator can then start filling the cart.
Park: After unloading, the combine operator can instruct the autonomous grain cart system to return to the edge of the field. From there, the cart can be unloaded into a semi-trailer for the grain to be hauled away from the field.
Idle: When instructed, the system will come to a controlled stop at its current location and wait for further instruction.

As farm communities shrink and farmers face increasing challenges finding skilled labor during the harvest season, Kinze Autonomy aims to help them work as efficiently as possible. The autonomous grain cart system allows farmers to keep their combine running during the brief harvest window without needing an extra person in the field to run the tractor and cart. Even better, the grain cart system never gets tired, and will operate as precisely at the end of the day as the beginning. For farmers who need to burn the midnight oil to get their harvest in, the autonomous grain cart is an able partner.