Florida Dairy Farmers Release New iPad App

image003Kids, adults and educators alike can now learn about dairy farming in an exciting way through the Florida Dairy Farmers new iPad app, SunnyBell’s Florida Dairy Farm Adventure. The free app that can be downloaded from iTunes, is a fun, interactive romp through a Florida dairy farm.

SunnyBell – a little calf who longs to be an important part of the dairy farm, teaches kids about nutritious milk and where it comes from. The story is interactive and immersive, while kids learn about how a dairy farm works. The app also includes sing-along “moo”sicals, word-search puzzles, coloring pages and quizzes.

SunnyBell’s Florida Dairy Farm Adventure app is not only great for kids of all ages, but is also an exceptional educational tool for parents and educators, and uses games and songs to improve cognitive abilities in kids.

“The SunnyBell app shares the experience of life on a Florida dairy farm while reinforcing the message of where our milk comes from. Children are easily engaged, via educational songs and games that boast interactive animation, while learning about the importance of dairy foods in the diet,” says Alyssa Greenstein, registered dietitian with Florida Dairy Farmers. “As a registered dietitian and mother of three, I especially enjoy the fact that the SunnyBell app helps kids and adults separate nutrition from fads and misinformation.”

To download the free app, visit www.floridamilk.com and check out our new Kids Corner where you can learn, play and grow with SunnyBell.

Geographical Information Systems Training Course

The Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources is conducting an Introduction to ArcGIS 10 training course on March 24 & 25 in College Station, TX. The two-day course will be 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days in Room 200 of the Centeq Building, in Texas A&M University’s Research Park.

The course will teach the range of functionality of the software and the essential tools for visualizing, creating, managing and analyzing geographic data, according to Amy Snelgrove, a program manager for the institute and instructor for the course. Snelgrove has both Certified GIS Professional and Comptia Certified Technical Training certifications.

“The exercises of this hands-on course emphasize practice with ArcMap and ArcCatalog to perform common GIS tasks and workflows,” Snelgrove said. “Students will learn the tools for creating and managing geographic data, displaying data on maps in different ways, and combining and analyzing data to discover patterns and relationships. By the end of the course, they will be prepared to work with the software on their own.”

Register online at irnr.tamu.edu/arcgis. Registration is $500 and includes refreshments, course material and a certificate of completion. Seats are limited.

Snelgrove said three additional 2014 dates are set for the course at the same location in College Station: May 13-14, July 29-30 and Oct. 8-9. On-site training can also be scheduled by contacting Snelgrove at amy-snelgrove@tamu.edu.

Student’s Idea Leads to Business and Scholarship

classic14-basf-soyAn idea that started back when he was just an elementary school student has led a Tennessee high schooler to picking up a substantial scholarship that he says will help him further his own energy business. Caleb Brannon of Puryear, Tenn. was selected as the recipient of the 2014-2015 ASA Secure Optimal Yield (SOY) Scholarship, a $5,000 award presented to an outstanding high school senior who has achieved high academic and leadership requirements, and is planning to pursue a degree in an agriculture-related field at an accredited college or university.

“I’m really thankful to the American Soybean Association and BASF who were so generous in this scholarship,” he says. Brannon, a senior at Calloway County High School, will pursue a degree in agricultural business at Murray State University, Murray, Ky. beginning this fall. He already has his very own business, Brannon Agri-Energy, a company focusing on cellulosic ethanol that he actually thought up way back in the fifth grade!

“Our family farm was in a partnership with the University of Tennessee to grow switchgrass in a pilot program to be bailed and put in a coal-fired plant [in Alabama].” While other area farmers gave up after a few years, it led Brannon to researching other crops for what is now his cellulosic ethanol business, finding his own markets.

He adds that the scholarship money will free up what he would have spent on college to invest back into his business. But he says this is more than just his future; it’s the Nation’s future.

“I want to help our country become just a little bit more energy independent. That’s really important to me.”

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Brannon here: Interview with BASF SOY Scholarship Winner

BASF at the 2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Coverage is sponsored by John Deere

Texas Tech $19.3 Million from Bayer CropScience

Texas Tech and Bayer AnnouncementBayer CropScience contributes $19.3 million to Texas Tech University to benefit research programs and projects in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

The contribution has been submitted for an equal amount of state matching funding from the Texas Research Incentive Program and would increase the total to nearly $40 million. The largest cash investment for research in the history of Texas Tech.

“Today’s announcement continues a productive and valuable research collaboration between Texas Tech University and Bayer CropScience,” said Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance, who has been working on this contribution with Scott Cooksey, interim vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement, for three years.

Research developments in the Department of Plant and Soil Science (PSS), including an endowed chair in PSS, a fellowship endowment for graduate students and new research facilities and space in PSS will all be supported by the funds.

“We are so pleased at the opportunity to continue to build our relationship with Texas Tech University,” said Mike Gilbert, vice president for Global Breeding and Trait Development, Bayer CropScience. “It will take multiple companies and institutions to address all the challenges agriculture will face in the future. Bayer CropScience is committed to research and development through collaborations such as this, and Texas Tech shares these same commitments. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship that will impact agriculture in ways we can’t even imagine today.”

View the complete release here.

2014 National Agriculture Education Summit

ffaHundreds of agricultural education thought leaders, higher-education executives and business professionals will converge on Indianapolis next week for a three-day summit focusing on the future of experiential learning in school-based agricultural education.

A joint project of the National Council for Agricultural Education and the National FFA Organization, the 2014 National Agriculture Education Summit is Jan. 28-30. The theme of this year’s event, held at the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing located at 8787 Keystone Crossing, will focus on renewal of experiential learning and supervised agricultural experiences within agricultural education.

During the three-day summit, updates will be provided from national agricultural education organizations, including the American Association for Agricultural Education, on plans to support local implementation of supervised agriculture experiences for all students. Highlights of how educators have creatively engaged students in experiential learning regardless of backgrounds will be shared and discussions will focus on resources available and resources needed to help educators overcome barriers to engage more students.

The summit also provides National FFA Organization leaders the opportunity to get together with national agricultural education groups and discuss future programming and activities. It also provides the opportunity for FFA leaders to provide updates on state and national FFA officer training programs; the National FFA Convention and Expo, which is the single-largest annual student gathering in the nation and last year drew nearly 63,000 students; national award and leadership programs; teacher training; and best practices to gain increased adoption of the Agricultural Career Network, a national online portal for students to use to develop their educational and career timelines, document awards and achievements, apply for scholarships and pursue careers in the agriculture industry.

The 2014 National Agriculture Education Summit will be streamed online at iHigh.com/FFA and action can be followed on Twitter at #AgEdSummit.

SDSU Creates World’s First Multi-Hybrid Planter

SDSUA collaborative effort at South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences has produced the world’s first multi-hybrid planter to create advancement in precision agriculture.

When SDSU plant scientist, Peter Sexton, needed a new row-crop planter at the Agricultural
Experiment Station’s Southeast Research Farm near Beresford, he looked to the future – in terms of equipment and networking.

With support from the Southeast Experiment Farm board, the nonprofit growers’ corporation that owns the farm, Sexton and SDSU forged a partnership with Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries and DuPont Pioneer. Their collaboration resulted in a twin-row planter with the ability to automatically switch hybrids while seeding on-the-go based on GPS mapping of the field.

Through an agreement signed in the summer of 2012, Raven Industries donated the engineering time to customize the planter. Sexton described what he wanted the planter to do and then Raven engineers developed those capabilities.

“This is a great model of industry partnering with public entities,” says Raven Industries Product Manager Douglas Prairie, citing his company’s emphasis on innovation. Sexton gave Raven engineers feedback as they developed the hydraulic drives, control system and software to modify the Monosem planter.

In addition to the fields planted at the Southeast Research Farm near Beresford, test plots were sown on private farms near Parkston, Tripp, Lennox and Baltic. To select the appropriate corn and soybean hybrids for the fields that SDSU mapped, Sexton turned to DuPont Pioneer.

Pioneer agreed to supply the seed and made recommendations, according to DuPont Pioneer agronomy research manager Barry Anderson. The data from this research will “give us a chance to understand how our products perform,” he explains. “It’s nice when we as a seed industry can team up not only with the university but also with manufacturers. That doesn’t always happen.”

The information gleaned from field trials planted using this first-of-its-kind multi-hybrid planter will allow SDSU researchers to produce agronomic data that will help farmers decide what to plant, where to plant it, and how much to plant, as well as when and how much pesticide and fertilizer to apply, according to Sexton.

SDSU will also be able to provide agronomic and financial reasons why farmers should consider using a multi-hybrid approach to planting, according to Prairie. Eventually, Raven Industries seeks to play a role in “designing a true multi-hybrid planter.”

To view this and other articles found in the SDSU Agricultural Experiment Station 2013 Annual Report, visit iGrow.org.

Study Shows How Cost-Effective Precision Ag Is

LuxresearchA newly released study on precision agriculture by Lux Research shows how cost-effective these new technologies are. Here’s some information from their release.

Precision agriculture is a quantified approach to cultivation that employs sensing, input modulation, and data analytics to enhance the efficiency of agriculture and increased crop yields. While individual tools are not typically cost-effective, and often not relevant for small farms, combining these technologies into integrated solutions for large farms leads to gains – cost savings plus revenue increases – of up to $66.50 per acre for U.S. winter wheat, according to Lux Research.

In the Lux Research study, the best-case scenario assumed wireless-transmitting soil moisture sensors, combined with weather forecasting service and integrated decision support on farms of 5,000 acres. While savings from input costs averaged $24.5 per acre, output gains were $42.0 per acre.

“The key to effective precision agriculture is legitimate decision support, closing the loop from measurements, through recording and analysis, to seamlessly link on-farm conditions with actionable advice,” said Sara Olson, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Every Input Is an Opportunity: How Precision Agriculture Is Redefining the Business of Cultivation.

BASF/NAAA Partnership Supports Future of Ag Pilots

2013-NAAA-BASF-Ag-Aviation-Scholarship-winnersThree up-and-coming agricultural pilots were awarded scholarships sponsored by BASF and the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) to help them turn their dreams of becoming professional agricultural pilots into reality.

Kole Pederson of Crookston, MN; Richard Conrad of Kiel, WI and Heidi Stoeppler of Bakersfield, CA were awarded the NAAA/BASF Agricultural Aviation Scholarships of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 during the 47th Annual NAAA Convention and Exposition in Reno, NV. To qualify for the Agricultural Aviation Scholarship, applicants have to be sponsored by an NAAA member operator.

The scholarships are part of a longstanding partnership between BASF and NAAA to support the futures of students pursuing careers in the aerial application industry. Each year, two budding pilot trainees are awarded a scholarship; however, this year, three deserving applicants were selected.

“These passionate aviation students exemplify what it means to work hard and follow your dreams,” said Gary Fellows, Ph.D., Technical Market Manager, BASF, and member of the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation’s Professional Aerial Applicators’ Support System (NAAREF PAASS) Program Development Committee. “The scholarships offer the students an opportunity to pursue their goals and continue to move towards becoming invaluable members of the aerial application industry.”

Pederson attends University of Minnesota, pursuing a degree in aviation with an emphasis in agricultural aviation. He holds a private pilot certificate and tailwheel endorsement from the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation. Pederson was sponsored by Tom Rongen of AgriMAX LLC in Fisher, MN.

Conrad attends Fox Valley Technical College’s Aircraft Avionics program. He holds a private pilot certificate and tailwheel endorsement, as well as a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCAP) Commercial Applicator’s License. Dean Heimermann of Countryside Aviation LLC in Chilton, WI, sponsored him.

Stoeppler is training with the Bakersfield Flying Club as she builds time toward her private pilot certificate. She is sponsored by Jon Slikker of Vince Dusters in Bakersfield, CA.

NAFB Scholarship Recipients Awarded

nafb-scholarshipOn the opening day of the 70th National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention the NAFB Foundation awarded this year’s scholarship recipients during a luncheon sponsored by the CME Group.

Gina Olsen is the first recipient of the George Logan Scholarship. She is attending the University of Missouri and seeking a degree in agriculture. Interview with Gina Olsen

Amie Burke is the recipient of the Glenn Kummerow Scholarship. She is attending Illinois is State University and will graduate in December and will soon join the communications team at GROWMARK. Interview with Amie Burke

Stacie Seger received the NAFB Foundation Scholarship and is a junior at The Ohio State University. There she is pursuing a BS in Agriculture Communications. Interview with Stacie Seger

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Mountains, Minds and Montana Precision Ag

MSU logoMontana State University is having what they plan to be the first of a new annual seminar on precision agriculture.

Coordinator Olga Walsh, an assistant professor of soil nutrient management who works at the Western Triangle Ag Research Center, is hoping to get 150-200 producers to attend the seminar, which will feature several important precision topics and a couple of experts in the field.

Robert Blair
, who was the 2009 Precision Ag Farmer of the Year, will present his “Precision Ag Journey” and USDA-NRCS agronomist Pat Hensleigh will talk about “USDA-NRCS Nutrient Management Programs.”

The seminar is free and lunch is provided – check here for more info.

GROWMARK Makes Major Donation for Ag Literacy

fps-13-166-editedAt the 2013 Farm Progress Show on Tuesday, GROWMARK announced a major donation of $70,000 to the Illinois Ag in the Classroom programs.

The funding will go to support IAA Foundation’s grassroot efforts to aid Agriculture Literacy Coalitions across the state of Illinois. These programs reach over 500,000 students in both rural and urban areas.

GROWMARK is a regional cooperative providing agriculture-related products and services, as well as grain marketing in more than 40 states and Ontario, Canada. GROWMARK owns the FS trademark, which is used by affiliated member cooperatives. More information is available at www.growmark.com

Here you can listen to the complete press conference announcing the donation. Growmark Press Conference

2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Coverage of the 2013 Farm Progress show is sponsored by Growmark, Ag Leader and John Deere

The Mosaic Company Launches CropNutrition.com

Mosaic-CropNutrition-RGB-webRecent research is definitive: As much as 60 percent of yield depends on soil fertility. Unfortunately, the science behind this imperative aspect of farming isn’t always so clear, confusing even the most veteran agriculture professionals. A new initiative from The Mosaic Company aims to better explain the various scientific aspects vital to achieving maximum yield.

Mosaic’s CropNutrition initiative is an integrated campaign designed to inform growers and retailers about key issues and trends affecting soil fertility. By using various vehicles to spread this message, Mosaic hopes to spread awareness of the fact that, for many farmers, the key to higher yield is right under their feet.

At the center of this program is CropNutrition.com, an educational digital hub that serves as a one-stop soil fertility resource for ag retailers, growers and industry experts looking to better understand the yield-sensitive scientific aspects of soil.

CropNutrition.com combines the best research and soil fertility resources from The Mosaic Company’s previous crop nutrition resource (Back-to-Basics.net) with new information from Mosaic’s global network of research partners. Additionally, research findings and insights from The Mosaic Company’s top agronomists provide timely, useful information on soil fertility.

Survey Gives Insight into Cover Crop Use

SARE-CTIC-CC-Survey-Report-Cover_mediumDuring the 2012 drought, corn and soybean yields improved following cover crops, according to a recently released report with detailed results from a farmer survey on cover crops.

The survey was carried out in partnership between the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and the USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. More than 750 farmers, primarily from the Upper Mississippi River watershed, were surveyed during the winter of 2012-13. Questions on cover crop adoption, benefits, challenges and yield impacts were included in the survey. Key findings include:

• During the fall of 2012, corn planted after cover crops had a 9.6 percent increase in yield compared to side-by-side fields with no cover crops. Likewise, soybean yields were improved 11.6 percent following cover crops.

• In the hardest hit drought areas of the Corn Belt, yield differences were even larger, with an 11 percent yield increase for corn and a 14.3 percent increase for soybeans.

Continue reading

Soybean Marketing and Production College

pic-SPMC-061113The Mid-Summer Classic, known as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, is coming soon, but for soybean producers the best place to see all-stars is at the ASA Soybean Marketing and Production College on July 30 in St. Paul, Minn.

ASA is announcing Dr. Christy Sprague, Associate Professor, Michigan State University; Dr. Aaron Hager, Associate Professor, University of Illinois; and Dr. Jason Norsworthy, Associate Professor, University of Arkansas as its all-star lineup of speakers for its Herbicide and Weed Resistance Management session.

The Herbicide and Weed Resistance Management session at the ASA Soybean Marketing and Production College will use the soybean industry’s “Take Action HRM” approach and will provide attendees with the tools needed to develop a three- to five-year integrated management plan.

Guarantee your participation by registering by Tuesday, July 9, at www.SoyGrowers.com/MarketingProductionCollege.

Applicants for 2014 Young Leader Program

DYLcover14The American Soybean Association (ASA) and DuPont Pioneer are seeking applicants for the 2014 Young Leader Program. Now in its historic 30th year, the ASA DuPont Young Leader program is recognized throughout agriculture for its tradition of identifying and cultivating farmer leaders who are shaping not only the U.S. soybean industry but all of agriculture.

A challenging and educational two-part training program, the 2014 class of ASA/DuPont Young Leaders will meet for the first time at Pioneer’s headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, Nov. 19-22, 2013. The program will continue Feb. 25-March 1, 2014 in San Antonio, with training held in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show.

The ASA/DuPont Young Leader program offers the opportunity for participants to strengthen and build upon their natural leadership skills, meet and learn from other young leaders from around the country and expand their agricultural knowledge.

Applications will be accepted online beginning June 3. Interested applicants should go to www.SoyGrowers.com/dyl.