Cultivate & Connect with AgChat

AgChat 2014 ConferenceCalling all aspiring agvocates. The 2014 AgChat Foundation, Cultivate and Connect Conference will be held in Austin, TX, on August 21-22.

It has been said that everything is bigger in Texas. The AgChat Foundation’s 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference to be held at the Radisson Hotel & Suites in beautiful downtown Austin, Texas, August 21-22, 2014, will be no exception. For the first time, our annual conference will include an open registration process which does not require participants to complete an application and receive an invitation to attend. Additionally, there will be no limit on the number of alumni attendees nor a limit on non-farmers and non-ranchers. It will be the best and biggest AgChat conference to date.

Click here for conference information.

Classic Records Smashed

classic14-openWith more than 7,300 total attendees, the 2014 Commodity Classic convention and trade show in San Antonio shattered all previous records.

“We knew it was the biggest event ever, but the numbers really surprised us as we saw them rolling in over the course of the event,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chair Rob Elliott.

And the record numbers are impressive:
Total attendees – 7,325 – up 18% from 2013
Total growers – 3,874 – up 16.5%
First time attendees – 1,261
Trade show companies – 301

Next year will be the 20th annual Classic and it will take place in in Phoenix, Ariz., the city where it all started. Then in 2016, Commodity Classic welcomes a new affiliate, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) for a bigger and better show in New Orleans, including the addition of several components and a number of exhibitors from AEM’s 2013 AG CONNECT Expo & Summit.

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Coverage is sponsored by John Deere

Classic is Next Show for John Deere ExactEmerge

nfms14-exactemergeIf you missed the new John Deere ExactEmerge Planter at the 2014 National Farm Machinery Show, you’ll have another chance to see this baby at the Commodity Classic in San Antonio next week.

nfms14-jd-kelbyAt NFMS, I talked with John Deere Seeding Group product specialist Kelby Krueger who worked on the ExactEmerge project from start to finish. He says the new row units are a perfect fit for producers who want to plant more acres in less time due to narrow planting windows, or to increase the size of their operations without adding equipment. “It’s hard for planters to get wider, so we had to make it more productive,” Kelby said. “This planter here with 24 rows, at ten miles an hour, will be doing something close to 75-80 acres an hour.”

If you haven’t seen the unveiling of the new planter at NFMS, click here.

Listen to Kelby explain more about ExactEmerge and see it for yourself at Commodity Classic in San Antonio: Interview with Kelby Krueger, John Deere

John Deere Planter at NFMS photos

Sponsored by John Deere

Media Staying Busy at NFMS

nfms14-agwiredThanks to FMC Corporation, members of the agricultural media – like your ZimmComm team pictured here – have a nice place to work and rest at the 2014 National Farm Machinery Show.

FMC took on the job of making the media comfortable about five years ago, according Strategic Communications Manager Paul Redhage. “There really wasn’t a good place for (the media) to work on their interviews or get together, rest for a moment,” he said. “We’ve been doing it about 5 or 6 years now and we’re just delighted.”

FMC’s sponsorship includes high-speed internet access – an absolute must for today’s media – as well as workspace, snacks and beverages. In this interview, Paul talks about why taking care of the media at events like this is important to them, and some of what FMC is talking about the NFMS. Interview with Paul Redhage, FMC

2014 National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

Sponsored by Ag Leader Technology

NFMS One Year Shy of Big 5-0

nfms14-fetterThe 2014 National Farm Machinery Show marks 49 years of the largest indoor farm show in the United States.

“This show is as big or bigger than ever before,” said show manager Corinne Fetter. “We are sold out in space again with 850 exhibitors … it’s the place to be in February.”

There was still snow on the ground for opening day today, but the sun was shining and the weather was really beautiful, especially for some folks coming from states that have been below zero for weeks. “Many of the farmers that come here are from throughout the Midwest, but we do have people here from coast to coast and we do have more and more international visitors,” Corinne said, who noted that last year’s attendance was the second largest on record with over 307,000 attendees.

And then there’s the 46th Championship Tractor Pull. “We now have five sessions with the pull, each night and then again Saturday afternoon,” said Corinne.

There is a cost for tickets to the tractor pull, but the show is free of charge and all are welcome. The NFMS runs through Saturday and show hours are 9:00 am -6:00 pm daily.

Find out more in this interview and on the show websiteInterview with NFMS Show Manager Corinne Fetter

National Farm Machinery Show Photo Album

John Deere 2014 NFMS Photo Album

Sponsored by John Deere

John Deere Excited About ExactEmerge

nfms14-john-deere-aaronThe folks at John Deere are more excited about the new ExactEmerge planter than they have ever been about any product in their history. “We’ve been able to design from the ground up a whole new technology,” said Aaron Wetzel, John Deere VP Global Crop Care. “Being able to provide to our customers unparalleled accuracy in the trench with great opportunity to enhance yield.” That goes for both corn and soybeans. Interview with Aaron Wetzel, John Deere

nfms14-john-deere-gregAaron says they have tested ExactEmerge with hundreds of farmers around the country and “every single one of them are just completely blown away” by the capabilities of the new planter. One of those farmers is Greg Smith of Cummings, Kansas.

“The guys from John Deere said ‘drive it like you stole it’ just go as fast as you can go,” Greg said. But, since he only raises one crop a year, he was a little nervous about that idea. Once they got up to 7-8 miles an hour, Greg had to get out of the tractor and check it out for himself. “Sure enough, seed depth and spacing was – right on, it was exact,” he said. “No joke, there was absolutely no difference between five mile an hour and ten mile an hour.”

He adds that the emergence was “unheard of – all the agronomists say you want to have everything come up within 48 hours, I think it was 48 minutes,” he said. Interview with Kansas farmer Greg Smith

Great question, Ben (in comments) – yes!! If you are not at NFMS, ExactEmerge will be on display at all the major farm shows in the United States this year – starting with Commodity Classic in San Antonio in just two weeks!

John Deere 2014 NFMS Photo Album

Sponsored by John Deere

New Tech Featured at 2014 Precision Ag Conferences

SDSU Extension LogoPrecision agriculture’s technology is increasing yields and dollars on the farm and isn’t going anywhere.

“Bottomline, precision agriculture is the way we farm today and are going to farm into the future. It’s the way we’ll farm because it makes us money,” said Gregg Carlson, Professor of Plant Sciences at South Dakota State Univeristy, who has researched and provided information on the technology for more than 30 years. “What we call precision agriculture today will become conventional farming in the near future.”

Carlson and other experts in the field of precision agriculture will host two precision agriculture conferences this year. The Precision Ag Conference in Aberdeen, SD on February 12 and the Western Corn Belt Precision Farming Conference in Sioux Falls March 18-19.

The Precision Ag Conference will feature speakers covering topics including: Elevation Data – LiDAR, NED, and More; Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) Technology and Applications in Agriculture; Theories and Realities – ISOBUS in Agriculture; Cloud Computing in Agriculture; and Industry Update Sessions Ag Leader John Deere, Trimble CNH and Precision Planting.

For more information, contact Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist, at or at the Aberdeen Regional Extension Center at 605-626-2870.

The Western Corn Belt Precision Farming Conference will consist of sessions focusing on GSI mapping, new technology systems and above all, planting.

“All sessions are geared toward giving information that can be used in personal operations to improve decision-making, understand new technologies and boost yields,” said Graig Reicks, SDSU Extension Research Associate with the SDSU Plant Science Department.

To learn more, contact Graig Reicks, Research Associate, SDSU Plant Science Department at 605-688-5105 or Precision Agriculture Conference Manager, Les Slunecka at 605-261-2474 or

Farm Progress Show Will Reap International Business

FPS14-flagThe nation’s largest outdoor farm show, Farm Progress Show, has been selected to participate in the 2014 International Buyer Program (IBP). This year’s event takes place in Boone, IA, August 26-28.

The IBP is an export program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It brings thousands of international buyers to the U.S. for business-to-business matchmaking with U.S. companies exhibiting at major industry trade shows.

“We are honored to be selected to be among this elite group of trade shows,” said Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress national events manager. “The IBP program will bring a new level of international attention to those companies who participate in the Farm Progress Show.”

The goal of the IBP is to connect U.S. companies with overseas buyers to produce U.S. export sales. The program promotes their approved events to over 170 countries worldwide, to attract international buyers interested in the latest and most advanced agriculture technologies and products.

The IBP also will be offering unique matchmaking services at the Farm Progress Show, matching overseas buyers with U.S. exhibitors. U.S. exhibitors at the Farm Progress Show, through the IBP’s Showtime Program, will have excellent opportunities to meet with U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. State Department delegation leaders and export partners to discuss overseas market-entry strategies and potential markets and sales for their products/services.

For companies new to exporting or even more experienced exporters, seeking to export to additional target markets, the IBP offers export market advice and counseling. The IBP Team can also provide expert strategic advice and guidance to U.S. companies on which overseas trade show to participate in, what market entry strategies to use in their target markets, and how to locate and qualify overseas distributors and sales representatives.

“The U.S. Department of Commerce is committed to assisting U.S. companies at the Farm Progress Show establish export connections that lead to U.S. export sales. Behind every U.S. export, is a job, a family. That’s the heart of why we support U.S. domestic trade shows, like the Farm Progress Show. It doesn’t get any more important than that.” Mark Wells, IBP project officer, U.S. Department of Commerce.

2014 MapShots Customer Conference

AGStudioThe MapShots 2014 Customer Conference is on the calendar for February 6-8 and will feature presentations from many industry partners. The MapShots staff will also provide attendees with information and hands-on experience with AgStudio for precision crop management and record keeping. In addition to presentations from seven industry leaders on how their products integrate with MapShots AgStudio. These partners include: Agri ImaGIS/Satshot, AgIntegrated, AgSense, GeoVantage, John Deere, Raven and Veris Technologies.

Ted Macy, Vice President of Operations at MapShots says, “This is the first MapShots customer conference where we have had the opportunity to have our industry partners present to our customers. We are looking forward to our attendees learning about the breadth of our product offerings.”

Content will be featured for both farm users and service provider users of AgStudio. Farm users will be particularly interested in how AgStudio can record multiple boundary sets, using the Lease Manager module, and track grain inventory after harvest using the Commodity Inventory functionality.

Service provider users of AgStudio will learn about the power and flexibility of AgStudio Select, MapShots new web-based offering designed for use by sales agronomists and their farmer customers.

MapShots also plans a session for those interested in learning how to take advantage of MapShots- patented AgDirector Services platform. Designed as a turnkey solution for reading GPS logs generated by precision ag field devices, AgDirector Services is being implemented by firms who need an easy way to process logged data into their own data stores.

The event will be held at the Georgia Tech Learning Center in Atlanta, GA. For registration and other info visit or call 678-513-6093.

Unmanned Systems in Precision Ag Conference

Mark your calendars for the 3rd Annual Unmanned Systems in Precision Agriculture Conference. The event is scheduled for February 11-13, 2014 at the UGA Tifton campus Conference Center.

Developers will be showing, discussing and demonstrating their UAV (drone) technologies for the agricultural industry. If you are a grower, farmer, producer, politician, consultant, engineer, scientist or student then be sure and attend.

The University of Georgia, Guided Systems Technologies and the Georgia Centers of Innovation for Aerospace and Agribusiness will publicly debut new UAV technology being adopted by farmers at the 2014 Unmanned Systems in Agriculture conference.

If you are a tech savvy farmer you can produce your products more efficiently, reduce wasted resources, save time and money and even save crops in need through immediate transmitted information from your UAV. Designed with sensing and imaging technology, these aircraft can inspect an entire farm in less than a day.

You can register here.

Cover Crop Workshops at Iowa Power Farming Show

235.Iowa_PowerFarming_TALL_2014The discussion of cover crops will take center stage at the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show during a series of free workshops designed to educate farmers, Certified Crop Advisors, farm managers and landowners. The event takes place at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines on Jan. 28-30.

“We continue to see great interest from farmers in adding cover crops to their farming operation,” said Iowa Secretary of State Bill Northey, “Cover crops can help farmers manage nutrients, reduce soil erosion and enhance water quality.”

Bill will be speaking at the workshops on Jan. 29. and seeded cover crops on his farm last fall.

Cover crops have been implemented into the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy statewide. Farmers are seeing the benefits and seeking advice about how to choose, seed and terminate cover crops. The workshops will cover five “core” overview sessions and four “in-depth” sessions during the farm show.

The overview sessions will include: How cover crops reduce erosion, manage nutrients and improve profitability; choosing the best cover crops for corn, soybeans and livestock; five popular seeding methods; how and when to terminate cover crops; and making cover crops work with livestock.

The in-depth sessions include: Aerial application; high-clearance seeding into standing corn and soybeans; troubleshooting; and the pros and cons of three popular cover crops.

A total of 45 one-hour sessions will be offered over the three days of workshops. Sessions run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday. Seating is on a “first come, first-served” basis. For a complete list of workshops and additional show information, please visit

What’s New Sessions at Commodity Classic

Commodity Classic LogoAgriculture’s newest, most innovative products and services will be showcased at the What’s New sessions at the 2014 Commodity Classic. The 19th Annual Commodity Classic is Feb. 27-March 1, along the banks of the famous River Walk in San Antonio, TX.

“If you’re coming to Commodity Classic hoping to learn and gain some new ideas to take back to your farm, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the What’s New sessions,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chairman Wyatt Whitford. “These sessions offer a sneak peek at the new technology and products out on the trade show floor and an opportunity to ask the experts questions.”

Topics of the sessions include: tractor and combine header technologies, soil fertility trends, new developments in seeds to help manage pests, technology tools for the farm and tools to optimize seed selection for each field.

These sessions are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1. Each session is 40 minutes long and allows attendees to learn about the topic in an in-depth manner.

Companies selected to present include Case IH, DuPont Pioneer, John Deere, Monsanto, The Mosaic Company, Syngenta, The Climate Corporation, Trimble and United Soybean Board. The products and services are chosen by the grower community to ensure they are truly something new to the industry.

More information on the What’s New sessions and other events at Commodity Classic can be found here.

2014 Iowa Power Farming Show Debut Ag Innovations

235.Iowa_PowerFarming_TALL_2014New agricultural innovations will make their debut during this year’s Iowa Power Farming Show. Midwest Growers and ranchers won’t have to travel far to see the latest from world-class farm equipment manufacturers and agribusinesses. These innovations include products and services, farm equipment, high tech electronics and precision ag technologies.

This year’s show takes place January 28-30 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. More than 780 ag-related companies and nearly 1840 total booths will be featured, making it the 3rd largest indoor farm show in North America.

“The show is about quality exhibitors from every category showcasing the best and latest products and services they have to offer,” said Tom Junge, show director of the Iowa Power Farming Show. “Attendees coming to the show know they’re going to see the future of farming and agriculture.”

One area drawing a lot of attention right now is robotic aircrafts that are designed to capture overhead images of crops and provide growers a cost effective method to identify areas of concern. AgEagle and Labre Consulting will exhibit their aerial imaging system that uses robotic aircraft to gather field photos and data for farmers and agricultural professionals.

Other new electronics include: Ag Leader’s new Cloud-Based Platform AgFiniti® which connects your operation to your data wirelessly; GrahamCommand Pro which allows farmers to control each row’s population based on each row’s location on the prescription map; Micro Trak SafeGuard Liquid Blockage Monitor will electronically detect liquid application blockages; and Unverferth UHarvest system is the firstever solution for collecting and managing grain cart weight data using the tractor’s display or touch-screen tablet.

“A show this big can’t only be about big iron, so we really focus on showcasing products from every corner of the farm equipment and services industry,” Junge said. “Whatever category of ag products you’re interested in learning more about, you can bet the best companies in that particular niche will be in Des Moines putting their best and latest products on display.”

Check out for a complete list of new products, show info and directions.

The Chicago Farmers Rebrands Farmland Fair

chi-farmThe Chicago Farmers annual Farmland Investment Fair has been rebranded for 2014 as simply “The Farmland Fair” with a continued focus on the connection of social media and farmland investment.

The Chicago Farmers 2014 Farmland Fair – “Where People Come To Learn, Connect and Understand Farmland” – will be held on February 1, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Joliet Junior College’s Weitendorf Ag Facility. The Fair will feature social media expert Jeff Korhan, author of “Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business,” which delivers proven methods for converting social marketing best practices into profitable outcomes. Korhan is a small business marketing specialist who helps businesses use social media and internet marketing to create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth.

Farmland Fair co-chairman Jeff Martin notes that The Chicago Farmers organization has been helping people with an interest in farmland connect face-to-face with each other since 1935. “This year we’re going to teach people how to connect and learn about farmland on-line and further increase their business opportunities on the farm,” said Martin, who is a past president of The Chicago Farmers, a farmer from Mount Pulaski, Illinois and nationally-recognized expert on conservation practices. Interview with Jeff Martin, The Chicago Farmers

Read more here and watch one of Jeff’s videos from The Chicago Farmers website below where he talks about the fair.

The ZimmComm Team at NAFB

nafb13-teamThe ZimmComm Team was hard at work during the 70th National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention. The all girl troop was comprised of our intern Kristyn Stidham, Jamie Johansen, me and Leah Guffey.

We adopted the method of ‘divide and conquer’ for this year’s Trade Talk and have many great post that you can look forward to checking out in the coming weeks, as well as coverage of NAFB activities and awards.

The team did numerous precision ag interviews that we will be sharing here in the coming days and weeks, thanks to the generous sponsorship of our friends at FMC Agricultural Products.

A photo album is quickly growing full of images from this year’s convention. More will be added as the event continues. 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album