A former chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service says both the House and Senate farm bills are similar when it comes to reduced funding and consolidation of conservation programs. Bruce Knight, who served as NRCS chief in the Bush administration, gave a synopsis at a Farm Foundation forum on conservation last week.
“The largest difference is whether or not to link conservation compliance to the farm bill,” he said, but he notes that compliance already is linked to shallow loss and marketing loans in both bills.
Knight thinks consolidating conservation programs is a big positive and he believes linking compliance to crop insurance may also be positive in the long run. “That linkage to crop insurance is vitally important long term for being able to defend both crop insurance and farm programs and conservation benefits,” said Knight.
The last U.S. patent covering the original Roundup Ready soybean trait expires in 2015. As U.S. farmers begin thinking about purchasing their soybean seed for 2014 planting, they have a new resource to answer their questions about the expiration of Monsanto’s original Roundup Ready soybean trait – soybeans.com.
“Even though the original Roundup Ready soybean trait is covered by a patent in the United States until the start of the 2015 planting season, we’re already getting questions from farmers about what they can and cannot do with Roundup Ready soybeans. Soybeans.com can help answer questions growers may have about patents as they pertain to planting and saving original Roundup Ready varieties, as well as the benefits of new seed. It’s a great resource for farmers as they plan for next year,” said Monsanto’s U.S. Oilseeds Product Management Lead Norm Sissons.
The site outlines Monsanto’s commitments regarding the original Roundup Ready trait patent expiration, explains the different patents and breeders’ rights typically covering soybean seed, and includes frequently asked questions and a decision tree on saving seed.
Commodity Classic is a joint venture owned by the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association, with National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers participating as affiliates. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) owns and produces AG CONNECT Expo & Summit.
The inaugural event will be held March 3-5, 2016, in New Orleans. The Commodity Classic shows scheduled for 2014 and 2015 will take place as planned. The AG CONNECT experience will join Commodity Classic 2016 and the new combined show will continue to meet on an annual basis.
Read more here.
The organizations involved held a press conference to make the announcement this morning, featuring comments from:
Bill Schuermann, American Soybean Association executive director
Charlie O’Brien, senior vice president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Martin Barbre, corn farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association
Danny Murphy, soybean grower and president of the American Soybean Association
Rob Kolb, vice president global business development, GEA Farm Technologies
On the farm in Victoria, Andrew tells me that over the last decade or so they have really started to see advances in their own technologies and how the land is responding. He was one of the first to begin using technology in his production. Andrew says that weather conditions are a huge factor in how technology has played a role in the change over to no-till practices as well as sowing seeds. They have seen a movement to a more paperless operation, in part, thanks to the local manufacturer setting up a network for the farmers to use. Andrew is excited to continue to implement no-till and improved seeding on his farm to grow a bountiful harvest.
The country manager for DuPont in Argentina addressed the IFAJ 2013 Congress during the last day of activities for the event and he talked about the importance of the country for his company.
“DuPont is a science company and we want to produce solutions for some of the biggest challenges in the world and one of those is feeding the world,” said Juan Vaquer, DuPont Argentina. “Argentina is a country that can produce food for ten times its population. It has 40 million people, it produces food for 400 million people. So we believe that the combination of DuPont Pioneer science and Argentina’s capabilities can be a good combination for providing a solution for the food challenge.”
Juan added that some of the challenges in doing business with Argentina, such as volatility for example, are actually advantages. “Our growers are very agile in adapting new technologies,” he said. “It’s pure Darwinism, survival of the fittest.” Interview with Juan Vaquer, DuPont Argentina
Arclin, a chemistry and applications company for the building, design, energy and agriculture industries, and Eco Agro Resources, makers of agricultural nutrient products, announced today that Arclin will be the exclusive seller of Eco Agro’s nitrogen urease inhibitor in the United States. Arclin will offer the fertilizer additive as part of its NitroGain™ suite of products. Called NitroGain™ UI, the safe and innovative product reduces nitrogen loss from urea-based fertilizers, giving crops more time to absorb vital nutrients and lessening nitrogen runoff into ground water and streams.
Blended with UAN (urea ammonium nitrate) fertilizers, NitroGain™ UI urease inhibitor reduces nitrogen loss by hindering the conversion of nitrogen to ammonia and carbon dioxide. Nitrogen thus stays in the soil longer, helping increase crop health and yield and protecting water sources by reducing runoff. By increasing nitrogen efficiency, NitroGain™ UI can also reduce fertilizer costs. Patent-pending, it is based on n-butyl triophosphoric triamide, or NBPT, technology.
Nitrogain™ UI has low toxicity and is non-carcinogenic, making it considerably safer than other commercially available urease inhibitors. It can be used either to coat urea granules or mixed with urea ammonium nitrate systems. Its most common applications are nitrogen-focused crops like corn, cotton, rice, coffee and wheat, and turf grasses.
Some reality TV stars have been mingling with the visitors at the 2013 Farm Progress Show this week.
At the Chevron tent, fans of Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” got to meet Edgar Hansen and learn a little bit about the famous Northwestern, harvesting crab, and why they choose to use Chevron Delo products. Edgar says the boat is going through an engine overhaul right now to get ready for the 2013 King Crab season which launches in just a few months.Interview with Edgar Hansen of Deadliest Catch
Meanwhile, at the TruAg exhibit, Survivor fans were meeting Rupert Boneham.
Rupert, who will be on Survivor for a 4th time this fall, started a vocational mentoring program called Rupert’s Kids 23 years ago. The program helps young adults, starting at age 18, learn to fill out job applications, read important materials, and teach men and women how to make a legal living. Rupert’s Kids has reached almost 1,000 individuals in the nation and helped them get back on there feet. Interview with Rupert
There’s nothing quite as glitzy and glamorous in the ag world as the roll out of new products by a company like John Deere.
The new product intro event in Columbus, Ohio brought dealers from around the country in waves over the past few weeks to see and learn about the latest for the 2014 season. Grabbing the headline spot in the big floor show was the new 8R Series Tractors with six new wheel and three new track models, all with Final Tier 4 engines ranging in horsepower from 245 to 370 and the latest technology to provide the utmost in power, comfort and performance for row-crop tractors in this class.
John Deere even provided a Virtual Reality introduction of the new 8R tractor that should be nominated for an Oscar for best special effects!
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept 1.7 million acres offered under the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. The Department received nearly 28,000 offers on more than 1.9 million acres of land, demonstrating CRP’s continuing appeal as one of our nation’s most successful voluntary programs for soil, water, and wildlife conservation. Under Vilsack’s leadership, USDA has enrolled nearly 12 million acres in new CRP contracts since 2009. Currently, there are more than 26.9 million acres enrolled on 700,000 contracts.
In addition to the announcement, over the last four years, USDA has set aside significant acreage under CRP’s Continuous enrollment programs to target habitat conservation on especially important lands. For example, in March, 2012, President Obama dedicated 1 million acres of CRP to Continuous Enrollment Programs to conserve wetlands, grasslands and wildlife. This year, farmers and ranchers have already offered more than 370,000 acres under Continuous CRP signup, a figure that is impressive given that the lack of a Farm Bill extension last fall meant that CRP enrollment only reopened this spring in May. Lack of a comprehensive Farm Bill this year has resulted in uncertainty for achieving further enrollment objectives under continuous CRP.
USDA selected offers for enrollment based on an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) comprised of five environmental factors plus cost. The five environmental factors are: (1) wildlife enhancement, (2) water quality, (3) soil erosion, (4) enduring benefits, and (5) air quality.
Farm Foundation names three to their Board of Trustees and another two to their Board of Directors. The group says the three new trustees come from the food and agribusiness value chain:
Elected were William Buckner, CEO of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation; David Cleary, Director of Global Agriculture for The Nature Conservancy; and Jerome Lyman, Vice President, Quality Systems & Food Safety, McDonald’s Corporation. The election took place earlier this month at the Board’s annual meeting in Ames, IA.
“We are excited that these accomplished executives are adding their leadership to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees,” says Jay Armstrong of Muscotah, KS, who was elected Chairman of the Board. “The Foundation’s leadership reflects the diverse character of today’s food and agricultural systems and is dedicated to providing public and private decision makers with comprehensive, objective information on the issues that will shape the future,” Armstrong added.
The two new members of the Board of Directors include Joe Swedberg, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for Hormel Foods, and George Hoffman, President and CEO of Restaurant Services, Inc.
Farmers are accustomed to adjusting to the twists and turns of growing seasons on a short-term basis, but long-term planning is more difficult, according to climate field specialist Laura Edwards from South Dakota State University’s Extension office in Aberdeen.
The Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project explores ways that corn growers can adjust their cropping practices to make their operations more sustainable. It is also aimed at limiting or reducing the vulnerability of farmers to short term climate events, such as the 2012 drought. The $20 million grant, headed by Iowa State University, brings together 140 experts from 10 land-grant institutions and a USDA research unit in the Corn Belt.
A smaller more applied project, Useful2Usable, seeks to give farmers the soil, crop and climate data they need to make shorter-term and long-range decisions. The $5 million project is headed by Purdue University.
The USDA has named the recipients of 110 Value-Added grants for agricultural producers and rural businesses. This agency news release says the grants include biomass-based products and is hoped to spur the rural economy:
“This support will benefit rural businesses and the communities where the recipients are located,” Vilsack said. “These awards also will advance USDA’s goals to develop a bio-based economy and support local and regional food systems.”
In today’s announcement, 110 awardees are being selected for USDA Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG). The grants help agricultural producers increase their income by expanding marketing opportunities, creating new products or developing new uses for existing products.
The awards announced today include 11 projects involving bio-based products. They include grants to convert: corn stover to anhydrous ammonia; miscanthus fiber, wood and goat manure into biochar and enhanced compost; and sorghum to electricity and fertilizer.
“Water quality is complex,” said NRCS National Water Quality and Quantity team leader Shaun McKinney. “Experts usually focus on one aspect of water quality – such as temperature, nutrients or pesticide content – instead of thinking about a more complete picture.”
On the WQIag website, producers input information about their field, such as slope, soil characteristics, nutrient and pest management, tillage practices, and finally, conservation practices. The WQIag calculates these variables into a single rating on a 10-point scale: 0 being very poor; 10 being excellent.
Though some variables – such as slope and soil type – won’t change, producers can adjust other factors for a quick estimate of how conservation impacts water quality. A few clicks calculate the value of less tillage, less fertilizer and other conservation practices, which makes it versatile to use.
Key members of the U.S. agricultural value chain have joined together to applaud the work of the United States and like-minded governments to promote the importance of science-based regulations to facilitate trade of agricultural commodities derived from agricultural biotechnology.
In a joint statement, the United States was joined by the governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Paraguay to announce their intention to work collaboratively to remove global barriers to the trade of agricultural biotechnology and promote science-based, transparent and predictable regulatory approaches.
The U.S. agriculture sector agrees that a particular area of concern is the timeliness and efficiency of global regulatory systems. In the joint statement, the like-minded governments have highlighted their intention to promote synchronization of authorizations by regulatory authorities – in particular for food, feed and processing purposes.
Longtime soybean industry executive Jim Palmer has been named chief executive officer of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). Palmer was selected by the NAWG Board of Directors after a search process led by the NAWG officers and grower-leaders of the National Wheat Foundation, NAWG’s affiliated charitable organization.
He will officially begin work with the Association and Foundation as of June 1, though he plans to meet with NAWG’s grower-leaders and staff throughout the month of May.
Palmer has worked in administrative roles for national and state agriculture organizations for the past 30 years, most of that time in the soybean industry. From 1997 until early 2012, he worked as the executive director for the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. Earlier in his career, he was engaged in commercial agriculture credit and was the staff lead during the development of the United Soybean Board, the national soybean checkoff. Since leaving Minnesota Soybean, he has worked as an independent management and development consultant with agriculture companies around the United States.