Meet Hortau Precision Irrigation

classic14-hortauHortau Simplified Irrigation was one of the more than 300 companies exhibiting at the recent record-setting Commodity Classic, and one of quite a few first timers.

They stood out from the crowd for us at Classic when @Hortau sent a tweet to @Agriblogger asking him to come by and do an interview. Dropping by the booth at the end of the first day of the show, I met and interviewed CEO Jocelyn Boudreau and Regional Sales Manager Doug Larson.

Jocelyn told me the company was started in 2002, “with the idea of optimizing water usage on farm, taking a plant-centric approach to use water to grow a healthier crop, boost yields and give water the same level of attention and precision as we do with fertilizers and plant genetics.”

Doug says they were very pleased with their first year at Classic. “This is really our audience,” he said. “We work the high plains region of the country, so most of our growers are corn or soybean growers.”

Find out more about Hortau here: Interview with Jocelyn Boudreau and Doug Larson, Hortau Irrigation

2014 Commodity Classic Photos

Coverage is sponsored by John Deere

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.

Resistant Radish Subject of Parody Song

Wild RadishFarmers in Australia are having problems with resistant weeds just like farmers here in the states. While we are fighting against waterhemp and Palmer Amaranth, the weed down under is the wild radish and somebody decided to do a parody about it.

A parody of the Gotye hit “Somebody I used to know” by agronomic consultant Bill Long, who farms on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia as well as consults to a number of farmers in the region. This is a farmer’s lament on attempts to control wild radish resulting in the loss of chemical options to the point where only radical options are available. Truly reflects the consequences of farming systems becoming reliant on herbicides for weed control.

Seeking Great Social Media Farmer Nominations

Social Media Farmer of the YearZimmComm New Media is proud to announce sponsorship of the Social Media Farmer of the Year Award, coordinated by Food Nutrition & Science.

The new award recognizes farmers who have incorporated social media, digital media and internet strategies to achieve their business objectives including growing revenue, sharing information for more effective farming practices, and promoting positive awareness of the industry.”>
Nominations for the award
are now being accepted and farmers can nominate themselves or a colleague. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2014. The winner will be presented with a trophy and other prizes at the FMI Connect show in Chicago on June 11, 2014.

The Social Media of the Year Award is also being sponsored by Monsanto, Bolthouse Farms, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, AgChat Foundation, Inc., and our

Farm Credit Sponsors NAFB Social Media Corps

10844765406_d86e3f9495_bFarm Credit sponsored the Trade Talk Social Media Corps for the first time ever and brought them to NAFB 2013. The team is made up of seven students from colleges all over the nation who are all majoring in agriculture communications. Farm Credit’s National Communications Director Margaret Fogarty took on the task of heading up the students and teaching them the ropes.

“We had the idea that we wanted to expand and amplify the conversation from the trade talk floor through channels in the social media space,” said Fogarty. “We wanted to expand the conversation and get some interest from folks in the industry who aren’t able to be here at the event.”

Following NAFB, there may be a future for the Social Media Corps.

“We are already talking to folks about bringing the Social Media Corp to other industry events throughout 2014,” Fogarty said.

The students posted throughout trade talk on various facets of social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They posted interviews with companies they sought interest in, video clips, photos, and posts. Following trade talk students will continue with blog posts and follow up pictures from the event. They used various hashtags like #NAFB13 and #TradeTalkSocial.

Listen to my interview with Margaret here: Interview with Margaret Fogarty

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Social Media Analytics

Jay Harrison, Maritz HoldingsI was very surprised during yesterday’s Social Media session at the 2013 InfoAg Conference by how many session attendees are actively using social media for company use. I asked for a show of hands if they had a company Twitter account and almost everyone raised their hand, the same when I asked if they had a company Facebook page. That’s the highest response I’ve ever had when doing a presentation on social media.

Joining me for the session was Jay Harrison, Maritz Holdings. He works with their evolve24 division and focused on social media analytics and had some great information to share with us. His company does “social media intelligence” which includes monitoring and interpreting what people are saying on social media as well as advising on ways to respond, especially in a crisis situation. He says one of the biggest challenges they have is analyzing all the publicly available social media data which they then start organizing in a way that allows them to search for specific subjects or terms. He provides some examples in my weekly ZimmCast podcast.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: Social Media Analytics

2013 InfoAg Conference Photo Album

Announcing the Winner of iPad mini Giveaway

ipad-miniThe winner of our iPad mini Giveaway Contest has been picked via random selection and he is Nick Leibold of New Hampton, IA. Nick farms about 600 acres of corn and 400 acres of soybeans.

Cindy visited with Nick by phone to let him know about his winning and to learn a little bit about how precision pays for his family farming operation. He says he’s been using precision ag in his farming operation for about ten years now including auto steer, yield monitor and row shutoffs on his planter. He says, “On the planter I’ll do a split variety and that way when I harvest I know which variety is which and I can compare strips across the field. I use it a lot for variety selection.” He uses it to farm more efficiently.

When it comes to his new iPad mini he says his dealer says he can hook up an iPad to help him record the different varieties he’s planting and then take it out to the field later when he’s scouting and find spots where he has been.

Nick is also very involved with the Iowa Corn Growers serving on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. It’s important to him to see that those corn checkoff dollars are being put to good use.

Listen to Cindy visit with Nick here: Interview with Nick Leibold

Thank you to everyone who has entered our contest. The iPad has become an increasingly useful tool for precision farming today. More and more apps are being developed to utilize this mobile technology and we hope Nick will find the iPad mini a great addition to his toolbox!

What do you think of our first contest? Want to see more product giveaways? Chime in using comments and let us know.

Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more precision ag information.

Peterson Brothers Take Gangnam Style to the Farm

The Peterson Brothers from Kansas became social media rock stars in June with a little YouTube video called “I’m Farming and I Grow It” which now has nearly 8 million views.

The boys now have a new video just released, in the ever popular “gangnam” style, called “Farmer Style” – and it’s already hit nearly 200,000 views in less than a day. What’s really great about these videos is that they are reaching a wide audience via social media with a strong message about the importance of agriculture.

Watch, enjoy and share it with your non-farming friends!

Time to Give #FoodThanks

This week marks the third annual AgChat #Foodthanks celebration, a time to reflect on the blessing of all the food choices we have in this nation. Farmers, ranchers, processors, butchers, bakers, chefs, grocers, truckers and more all make it possible for us to have healthy food on plates.

Today and tomorrow in particular, AgChat encourages you to show your #Foodthanks via social media.

Twitter – Join our monthly #FoodChat twitter conversation Tuesday, November 20 from 8:00pm – 10:00pm ET. We will be talking #Foodthanks and of course the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration. Direct message @Foodchat any questions you would like to have included in the conversation.

On Wednesday, November 21st, continue the #Foodthanks conversation. Tweet your favorite recipe, farm blog or tell us why you are giving #Foodthanks. Show the Twitter world your #Foodthanks story.

Facebook – On Tuesday, November 20th, we will be hosting our first ever Facebook Party from 8:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. ET! Similar to our traditional Twitter conversations, we will be engaging in a conversation that focuses on #Foodthanks. Make sure to join the community and show your #Foodthanks.

On Wednesday, November 21st, we will be asking you to share with us your #Foodthanks story. Share your pictures, blog posts and thoughts on your own personal #Foodthanks.

Pinterest – Join us now as we are pinning our #Foodthanks. Follow our #Foodthanks board and we will ask you to join our community and pin your #Foodthanks. Do you have a favorite food blog? How about grandma’s secret pumpkin pie recipe? Pin a picture showing how your family farm makes #Foodthanks possible. Join us on Pinterest now.

What makes you give #Foodthanks?

Find PrecisionPays on Facebook!

Precision Pays is now on Facebook, delivering news and special event coverage on the topic of precision agriculture in all its forms.

In fields across the country, more growers are making precision farming a way of life, no matter how large or small their operation, no matter what the crop. With increased input costs and the pressure to do more with less, growers are continually looking for ways to improve farming efficiencies, production and profitability. was created with this in mind.

Now on Facebook, you can find timely precision farming information, links to other resources and coverage from industry trade shows. In addition, you’ll find interviews with technology experts and leading growers who have incorporated precision technology into their operations.

Visit us on Facebook to find out how “Precision Pays” for your farm.

Sightings Contest Launches FS InVISION Seed Corn

Shawn Kinkade of Piper City, Ill., was selected as the winner of a social media contest in which people reported sightings of the new FS InVISION™ logo. Kinkade’s photograph showed the logo prominently displayed on a fertilizer storage tank at the Heritage FS facility near Herscher, Ill.

The contest was launched to raise awareness of the newly re-branded FS seed corn line as FS InVISION by placing the logo in a variety of locations. Entries were received from throughout the Midwest. To celebrate the re-branding and support the next generation of local Midwest growers, the FS System also made monetary donations to the Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin state FFA associations for each sighting uploaded to the FS System on Facebook where visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorite photo. Visitors to the GROWMARK/FS exhibit at the 2012 Farm Progress Show were also able to vote and the winner was determined on August 30.

As we learned from FS Seed reps at Farm Progress Show, a focus on local development, local results, and local recommendations means that there is an FS InVISION hybrid to work in any farm operation. A key component of a successful crop is seed selection, and FS InVISION offers innovative technologies and cutting-edge genetics to ensure FS crop specialists can offer the right hybrid for any field and growing conditions. FS InVISION is powered by FS Green Plan Solutions.

Raven Introduces Product App

The Raven Innovation Summit this week was a great chance to get to learn more about this dynamic and diverse company that manufacturers precision agriculture solutions.

The 10th annual summit highlighted all of the Raven precision products and what is new, including a new smartphone app to see them all in the palm of your hand. “It’s basically a mobile product guide of Raven technology that’s very interactive,” said Paul Welbig, Director of Marketing, Product Management and Slingshot Operations for Raven. The app is available on both iPhone and Android platforms – just search for Raven Product Guide in your store. You’ll also see stands like the one in this photo wherever Raven is exhibiting, like at Farm Progress Show in Iowa, for example.

Raven has also been the sponsor of the Agwired app on both platforms since it was launched two years ago. A feed for Precision Pays is part of the Agwired app.

Listen or download to my interview with Paul where he talks about the summit, what’s new, the new app, Raven’s global presence and more:
Interview with Paul Welbig, Raven

Check out photos from the summit at the link below:

2012 Raven Innovation Summit Photos

Creating Social Media Buzz about Maximum Yields

The hashtag #FSMaxYield was everywhere at the Pursuit of Maximum Yields event last week in Bettendorf, Iowa encouraging people at the event to “be part of the buzz.”

“We’re excited to have a hashtag at the event,” said GROWMARK Electronic Communications Specialist Heather (Miller) Thompson. “We’ve given every grower and crop specialist a little card about how to tweet from the event and if they don’t have a Twitter account, how to create one.”

Heather says the FS Green Plan Solutions crop specialists are finding Twitter to be a quick and easy communications tool to get information out to growers and they are seeing more and more adopt it every day.

She and the rest of the GROWMARK communications team were also actively promoting CropNAtion, which is a social site introduced last year for farmers and ranchers to ask questions, share information and photos, and grow connections with others in the ag industry. “That’s still really in it’s infancy,” Heather said. “We’re trying to get word spread about it to get a base and also waiting for an iPhone and Android app that should be out any day now.”

GROWMARK and FS are also making good use of other social media and smartphone tools, like Facebook and QR codes.

Listen to Heather talk about it here: Heather Thompson Interview

Photos from Iowa Pursuit of Maximum Yields Event