The growers of the Nation’s biggest crops will once again host the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for their biggest meeting of the year. For the fifth time in a row, Tom Vilsack will deliver the keynote address to Commodity Classic, the annual convention and trade show for corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers. This news releases says Vilsack speaks to an expected crowd of more than 6,000 during the event’s General Session on Friday, Feb. 28, in San Antonio, Texas.
“We are honored to welcome Secretary Vilsack-someone who has been a strong advocate and voice for agriculture-to a conference that is both focused on and led by farmers,” said American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser. “As we face many challenges in this industry throughout this next year- trade agreements and access, conservation and water quality, moving the RFS forward and access to innovative technology-we are excited to hear the secretary speak on these issues and other important topics that impact farmers who grow the nation’s food.”
“Secretary Vilsack has done a lot to support our growers, and to encourage all farmers to speak out and represent their industry at a time when the general public is more removed than ever from the farms that feed them,” said National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre. “We’re looking forward to his visit to Commodity Classic so he can speak with our growers and learn more about our great efforts to rebuild consumer trust in what we do.”
The 19th annual Commodity Classic is Feb. 27-March 1, 2014, along the banks of the famous River Walk at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Tex. Your ZimmComm New Media team will be there, including myself, bringing you the latest from this annual meeting of the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers, America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show.
Check out the 2014 Commodity Classic website www.commodityclassic.com for additional information.
Wheat growers have new class of chemistry to fight Italian ryegrass.
BASF just announced that Zidua® herbicide has received federal registration from the Environmental Protection Agency for spring and winter wheat.
Zidua herbicide provides wheat growers with a powerful tool to fight tough to control weeds like Italian ryegrass, annual bluegrass and canarygrass. In addition, Zidua herbicide suppresses many broadleaf and grasses in wheat including brome species, wild oat, foxtail species, kochia, pigweed, chickweed, henbit and wild mustard. Zidua herbicide was previously registered only for use in corn and soybeans.
Zidua herbicide utilizes a unique class of chemistry – pyroxasulfone. More than 10 years of research and field trials by BASF have demonstrated that Zidua herbicide provides excellent residual control of resistant weeds like Italian ryegrass.
“Wheat growers now have access to a new residual tool for long-lasting weed control with Zidua herbicide,” said Greg Armel, Ph.D., Technical Market Manager, BASF. “The pyroxasulfone in Zidua herbicide helps control Italian ryegrass weed populations, even those populations resistant to ALS-inhibitor and ACCase herbicides.”
We talked with Greg about Zidua at last year’s Commodity Classic after they received registration for soybeans. I suspect we will hear more about it this year at Classic!
MANA is introducing Custodia premix fungicide for use on corn, soybeans and wheat. Custodia combines the two most complementary systemic fungicide active ingredients available today in an optimized ratio to deliver both preventive and curative disease control. The simultaneous movement of the active ingredients within the plant quickly knocks down diseases and provides a residual barrier that inhibits diseases from developing.
The multiple active ingredients in Custodia allow growers to minimize the number of products they need to control various diseases. Plus, it is labeled on several common rotational crops, which provides flexibility in planning disease control strategies.
“Custodia controls the most devastating diseases that row crop growers are facing today,” said Matt Bradley, Custodia brand leader. “It prevents or controls gray leaf spot and anthracnose on field corn, Cercospora and Septoria on soybeans, and rusts and powdery mildew in wheat. By keeping these diseases at bay, Custodia can help growers remain profitable throughout the season.”
In field corn, Custodia optimizes grain fill by preventing stress during periods where non-optimal photosynthesis periods occur, therefore helping growers increase yield. It can also help soybean growers get to harvest sooner by preventing extended stalk greening.
“Custodia is the broadest spectrum combination fungicide that performs on the most important diseases that are present in corn, soybeans and wheat,” said Bradley. “It adds peace of mind to growers who are looking for solid disease control without having to manage numerous products.”
You can find more information on MANA’s new product at www.manainc.com or call 866-406-6262.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) representatives were on hand at NAFB Trade Talk last month to discuss the 2013 crop and the 2012 census.
The 2013 harvest is considered completed at this point and Lance Honig with NASS says with a record corn crop and near record soybean crop forecast it’s turned out to be a pretty good year, despite the weather challenges.
“We started one way, we kind of went another way. It’s just the weather shifting throughout the season, but apparently we had enough moisture at the right times to produce a good crop this year”
The November crop production forecast was the final one of the season so Honig says NASS is beginning the process this week of surveying some 80,000 farmers for the final end-of-season numbers coming out January 10.
Listen to my complete interview with Lance here: USDA NASS, Lance Honig
Meanwhile, NASS is also gearing up to release the first numbers from the 2012 Census of Agriculture soon. However, that release is running a little behind schedule due to the two week government shutdown in October. According to Donald Buysse with NASS, the preliminary results are scheduled for release on February 20, 2014 at the Ag Outlook Forum, with the bulk of the data to come later.
Listen to my complete interview with Donald here: USDA NASS, Donald Buysse
2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album
The Great American Wheat Harvest will debut in 2014, according to the director of the documentary who was at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual meeting talking about the project.
Conrad Weaver tells us the documentary will be seen first in March 2014. “We are premiering the film nationally on National Ag Day in Washington DC on March 25,” he said. Conrad logged more than 70,000 air- and 30,000 driving-miles this year alone, capturing the harvest from Texas to North Dakota to the Northwest and across the U.S. border into Canada. Listen to Leah Guffey’s interview with Conrad here: Interview with Conrad Weaver, Great American Wheat Harvest
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the makers of the film wanted to let everyone know how grateful for all the help they have received in making this great American documentary.
2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album
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.
A little more corn, a little less soybeans, more wheat and a lot less cotton – that summarizes the USDA 2013 Prospective Plantings report out today.
Corn growers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2013, up slightly from last year and 6 percent higher than in 2011. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1936 when an estimated 102 million acres were planted.
Soybean acres are estimated at 77.1 million acres, down slightly from last year but the fourth highest on record. All wheat acreage is forecast at 56.4 million, up one percent, and cotton is expected to total 10 million acres, down 19 percent from last year.
The Minneapolis Grain Exchange held its usual crop conference call with reporters when the report was released today, with commentary by Brian Basting of Advance Trading.
Listen to the MGEX call here: MGEX Prospective Plantings call
A highlight of the general session of Commodity Classic is moderator Mark Mayfield’s “visit with the Presidents.” Left to right are Mayfield, Terry Swanson, National Sorghum Producers; Erik Younggren, National Association of Wheat Growers; Pam Johnson, National Corn Growers Association and Danny Murphy, American Soybean Association.
Mayfield kicked off the session by asking each of the presidents what “sustainability” means to them.
Listen to Danny Murphy’s comments here: ASA Danny Murphy
Listen to Pam Johnson’s comments here: NCGA Pam Johnson
Listen to Erik Younggren’s comments here: NAWG Eric Younggren
Listen to Terry Swanson’s comments here: NSP Terry Swanson
2013 Commodity Classic Photo Album
Custom harvesters are big users of precision technologies. An upcoming documentary is now in production that will follow custom harvesters and show how wheat goes from the field to the bread on your dinner table.
In this Precision Pays Podcast, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology, we’ll take a closer look at the new documentary by Conrad Weaver, The Great American Wheat Harvest.
Precision Pays Podcast
Our sister website, AgWired.com, has come on board as a Silver Sponsor of this great project.
You can subscribe to the Precision Pays Podcast here.
The Precision Pays Podcast is sponsored by Ag Leader Technology.
AgWired announced this month that they have come on board as a Silver Sponsor.
The 18th Annual Commodity Classic has launched their first-ever mobile app for this year’s event in Kissimmee, Fl. The app will allow attendees to access information, receive messages and engage in social media from their smart phones and tablets. You can even make your own schedules, take notes, lookup session and event times and navigate with maps.
Visit www.commondityclassic.com/app to download it now or check out the App Store on your mobile device and search Commodity Classic. I just did and can’t wait to attend my first ever Commodity Classic. And the best part about it is it’s free!
In less than two weeks, soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum growers will be traveling to the far Southeast from across the county to take in the sights of Kissimmee, Fl. Producers will be educated about important agricultural issues, enlightened by new product rollouts and entertained by all the events coordinators have planned.
“The innovation you’ll witness and information you’ll gather at Commodity Classic will absolutely change the way you farm,” said Commodity Classic co-Chair Bob Worth. “Agriculture faces new challenges every year, and Commodity Classic’s educational sessions and opportunities to speak with other growers and industry leaders will arm attendees with the tools they need to overcome these challenges and increase the profitability of their farming operation.”
The 2013 Commodity Classic takes place February 28-March 2 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center and the Orlando World Center Marriott in Kissimmee, Fla., and is presented annually by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers.
U.S. Custom Harvesters, like many other agricultural organizations, represented themselves well at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk. Tracy Zeorian, President, and Kent Braathen, Vice President of U.S. Custom Harvesters, shared the history of the organization and how they are providing a voice for custom harvesters across the country.
“Our organization is comprised of all custom harvesters: combines, silage choppers and cotton pickers. We were formed in 1983. Prior to that we really had no voice for our industry. Our industry began basically during WWII’s Harvest Bargade. It was time for somebody to start something and have a voice for custom harvesters.”
“We’ve got an issue we really want to try and get changed with our fuel tanks. We have worked on this for almost 22 years and that is our #1 issue we would like to push forward and try and get changed. We are only able to haul up to 119 gallons of diesel fuel with our class A CDL. We are trying to get it up to 1,000 gallons.”
The mission for this growing organization is to advance the cause of the members of the corporation by representing and promoting the harvesting industry; to positively influence government and regulatory agencies; to enhance the relationship between custom harvesters, their clients, and service providers to the industry and the general public; to manage the changing lanscape within the industry while enhancing the profitability of custom harvesters and their customers.
U.S. Custom Harvesters cover northern Texas in early May, then head to south central Kansas, eastern Colorado, central South Dakota and northern North Dakota. Then it is time to head south again for the fall crop harvest.
Listen to my interview with Tracy & Kent here: Interview with US Custom Harvesters
2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album
It is time for another Precision Pays Profile. Again, NAFB Trade Talk made it possible for me to meet Dan Hughes, a farmer from western Nebraska.
Dan operates an 11,000 acre farm with 20% irrigated and 80% in dry land. He manages a diverse selection in the field including: hard red winter wheat, hard white winter wheat, corn, soybeans, dry edible beans, sunflowers and millet. Dan and his family jumped in to the world of precision agriculture about 10 years ago, with their first investment being in a no-till drill. He shared how nice it was to end a day in the field without being completely worn out. I heard that commonality from many farmers I interviewed.
“It is a very exciting time, the technology that has come to agriculture in the last 10 years is just phenomenal. That’s part of the reason my kids have come back to the farm. They just recently graduated college and they are excited. For me that is a wonderful thing to see. Agriculture is being penalized for GMO crops. It is not fair for agriculture to be penalized for taking advantage of technology. The whole world has embraced cell phones and that type of technology, but why would you deny agriculture that same opportunity.”
Off the farm Dan is still involved in the agriculture industry and especially the U.S. wheat industry. He serves as Vice Chairman for U.S. Wheat Associates, an organization that assists buyers, influences trade policy and gives a voice to producers.
Listen to my interview with Dan here: Dan Hughes - Nebraska Crop Farmer
2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album
What’s a better way to conclude Commodity Classic than with some classic rock? The Monsanto Evening of Entertainment at the 2013 Commodity Classic will feature World Classic Rockers, a group of standout performers from legendary rock bands. Commodity Classic is the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused conference and trade show, presented annually by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers.
World Classic Rockers bring together some great names in Rock music from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Nick St. Nicholas started on the road to rock and roll history when he drove his band The Sparrow from Toronto to the Sunset Strip in search of a record deal. Once in Hollywood, the Sparrow changed their name to Steppenwolf and recorded the biker anthem “Born To Be Wild” for the film Easy Rider. Decades later, Nick set out to form the ultimate classic rock band. The result is the World Classic Rockers.
Former Steppenwolf lead guitarist Michael Monarch brings WCR the same driving guitar licks that he performed for Steppenwolf hits such as “Magic Carpet Ride.” Randall Hall toured seven years with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s comeback band and now furnishes the band with guitar and vocals. Drums are manned by Aynsley Dunbar, whose beats were recorded on mega-hits “Wheel in the Sky” by Journey, “Jane” by Jefferson Starship and “Is This Love” by Whitesnake. Songwriter and vocalist Greg Walker provides a soulful sound that he perfected with the band Santana and is heard on their recordings of “She’s Not There” and “Stormy.” WCR’s vocals are rounded out by Boston’s former lead singer Fran Cosmo who recorded band hits “I Need Your Love” and “Higher Power.” Rounding out the band’s roster of musicians is lead guitarist David Coyle and Mark Hoyt on keyboards.
It took nearly 15 hours, but members of the House Agriculture Committee were able to pass their version of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) Bill. Committee Chair Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) praised the bipartisan legislation:
“This is a balanced, reform-minded, fiscally responsible bill that underscores our commitment to production agriculture and rural America, achieves real savings, and improves program efficiency, said Chairman Frank Lucas.
“The House leadership needs to bring the farm bill to the floor for a vote. We should not jeopardize the health of our rural economies which, by and large, have remained strong the last few years. Our nation’s farmers and ranchers need the certainty of a new five year farm bill and they need it before the current farm bill ends,” said Ranking Member Collin Peterson.
But the USDA is not pleased about cuts to the nutrition title of the bill. “Unfortunately, the bill produced by the House Agriculture Committee contains deep cuts in SNAP, including a provision that will deny much-needed food assistance to 3 million Americans, mostly low-income working families with children as well as seniors. The proposed cuts will deny 280,000 children in low-income families access to school meals and reduce farm income across rural America. These cuts wouldn’t just leave Americans hungry – they would stunt economic growth. The bill also makes misguided reductions to critical energy and conservation program efforts,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in a statement.
The biggest topic of discussion at the 2012 Commodity Classic last week was the farm bill – what should be in it and whether we will even see one this year.
It was the main question that the presidents of the four farm organizations that participate in Classic answered during their time on stage during the general session with emcee Mark Mayfield. It was also the subject of a joint press release issued during the convention by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Soybean Association (ASA), National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and National Sorghum Producers (NSP) expressing the unanimous opinion that their farmers want to see a 2012 Farm Bill in 2012.
“Commodity Classic provides our organizations an opportunity to come together to discuss important policy issues facing our industry. As Congress continues work on the next farm bill, our organizations agree that an affordable crop insurance program is our No. 1 priority. We also stand ready to work with House and Senate Ag Committee leaders to create farm programs that provide risk-management tools to growers when they are facing a loss beyond their control.
“We urge Congress to pass a new farm bill this year to provide the level of certainty in America that a short-term extension cannot.The nation is currently facing record high federal deficits and this requires difficult decisions. We stand ready to do our part to develop more efficient farm policy that will be responsive to taxpayers and effective in helping farms remain viable and productive.
“Our organizations represent more than 70 percent of all crop acres in the United States. Agriculture is a bright spot in our nation’s economy, sustainably meeting the expanding demands to provide food, feed, fuel and fiber to the world. We are pleased to see the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have produced such an aggressive schedule and we thank them for their efforts.”
2012 Commodity Classic Photo Album
Listen to or download audio from each organization’s president below:
Comments from NCGA President Gary Niemeyer of Auburn, IL
Comments from ASA president Steve Wellman of Syracuse, NE
Comments from NSP president Terry Swanson of Walsh, CO
Comments from NAWG president Wayne Hurst of Burley, ID