Summit Agricultural Group Launches Summit Advantage

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

summit-ag-groupIowa-based Summit Agricultural Group has introduced a new service model for farm and agricultural land management that brings the concept of ‘unbundling’ to traditional farm management offerings.

According to Joel Waskow, accredited farm manager with Summit Ag Management, Summit Advantage provides landowners with greater options and flexibility instead of binding them into the current one-size-fits-all approach. “We look at this like a cable company,” explains Waskow. “We all have a lot of channels or services that we don’t use that we have to pay for. With Summit Advantage, landowners can purchase only the services they want.” Summit Ag Management is Summit Agricultural Group’s full-service farm management and advisory unit.

Summit Advantage was just launched this month and Waskow says it has already received an enthusiastic response.

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Joel Waskow, Summit Agricultural Group

agribusiness, audio

AnimalAgCast Goes Solar with Dairy

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

AgWired-Animal Ag Cast On this week’s AnimalAgCast, Lizzy Schultz spoke with Peter Gallo, a third-generation farmer and cheesemaker at Joseph Gallo Farms, a dairy farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The operation has been a pioneer in sustainable farming practices and recently made headlines following the decision to install a new 2 megawatt (MW) solar array to supply renewable energy on-site.

The system is the largest ever installed on a private dairy farm: it utilizes 7,840 solar panels on 8 acres to provide on-site renewable energy, significantly reducing the operation’s need for electricity from the local utility and lowering the operation’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 27,500 metric tons of over the next 20 years.

Gallo’s operation also utilizes one of the largest and longest-running methane digesters in California to power the biogas engines that run their cheese factory.

Listen to this week’s AnimalAgCas here: AnimalAgCast with Peter Gallo, Joseph Farms

Animal AgCast, audio, Dairy, Renewable Energy

Dannon Responds to Ag Groups’ Concerns

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

USFRAThe Dannon Company released a statement Tuesday after being called out by agricultural organizations for its plans to phase out GMOs in some major brands for the sake of sustainability.

In the letter sent Monday to Dannon head of U.S. operations Mariano Lozano, the farm groups said that the company’s strategy to eliminate GMOs “is the exact opposite of the sustainable agriculture that you claim to be seeking. Your pledge would force farmers to abandon safe, sustainable farming practices that have enhanced farm productivity over the last 20 years while greatly reducing the carbon footprint of American agriculture.”

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) chair Nancy Kavazanjian says they publicized the letter because they wanted to Dannon to hear the voices of farmers and ranchers. “We talked to them and tried to have some meetings with them and just couldn’t get any response so we really needed to raise our voices and put an end to this marketing ‘puffery’ that’s going on,” said Kavazanjian. “Dannon seems to imply that GMO crop traits make us less sustainable and that’s absolutely the opposite.

Learn more in this interview with Nancy: Interview with USFRA Chair Nancy Kavazanjian

audio, Dairy, USFRA

Illinois 4R4U Partnership Launched

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4r4uA partnership has been launched between the Illinois Farm Bureau and affiliated county Farm Bureaus, with GROWMARK and a number of FS companies, designed to demonstrate and investigate at the local level the impact and efficacy of 4R nutrient stewardship practices. The 4R field demonstration program, called 4R4U, includes 14 county Farm Bureaus and 11 FS companies in Illinois.

Our county farm bureaus are working with their neighboring FS member companies to really drill down, demonstrate and investigate 4R nutrient strategies at the local level,” says Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources for Illinois Farm Bureau.

The focus of the partnership will be on implementation of the state’s nutrient loss reduction strategy (NLRS) with plot tests at the local level that will compare common practices to advanced practices on nutrient stewardship.

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Lauren Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau

audio, growmark

89th Annual FFA Convention Kicks off in Indy

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

transform-reveal-1024x1024The 89th National FFA Convention has kicked off in Indianapolis, IN and this year’s theme is “Transform: Purpose to Action.” So why transform? By working together, people can transform the message of agriculture. Together, FFA members can continue to educate others on the importance of agriculture. This year’s conference will highlight ways FFA members have spent their time giving back to others and serving their communities. Several programs include FOOD for ALL and Living to Serve grants to National FFA Week. And this week, during the National FFA Convention & Expo, FFA members are once again serving others by giving their time and talents during the National Days of Service.

This week there will be teacher and student workshops along with inspiring speakers. Special thanks to New Holland and FMC for sponsoring our onsite coverage.

89th National FFA Convention & Expo Photo Album

FFA Takes Lessons from Great American Wheat Harvest
Conrad Weaver, Great American Wheat Harvest

Sec Vilsack Says Diversity in Ag Key to Future
Agriculture Sec Vilsack Remarks Agriculture Sec Vilsack Presser

National FFA Advisor Challenges Members to Be Engaged
Remarks from Dr. Steven Brown, National FFA Advisor Interview with Dr. Steven Brown, National FFA Advisor

AgVocating, audio, FFA

GROWMARK Makes Major Energy Investments

Joanna Schroeder

growmark-energyGROWMARK announced two major energy-related investments last month that provide benefits for the members of the Illinois-based agricultural cooperative.

First, GROWMARK acquired a propane terminal in Plattsburg, Missouri which is connected to the ONEOK pipeline, has 270,000 gallons of storage and the capability to load out two trucks at once.  GROWMARK also recently reached an agreement with Suncor to purchase 50 percent interest in UPI, Inc. in Ontario, Canada. The transaction, subject to conditions including regulatory approvals, brings GROWMARK’s ownership of UPI to 100 percent. Carroll says that it was a mutual agreement for the benefit of both parties. Suncor and GROWMARK have also entered into long-term supply agreements for GROWMARK’s petroleum needs in Ontario.

Learn more about GROWMARK’s energy outlook in this interview with Carroll. Interview with Kevin Carroll, GROWMARK Energy

audio, growmark, propane

GRSB Hosts Global Sustainability Conference

Joanna Schroeder

wedpanelneto The Global Conference on Sustainable Beef was held earlier this month in Banff, Alberta, and the event featured a diverse group of inspiring keynotes that touched on the global commitment to furthering sustainability efforts. Speakers included Dennis Laycraft, president of the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef (GRSB). He explained that the ultimate goal of GRSB is to expand global reach through more national and regional level roundtables, and he emphasized the importance of finding more ways to tangibly measure, manage, and communicate the progress being made in global sustainability efforts.

Next to speak was Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, chairperson of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), who offered a Canadian perspective on the roundtable. She has been very involved in the Canadian beef industry, and Laycroft referred to her as “a leader in strengthening the industry.”

Following the first two speakers, Dr. David Hughes, Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College, London, gave a keynote address titled “What do You Want With Your Beef?”

Listen to the full address here:
Global Conference on Sustainable Beef

agribusiness, audio, Beef, Environment

ZimmCast Introduces Rice Farming TV

Joanna Schroeder

zimmcast-image-postingIn this new episode of ZimmCast, Chuck Zimmerman speaks with Matthew Sligar, the host of Rice Farming TV, a weekly Vlog.

Sligar decided there was a need for this kind of online sharing about farming after talking with people who had no idea that rice was even grown in California. This is exactly what we need today, reports Zimmerman, and especially more people like Sligar.  If you’re interested in contacting Matthew and possibly providing him with some support in his efforts please do so.

You can listen to the program here: ZimmCast with Matthew Sligar, Rice Farming TV

audio, Rice, ZimmCast

Disneyland Hosts #CAPCA16 & It’s #Ag Superheros

Joanna Schroeder

capca-42nd-annual-conferenceCAPTAIN CAPCA and Dr. Foe battled it out in the opening credits to this year’s 42nd annual California Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA). The event took place in a great location for a superhero and villain – Disneyland – in Anaheim, California October 16-18, 2016. This year’s theme was Feeding the Nation – Fighting the Fear and the speakers covered all angles of what increasing consumer interest in agriculture means for the pesticide business from innovative technologies and tools to data to drones to biopesticides to water quality and nutrient management and much, much, more.

Special thanks to FMC Corporation for covering our CAPCA adventure.

42nd Annual CAPCA Photo Album.

FMC’s Kasper Talks Pesticides & Regs at #CAPCA16
John Kasper, FMC John Kasper, FMC, CAPCA Conference

agribusiness, AgVocating, audio, Events, FMC, insect protection

EU Farm Agenda Would Hurt U.S. Dairy Industry

Joanna Schroeder

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-10-00-59-amSurrendering to a European Union (EU) seizure of common food names would cost the U.S. dairy industry billions of dollars, slash domestic cheese consumption and increase prices for consumers, according to an analysis released today by Informa Economics IEG.

The European farm policy agenda, which is focused on using geographical indications (GIs) to unfairly grant European food producers a huge commercial advantage, would force farmers and food producers outside of Europe to rebrand familiar foods with unfamiliar names. The resulting confusion in the U.S. domestic marketplace could shutter family farms, eliminate thousands of rural jobs and hurt the overall U.S. economy, the analysis said. The European Union advocates extending GI protections beyond a small number of specialty foods to cover many food names that have little to no geographic identity and have long been commonly used by food producers around the world. At today’s prices, the decline in U.S. cheese consumption due to the loss of common food names could amount to $2.3 billion in lost sales in three years, and $5.2 billion in 10 years.

The 60-page analysis was commissioned by the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), an international alliance of companies and organizations dedicated to preserving the right to use common food terms.

You can listen to a complete recording of the announcement detailing the above with a Q&A here: Economic Analysis On Impact of EU Geographical Indications

agribusiness, Animal Agriculture, audio, Dairy