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Business Briefs - October 4, 2017

New additions for 2017 Agricultural Enhancement Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has announced changes and new additions for the 2017 Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP).

TAEP is a cost sharing program. Producers fulfill requirements to defray the costs of strategic investments in their agricultural operations. The goal is to increase profitability and efficiency while promoting long-term investments in Tennessee’s agriculture and forestry industries.

Applications will be accepted online and by mail from Oct. 1-16. Changes and additions include:

•The final reimbursement request deadline for Livestock Equipment is now April 1

•New livestock and feed storage equipment items have been added, including portable feed bins, hay unrollers and fly sprayers

•Producers in the genetics program may now use multiple purchases in order to receive the program maximum

•The required number of beehives for the honeybee cost share has decreased

•Biosecurity items for poultry growers have been added

Other changes and additions can be found online at

First Farmers donation helps feed Indiana's hungry

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana Pork's Million Meals program received a $10,000 donation from First Farmers Bank & Trust, headquartered in Converse, Ind., during the Ham Breakfast at the Indiana State Fair on August 3.

Since its inception in 2009, the Million Meals program has provided more than one million ground pork meals to Hoosiers in need through a partnership with Feeding Indiana's Hungry, an association representing Indiana's food banks.

The Million Meals program is truly an Indiana effort with the pork provided by Indiana Packer's Corp. in Delphi and the processing at McFarling Foods in Indianapolis. The ground pork will be distributed among Feeding Indiana's Hungry member food banks throughout the state.

Integration to help Agrible growers make spraying decisions

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — With dicamba spray technology becoming more prevalent than ever, growers across the globe are looking for tools to help them spray more responsibly. Agrible’s Morning Farm Report software has integrated the DriftWatch and BeeCheck technologies from FieldWatch, so growers and applicators can see where sensitive crops and beehives are located.

The FieldWatch platform and mapping feature will give Morning Farm Report users access to information about where vegetable fields, fruit fields, beehives, greenhouses, pastures, organic fields and more are located. The FieldWatch database contains self-reported information from several states, and Saskatchewan in Canada.

Growers will be able to see and identify sensitive fields through the My Maps tool in Morning Farm Report with an easy color-coded system. Users can choose which sensitive fields they would like to view with easy toggle switches. When growers click on a specific field, the FieldWatch database information pops up and will give the user any contact information or details available.

Deadline to apply for Environmental Stewardship Program soon

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana companies wishing to join the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) have until Oct. 31 to complete and submit their applications. Companies may start the application process by visiting

ESP is a statewide program that provides incentives and recognition for industrial operations that go above and beyond environmental requirements for preventing air, land and water pollution. Any business that is regulated by IDEM is eligible, regardless of type of business, size or complexity. To qualify, companies must demonstrate they have the following:

•Standard of environmental compliance

•Implemented and will maintain an environmental management system (EMS)

•Committed to continuous environmental improvement

ESP is managed by IDEM’s Office of Program Support. IDEM requires that members submit an annual performance report (APR), due April 1. The ESP membership term lasts for four years and renewals must be requested when submitting the fourth APR.

Additional information, including annual performance reports, is available at

Collect milkweed seeds for monarchs again in Ohio

(photo in 6336)

BROOKVILLE, Ohio — Did you participate in the 2016 common milkweed pod collection? It is happening again this year, and the Montgomery Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is again a dropoff point for the milkweed pods.

Hundreds of Ohioans worked together last fall to collect approximately 200 pounds of common milkweed seeds, totaling more than 19 million seeds. The massive collection effort was spearheaded by the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI), which is working to get the word out about why monarch butterflies are disappearing and to help partners create monarch habitat.

Milkweed is the only food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. All of the seed collected will be used to establish new plantings to create additional habitat for monarch butterflies across Ohio.

It is best to store pods in paper bags because in plastic bags moisture can collect and allow mold to develop. Store the seedpods in a cool, dry place. For guidelines regarding milkweed collection, email Marci Lininger at or Lori Stevenson at

When collecting, note the date and county of collection on the paper sack, then bring them to the Montgomery SWCD office until Oct. 30. The office is located at the corner of Amity and Diamond Mill roads, at 10025 Amity Rd., Brookville, OH 45309; office hours are Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Visit or call 937-854-7645 with questions.

Farmers: Help award more than $3M to rural nonprofits

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Nonprofit organizations help rural communities thrive, and farmers across the U.S. have an opportunity to help these organizations. Through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, farmers can enroll for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a local eligible nonprofit organization.

New this year, all farmers are now eligible to enroll in the program, if they meet the requirement of being 21 and actively engaged in farming at least 250 acres or more. The Grow Communities program will award more than $3 million to nonprofits in rural America in 2018.

These funds are used to provide support to a variety of rural nonprofit organizations that reflect the makeup and character of their local communities, including food banks, emergency response organizations, youth agriculture programs and many others. Since the program began in 2010, the Grow Communities program has awarded more than $26 million in donations.

Farmers can easily enroll in the Grow Communities program from now to Nov. 1. Online enrollment, as well as a complete list of program rules and eligibility information, can be found at or by calling 877-267-3332.

Tractor Supply announces Northeast distribution center

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Tractor Supply Co., the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States, announced it has officially begun construction of a new distribution center in Frankfort, N.Y.

Tractor Supply executives and local government officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking event August 9 at the site of the distribution center located in the Frankfort 5S South Business Park. The facility is expected to begin shipping by the end of 2018 and will be approximately 930,500 square feet in size, with the potential to create more than 350 new full-time jobs over the next six years.

Tractor Supply currently operates 1,630 stores in 49 states and seven distribution centers in various locations, including Pendleton, Ind. Upon completion of the Frankfort facility in late 2018, it will operate eight distribution centers in total.

DuPont acquires ag software company Granular

WILMINGTON, Del. — DuPont announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire San Francisco-based Granular, Inc., a leading provider of software and analytics tools that help farms improve efficiency, profitability and sustainability.

Granular also operates, the leading digital marketplace for farmland real estate. Sid Gorham, Granular’s co-founder and CEO, will continue to lead Granular and will lead Digital Agriculture for DuPont, which includes responsibility for Encirca services, DuPont’s agronomic software business.

With its focus on developing innovative solutions to help growers build strong, sustainable businesses, DuPont is creating a digital agriculture ecosystem to support information sharing, services and commerce. This acquisition will enable the business to connect growers, analytics and public and private data to advance its vision for a digitally connected, more sustainable agriculture industry.

Closing of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected in the third quarter. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Following the close, Granular will continue to maintain its offices in San Francisco and Champaign-Urbana, Ill.

Economic benefits of organic highlighted in new book

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The significant and long-lasting economic benefits that organic agriculture can offer local communities are featured in an important new publication released by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

The new book, Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities, is a compilation of research, essays and reports exploring how the growing popularity of locally sourced food can be harnessed to boost economic opportunities for rural and urban communities.

The feature chapter on organic, “Organic, A Solid, Beneficial and Sustainable Investment” was co-authored by Dr. Edward Jaenicke, associate professor for agricultural statistics at Penn State University and Maggie McNeil, senior editor at the Organic Trade Assoc.

Contributors to the book include experts from the USDA, financial institutions, universities, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and other agricultural and economic sources. The book may be downloaded at

Seedling program produces trees for Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry and Huber Engineered Woods LLC (HEW) are teaming up to initiate the Trees for Tennessee Seedling Program.

The program aims to provide an avenue for the establishment of as many as 1 million pine seedlings on at least 400 acres throughout the greater Tennessee Valley and Cumberland Plateau.

Loblolly pine is the most important softwood species in Tennessee and is used primarily in the manufacture of paper, oriented strand board (OSB), plywood and construction lumber. Although loblolly pine is important and significant as a timber species, it accounts for only about 4 percent of Tennessee’s 14 million forested acres, far below hardwood forest competitors such as oak, hickory and maple.

HEW is purchasing the seedlings from the Division of Forestry’s East Tennessee Nursery in Delano as a cost-share incentive to provide the seedlings to qualified Tennessee landowners at no additional cost. Contact your local Division of Forestry office and visit for more information.

Monsanto, Valent announce expanded partnership

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Monsanto Co. and Valent U.S.A. LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd., announced their expanded partnership in the 2018 Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform.

Several key changes provide soybean, corn and cotton growers with the most effective solutions to be more productive. Valent will offer Valor and Fierce brands as the exclusive preemergence PPO residual herbicides in the program. In addition, new products will be added to the program, including solutions for control of tough weeds, such as new Mauler Herbicide and a line extension of the longest lasting residual, Fierce, with Fierce MTZ Co-Pack.

Valor SX Herbicide will again be part of the program for 2018. Rowel Herbicide and Rowel FX Herbicide will be phased out to streamline product offerings. Valent's line of postemergence herbicides, including Cobra and Select Max Herbicide with Inside Technology, will remain in the program.

In addition, growers will have access to the latest insecticide solutions from Valent in the 2018 program. Asana XL Insecticide, an industry leader for broad spectrum foliar insect control and Zeal SC, a proven residual miticide, will both be offered in the 2018 program.

CoBank reports second quarter financial results

DENVER, Colo. — CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, announced financial results for the second quarter and first six months of 2017.

The bank experienced loan volume growth in all three of its operating segments, and credit quality and earnings remained strong. Net income for the second quarter increased 7 percent to $259.8 million, compared to $243.3 million in the second quarter of 2016. For the first six months of 2017, net income was $522.6 million, a 7 percent increase from $486.6 million in the same period of 2016.

Higher average loan volume was a key driver of the increase for both the quarter and year-to-date periods, partially offset by decreases in fair value accretion income related to CoBank's merger with U.S. AgBank in 2012. Average loan volume rose 3 percent in the second quarter to $95.4 billion, from $92.4 billion in the same period last year. For the first six months of 2017, average loan volume rose 6 percent to $96.7 billion, from $91.1 billion in the same period last year.

The increases resulted primarily from higher levels of wholesale lending to the bank's affiliated Farm Credit associations, driven by greater demand for credit from farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers. The bank also saw increased demand for loans from farmer-owned cooperatives, agricultural export finance customers, rural electric cooperatives and project finance borrowers.

Web resource to foster collaboration on water security

WASHINGTON, D.C. —, launched by the USAID Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP), led by Winrock International, will enable greater access to information and resources about global water security.

Through the aggregation of water security news and innovations, and the publication of original resources and toolkits, will foster public-private collaboration across the globe and within the United States. SWP is led by Winrock International in partnership with Tetra Tech, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Resources Institute, Stockholm Environment Institute and its resource partners CEO Water Mandate and mWater.

SWP will provide USAID missions and government counterparts with access to globally recognized technical expertise and field experience. SWP’s participatory, adaptive approach already offers comprehensive management solutions in 14 countries.

This participatory, focused approach to water resource management aims to strengthen water security, improve public health and livelihoods, alleviate poverty, encourage economic growth and promote political stability.

AgriClear and United Producers announce strategic alliance

COLUMBUS, Ohio — AgriClear, North America’s premier online cattle transaction and payment platform, together with United Producers, Inc. (UPI), one of North America’s largest farmer-owned and -operated livestock marketing cooperatives, announced a collaborative agreement to benefit livestock farmers across the Midwest.

UPI will utilize AgriClear as its digital marketing solution for online cattle transactions, which will bring innovative livestock marketing technology to current and future UPI members. The combination of UPI’s marketing expertise, vast network and commitment to evolving technology to meet member needs, along with AgriClear’s leading-edge cattle trading platform, is an offering unlike any other in North America.

This alliance provides cattle buyers and sellers with full transparency throughout the payment process along with a mechanism to trade cattle based on their true value.

Stockmanship & Stewardship request for proposals available

DENVER, Colo. — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc. (NCBA) has opened its Stockmanship & Stewardship (S&S) Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2018 Regional Event Series.

These one-of-a-kind educational programs are conducted in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health (BI) and the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. NCBA and its partners will entertain proposals for 5-6 regional S&S events in 2018. Cattle industry organizations including state associations, state beef councils, state/university extension agencies, colleges and universities, industry companies and ranching/farming operations, are encouraged to apply.

Grant recipients will receive up to $10,000 to host an S&S event. Additionally, a team of NCBA staff will be dedicated to assist each host with planning, marketing, advertising and execution of the event. For more details and the RFP, visit

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 1.

NIFA seeks stakeholder input on food, agriculture priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting input from stakeholders regarding research, extension and education priorities in food and agriculture.

“NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives” focuses on answering two questions from stakeholders: What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension or education that NIFA should address? What are the most promising science opportunities for advancement of food and agricultural sciences?

NIFA wants to hear from you about priorities and opportunities in agricultural sciences. This will help NIFA prioritize science emphasis areas, identify gaps in programming and determine which programs are redundant or underperforming.

To contribute your ideas online, fill out the input form at

Submissions will be accepted through Dec. 1. The input form is one opportunity to share written comments. Please take time to consider and clearly form your answers to the questions above before filling out the form. You will be allowed 600 words for each question.

You may also submit written comments via email to

Comments sought on FDA dietary ingredients list

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Oct. 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hosted a public meeting in Maryland titled “Development of a List of Dietary Ingredients that Pre-Date the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.”

Though the meeting is past, the FDA is still accepting public comments on this topic. To submit electronically, visit and type FDA-2017-N-4625 in the search box. Comments will be accepted until Dec. 4.

Funds support projects to improve the waters of Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is accepting grant proposals for projects that will help improve water quality and reduce or eliminate nonpoint source pollution.

Nonpoint source pollution is soil, urban runoff, fertilizers, chemicals and other contaminants that degrade surface and groundwater quality. The Nonpoint Source Program was created in 1987 as part of the Clean Water Act and provides funding to states to stop nonpoint source pollution.

Local governments, regional and state agencies, public institutions and private nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for those federal dollars administered by TDA’s Land and Water Stewardship Section. Highest priority is given to projects that seek to make measurable improvements to waters impaired by nonpoint source pollution.

The deadline for submitting grant proposals is Dec. 1. Proposals will be evaluated based on program goals and objectives, performance evaluation criteria and applicable EPA nonpoint source grant guidelines. Other priorities for funding include water quality related educational projects, projects that reduce urban runoff and projects that aim to protect threatened waters.

The FY2018 Request for Proposals is posted online at and for more information, contact Sam Marshall at 615-837-5306 or

DEKRA accepting nominations for Safety In Action ICON awards

OXNARD, Calif. — DEKRA Insight, a global leader in safety at work, is accepting nominations for its annual Safety in Action ICON awards, recognizing remarkable individuals who make safety happen every day in the workplace.

Winners will represent standout individuals such as a supervisor, facilitator or executive who have expertly guided safety and inspired people to go above and beyond for their co-workers. Past winners include employees and executives from the U.S. Department of Transportation, BNSF Railway, PHI, Inc., DSM Dyneema, Hexion Inc. and Shell Oil, among others.

Nominations for Safety in Action Icons are open online at through Dec. 15. Winners will be formally recognized during the Safety in Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., in March 2018.

TDA announces new agribusiness development grant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) has announced a new agribusiness development grant, the Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF).

The AEF is an incentive program that supports Gov. Bill Haslam’s priority of job creation and economic development by facilitating agricultural development in Tennessee. It will provide assistance to new and expanding Tennessee agriculture and food businesses, particularly in rural counties.

The AEF is an idea that originated from the Governor’s Rural Task Force and will help meet the goal of eliminating distressed counties in Tennessee by 2025. It is administered by the TDA in conjunction with the Department of Economic and Community Development, a Rural Task Force partner.

The AEF will address key components of agricultural economic development including increasing on-farm income, improving farmers’ access to markets, increasing capacity of existing agribusinesses and agricultural innovation.

The Department of Agriculture is accepting applications on a rolling basis and encourages interested applicants to apply soon. For more information, visit

Start selecting 2018 Illinois performance-tested bulls

URBANA, Ill. — Seedstock breeders should be identifying bulls they plan to consign to the 2018 Illinois Performance-Tested (IPT) Bull Sale. The IPT Bull Sale is the lead-off event for the annual Illinois Beef Expo.

The sale is scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The sale accepts older as well as younger bulls, with a birth date range from Jan. 1, 2016-March 2017. The sale continues to expand its market through the use of an online bidding service, which will help the sale build upon an already distinguished reputation in the state of Illinois and the Midwest.

Multi-trait economic selection indexes will be the foundation for determining qualification and sale order. The sale order will be based on the “percent rank” for a maternal and a terminal Dollar Value Index in each breed. The two indices used have been included in the IPT Bull Sale catalog for several years and for the respective breeds are: Angus-$Wean ($W), $Beef ($B); Simmental-All Purpose Index (API), Terminal Index (TI); Hereford-Baldy Maternal Index (BMI); and Certified Hereford Beef index (CHB).

All Angus and Simmental bulls will be required to be tested free or free by pedigree of AM, NH and CA. Simmentals will also be required to be tested free of OS, PHA and TH. Hereford bulls will be required to be free of IE and hypotrichosis. In regards to DD, bulls will be allowed to sell as long as they have been tested within the requirements of the breed association to determine carrier status.

Breeders are eligible to sell eight bulls in the 2018 sale, with two of these bulls not requiring the nomination fee; however, consignors selling more than six bulls will require that they index above the average for their breed at cataloging. Also, first-time consignors are limited to nominating two bulls.

Nomination deadline and fees are three-tiered, with the following dates and costs: Nov. 15, $75; Dec. 1, $100; and Dec. 15, $125. A copy of the rules and regulations and nomination form, along with past sale information, are posted at

Rules and regulation information can also be obtained by contacting Travis Meteer at 217-430-7030 or

More than $1M invested in Kentucky Ag Development Funds

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board approved $1,054,178 in 12 agricultural diversification and rural development programs across the Commonwealth at its August monthly board meeting.

The Hardin County Extension District Foundation was approved for up to an additional $196,056 in state and county funds to support the development of a livestock events center in Elizabethtown. These additional funds bring total approved funding to $457,194.

Seven County Agricultural Investment Programs (CAIP) were approved by the board totaling $823,697 for Elliot ($104,623), Green ($185,000), Jefferson ($46,000), Lyon ($29,474), Mason ($200,000), Menifee ($63,600) and Shelby ($195,000) counties. In addition to these new approvals, $18,000 was approved to enhance an existing CAIP in Russell County.

The Deceased Farm Animal Removal Program serves as a measure to facilitate the coordination of environmentally sound and cost effective disposal of deceased livestock for Kentucky producers. Two Deceased Farm Animal Removal Programs totaling $11,425 were approved for Taylor ($7,500) and Washington ($3,925) counties.

The Shared-use Equipment Program assists broad-based community organizations with the purchase of farm equipment. The equipment purchased is made available for producer use in a specific county on a leased basis. One Shared-use Equipment Program totaling $5,000 was approved for Oldham County.

DuPont, ADM win Innovation in Bioplastics Award

WILMINGTON, Del. — DuPont Industrial Biosciences (DuPont) and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) were announced as joint winners of the 2017 Innovation in Bioplastics Award. The Bioplastics Council – a division of the Plastics Industry Assoc. (PLASTICS) – honored the companies with the second annual award for their groundbreaking process to produce furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME), a biobased monomer, from fructose.

The technological development has the potential to expand the materials landscape in the 21st century with exciting and truly novel, high-performance renewable materials, with applications in packaging, textiles, engineering plastics and many other industries.

FDME is a high-purity derivative of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), one of the 12 building blocks identified by the U.S. Department of Energy that can be converted into a number of high-value, biobased chemicals or materials that can deliver high performance in a number of applications. Biobased FDME has long been sought and researched, but has not yet been available at commercial scale and at reasonable cost.

The technology developed by DuPont and ADM is a more efficient and simple process than traditional conversion approaches and results in higher yields, lower energy usage, lower capital expenditures and better performance.

One of the first polymers under development that will use FDME is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a novel polyester also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3-propanediol). PTF is a 100 percent renewable and recyclable polymer that, when used to make bottles and other beverage packages, substantially improves gas-barrier properties compared to other polyesters. This makes PTF a great choice for customers in the beverage packaging industry looking to improve the shelf life of their products.

Continental conveyor belt plant celebrates 50th anniversary

MARYSVILLE, Ohio — Continental’s Marysville plant, its premier North American manufacturing facility for conveyor belting products, celebrated its 50th anniversary recently.

“We are proud to share in this golden jubilee celebration of a highly versatile and productive facility,” said Jim Hill, ContiTech CEO for the North America Region. “This plant has made belting for facilities all over the world, and we are confident that it will continue that process into the future.”

The 375,000 square-foot facility rests on a 110-acre plot of land about 30 miles northwest of Columbus. The plant shipped its first conveyor belt on August 31, 1967. Total employment at the location is 292.

Marysville primarily produces fabric and steel conveyor belting to service many industries from mining to power generation to construction and wood products. It has the capability to produce the world’s strongest conveyor belt, ST10000, which is a steel cord construction. Continental ContiTech acquired the plant in January 2015.

Wyffels invests in production facility to meet growing demand

GENESEO, Ill. — Wyffels Hybrids is investing to ensure it continues to deliver industry-leading seed quality to customers by expanding its production facility in Atkinson, Ill.

New, state-of-the-art husking machines and electronic eye sorters have been installed in the husk and sort facility to increase harvest capacity and improve efficiency. In addition, expansions have been made to the warehouse facility, increasing storage capacity by 50 percent and tripling cold storage capacity.

Across three years, Wyffels Hybrids is investing $23 million in its production facility. In response to record growth, a new, single-pass dryer, shelling building, and bulk storage building are being constructed at the production facility in 2018. Upon completion, the entire shelling process will be automated, improving safety, efficiency and flexibility, while providing the necessary capacity for significant future growth.

These improvements will be completed by 2018 harvest and will increase the capacity of the Atkinson production facility, allowing Wyffels the capability to expand production to better serve its customers as demand increases.

Program rewards farmers for improving water quality

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Winrock International is pleased to announce the publication of Pay-For-Performance Conservation: A How-To Guide, a free comprehensive guide to implementing and managing Pay-For-Performance (PFP) conservation programs.

The guide that can be downloaded at is based on Winrock’s decade of experience pioneering PFP conservation, including the Milwaukee River Pay-For-Performance Project, which reduced phosphorus losses by as much as 40 percent from farms in the West Branch of the Milwaukee River Watershed.

PFP conservation is an innovative approach to improve water quality by financially rewarding farmers for reducing agricultural runoff, which damages water quality. Winrock has spearheaded PFP programs to reduce the amount of phosphorus that washes into rivers and lakes.

Illinois State Fair wine contest bestows its top awards

UTICA, Ill. — During the annual Vintage Illinois Wine Festival 2017 in Matthiessen State Park in Utica, the IGGVA celebrated the best wines in Illinois by presenting trophies to the top award winners from the 2017 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition.

In the commercial division, the Governor’s Cup for Illinois-Grown Fruit was presented to five wineries for the top wine in the following categories: Red, White, Rosé, Fruit and Dessert. Three other top awards for Red, White and Fruit wine were also given for those produced from any appellation.

Best of Show for Commercial Wines went to Galena Cellars, The Secret Garden for its Viognier vintage 2016.

The Governor’s Cup for Illinois-Grown Fruit went to the following: Red Table, Hickory Ridge Vineyard for its Norton 2012; White Table, Galena Cellars, The Secret Garden for La Crescent 2016; Blush/Rosé, Blue Sky Vineyards for Rosé Wine 2016; Fruit, Pomona Winery for Strawberry Dessert Wine 2016; and Dessert, Willow Ridge Vineyard for Pink Catawba 2016.

Top Awards for Wines from any Appellation were: Red Table, Prairie State Winery for its Cabernet Franc 2015; White Table, Galena Cellars for Traminette 2016; and Fruit, Galena Cellars for Unconditional Surrender Sweet Cider 2016.

In the amateur competition, there were two top awards – Best of Show Grape Wine, which went to Gerald Podraza for Pinard XIV 2014; and Best of Show Non-Grape Wine, awarded to Joseph and Ruby Sendek for Cranberry 2015.

For a full list of winners at the 2017 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition, visit

BRANDT announces distribution partnership with SiteOne

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — BRANDT, a leading manufacturer of specialty products for the turf, agriculture and lawn and garden markets, has signed a distribution agreement with SiteOne Landscape Supply. With this agreement all BRANDT and BRANDT iHammer turf and ornamental products are now available through all SiteOne locations.

Formerly known as John Deere Landscapes, Site One is the largest landscape supply distributor in North America and currently has more than 450 branches serving the landscape, nursery, golf and sports turf markets. This is BRANDT’s first national distribution agreement that covers the U.S. and Canada, which will significantly expand the reach of BRANDT products in new geographies.

Genisys’ sponsored acre provides record kale harvest

OAK PARK, Mich. — Genisys Credit Union’s sponsored acre of land on Forgotten Harvest Farms has resulted in a record harvest so far this season. The acre was dedicated to growing and harvesting nutrient-rich kale that was then donated to residents of the Flint area and distributed by Eastern Michigan Food Bank.

More than 22,000 pounds of kale have been harvested to date; 30,000 pounds are expected to be harvested this year by the end of the growing season. Last year’s kale yield resulted in a harvest of more than 17,000 pounds.

Increases in yield have been due to the field being expanded and a quicker start to the 2017 season, and improved soil conditions through the implementation of a cover crop that fosters healthy soil and improves sustainability of the land.

Cargill acquires Southern States’ animal feed business

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Cargill has closed on its agreement to acquire the animal feed business of Southern States Cooperative, Inc. The deal was announced in early August and closed on Sept. 22.

Under the agreement, Cargill purchased the assets of Southern States Cooperative’s animal feed business, including seven feed mills and its portfolio of products, brands and customer and supplier relationships. The other segments of Southern States’ business – retail, farm supply, energy and agronomy – are not part of the transaction.

The acquisition strengthens Cargill’s distribution and go-to-market capabilities in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States, and provides a pathway for continued growth across the region. In addition to the acquisition, Cargill has completed a long-term supply agreement with Southern States for Cargill to supply its retail stores with Southern States branded feed.

Univar acquires Tagma Brasil to expand reach

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Univar, Inc. announced its wholly owned subsidiary Univar Brasil Ltda. has acquired the stock of Tagma Brasil Ltda.

Univar stated Brazil has agriculture and agro-food exports of more than $89 billion and a domestic market that serves nearly 210 million people. This acquisition expands Univar's agriculture business in one of the world's fastest-growing agricultural markets.

In Brazil, Tagma is a leading provider of custom formulation and packaging services for crop protection chemicals that include herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and surfactants. Tagma formulates more than 200 registered crop protection products and provides conception and preparation of new formulations; adaption of existing formulations; and technical assistance with processing and regulatory requirements.

AB InBev partners with agriculture technology firm Agrible

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and Agrible, Inc. announced a global partnership to improve barley production while minimizing environmental impact.

The two companies are joining forces to help farmers around the world access better data and predictive analytics on crop management and climate effects. AB InBev is the largest brewer and user of malt barley in the world. In 2013, it created SmartBarley, an innovative platform and incubator which leverages data, technology and insights to help farmers solve challenges and improve their productivity and environmental performance.

Today, SmartBarley is present in 13 countries across five continents. To enhance this program, Agrible will provide farmers with access to their proprietary software, Morning Farm Report. This software helps growers detect disease threats earlier, improve logistics planning, monitor crops on all fields and improve quality.

Agrible and AB InBev will also work together to develop sustainability insights and metrics in areas such as water use, land efficiency and the carbon footprint from growing and sourcing ingredients.

United Fresh, WG provide recall insurance to produce industry

IRVINE, Calif. — The United Fresh Produce Assoc. and Western Growers (WG) have entered into a formal marketing agreement to jointly promote the Western Growers Shield, a first-of-its-kind insurance program specifically designed to protect food companies from recall liability.

Under the terms of the agreement, United Fresh will exclusively endorse and promote this proprietary program encompassing property, contamination, recall, liability and non-physical damage loss of income. United Fresh and WG will also work together to provide several other proprietary WG solutions to the fresh produce industry.

To learn more about the Western Growers Shield program, visit

Grigg Brothers rebrands turf business as GRIGG

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Grigg Brothers, the leading turf nutrition brand, is being rebranded as simply GRIGG. With a modern, updated look, GRIGG will remain the premier golf and sports turf brand in the BRANDT product portfolio. BRANDT, which bought Grigg Brothers in 2014, is a leading manufacturer of specialty products for the turf and ornamental market.

The rebranding includes a new website – – that puts the company’s university trials and research, technical papers, nutrition programs and catalog at customers’ fingertips within a few clicks. It also includes a revamped social media presence on Facebook and on Twitter using the handle @GRIGGco

GRIGG was established in 1992 by brothers Mark and Gary Grigg, who joined forces to put their combined entrepreneurial spirit, agronomic education and turf experience together to create cutting-edge turf nutrition products. Mark and Gary continue to lead the GRIGG brand.

Harrison County home to Ohio Tree Farm of the Year

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hepatica Falls Tree Farm, located in Harrison County in east-central Ohio and owned by Randy and Koral Clum, has been named 2017 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The Clums have actively managed their 152-acre woodland for the past 24 years. In the spring 2017 issue of The Ohio Woodland Journal, Koral Clum wrote an article about the tree farm, sharing that they divided the property into nine management units, from three acres up to 52 in size. The family applies different forest management techniques to each unit, resulting in an excellent venue to compare and contrast different forest practices.

The Clums are also professional consulting foresters, with the goal of promoting science-based forest management in Ohio’s forests. They are active in the East Central Ohio Forestry Assoc., a regional group of woodland owners, the Society of American Foresters and the Ohio Chapter of the Assoc. of Consulting Foresters.

A public field day is planned for Oct. 21 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the farm to highlight conservation practices, with demonstrations by forestry and wildlife experts. For more information, contact Cotton Randall, DNR Division of Forestry, at 614-265-6667.

Indiana Farm Bureau announces new state PAC, AgELECT

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. (IFB) has launched AgELECT, the organization’s new state political action committee (PAC). AgELECT contributions will be used to support state Senate and House candidates who are supportive of Indiana agriculture. With the creation of AgELECT to focus on state races, IFB’s existing ELECT PAC will be used at the federal level.

IFB believes it’s crucial to support elected officials who value farmers. Both PACs will work to enhance agricultural related interests through involvement in the political process and influencing the selection, nomination and election of individuals to public office. AgELECT will operate with identical grassroots endorsement procedures to ELECT, the organization’s existing federal PAC.

AgELECT provides more fundraising flexibility by expanding the pool of potential donors to corporations and non-members. Individuals, LLCs, sole proprietorships and partnerships are able to contribute an unlimited amount of money to AgELECT. Corporate contributions, however, are limited by Indiana state law.

NCBA’s Redbook for ranchers now available for 2018

DENVER, Colo. — A pocket-sized recordkeeping tool used by cattle producers for more than 30 years is now available for 2018. The Redbook from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc. helps cattle producers effectively and efficiently record their daily production efforts, helping enhance profitability.

The 2018 Redbook has more than 100 pages to record calving activity, herd health, pasture use, cattle inventory, body condition, cattle treatment, A.I. breeding records and more. It also contains a Producers Guide for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle, Beef Quality Assurance Best Practices and proper injection technique information, as well as a calendar and notes section.

Redbooks can be purchased for $7 each, plus shipping and handling. Customization of the Redbooks is available (for 100 books or more), and quantity discounts are available. To order, visit

FieldAlytics now available to Canadian farmers

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan — FieldAlytics is now available in Canada through FieldAlytics Solutions Canada, Inc. This new company is the exclusive marketing organization for the EFC Systems, Inc.’s FieldAlytics suite of precision agriculture and field data management tools throughout Canada.

FieldAlytics has been used by a select group of Canadian equipment dealers for more than five years, but has not been widely available in Canada. FieldAlytics Solutions Canada will provide a complete suite of digital geospatial products and support that are distinctly relevant to Canadian producers, input suppliers and equipment dealerships.

FieldAlytics is one of the longest-established cloud-based geospatial tools for agriculture, providing a complete suite of geospatial, financial and planning tools for agriculture. EFC Systems, headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., has been providing agribusiness solutions for more than 25 years and has clients in 47 states and throughout Canada.

Kentucky approves more than $1.2 million for projects

WINCHESTER, Ky. — The Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corp. (KAFC) approved $1,203,650 in eight agricultural loans for projects in the Commonwealth at its board meeting in September.

Beginning Farmer loans went to eight recipients in Boone ($200,000), Bracken ($125,000), Fulton ($250,000), Green ($67,650), Harrison ($76,000), Madison ($250,000), Pendleton ($175,000) and Shelby ($60,000) counties. The Beginning Farmer loan is designed to assist individuals with some farming experience who desire to develop, expand or buy into a farming operation.

Beginning farmers may qualify for financing to purchase livestock, equipment or agriculture facilities; to secure permanent working capital; for the purchase of farm real estate; or to invest in a partnership or LLC. For more information on the programs offered by the KAFC, contact Beth Mobley, director of loan programs, at 502-782-1764 or or visit the KAFC webpage at

Peterson, Terva join Iowa Ag Startup Engine effort

AMES, Iowa — The Ag Startup Engine (ASE), located at the Iowa State University Research Park, announced Peterson Genetics has joined the effort to bring education, mentoring and financing resources to Iowa entrepreneurs and startups focused on agriculture technologies.

The ASE effort was launched two years ago to help address two fundamental gaps that prevent agricultural startups and entrepreneurs from being more successful in Iowa: early seed stage investment and organized mentorship from successful Iowa and Midwest entrepreneurs.

Peterson joins Veridian Credit Union, Hertz Farm Management, Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa, Next Level Ventures, Summit Agricultural Group, Ag Leader Technologies, Ag Ventures Alliance and Peoples Co. as the ninth member of the ASE.

The ASE also announced it has made an initial seed investment in Terva – sometimes referred to as the “Zillow of agricultural farm real estate.” This is the fifth Iowa-based startup ASE has invested in since its formation.

Terva’s central mission is to make the world’s farmland information more accessible. The company achieves this mission through its online marketplace for farmland real estate. Terva streamlines the farmland sales and rental process by connecting landowners with farmers and real estate professionals so they can buy, sell and rent farmland.

Terva joins fellow Iowa-based startups Performance Livestock Analytics, Nebullam, Gross-Wen Technologies and Smart Ag in the portfolio companies of the ASE Fund. ASE aims to provide agricultural entrepreneurs a structured means of moving from a startup concept to a seed-ready business. Working in partnership with ISU’s Startup Factory Accelerator, the program is implementing an infrastructure for mentoring, rapid prototyping, product development, financing and customer acquisition.

Over the next two years, the Ag Startup Engine hopes to add 5-10 more agriculture technology startups like Terva to the portfolio, ranging from animal health to precision agriculture.

S2G Ventures secures $180 million for Fund II

CHICAGO, Ill. — S2G Ventures (Seed to Growth) a leading multi-stage investment firm focused on the food and agriculture industry, announced that it closed on an additional $180 million in committed capital, taking total assets under management to $300 million.

In addition, the firm announced that Aaron Rudberg has joined the firm as managing director and chief operating officer. In this role, Rudberg will have responsibility across the operations of the business as well as developing out the strategic relationships for the firm.

The additional $180 million in Fund II capital enhances S2G’s ability to pursue investments in its targeted food and agriculture sectors. Since its founding in 2015, S2G has invested in 30 companies. In aggregate, S2G companies expect to achieve more than $550 million in revenue in 2017 – with average growth of 150 percent over 2016 revenues.

Rudberg has worked in and around private equity and venture capital his entire professional career, and brings experience from all sides of the industry. Prior to joining S2G, he spent nearly 10 years at Baird Capital where he was a partner and managing director overseeing the global strategy, investor relations, marketing and business development for the $3.3 billion global private equity and venture capital business.

S2G Ventures (Seed to Growth) is a multi-stage venture fund investing in food and agriculture in the U.S. The fund’s mission is to catalyze innovation to meet consumer demands for healthy and sustainable food. S2G has identified sectors across the food system that are ripe for change, and is building a multi-stage portfolio including seed, venture and growth stage investments.