USDA funding for underserved groups and beginning farmers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The USDA’s Farm Service Agency reminds producers that FSA offers specially targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers.
USDA defines underserved applicants as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For farm loan program purposes, underserved groups are women, African-Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders.
In order to qualify as a beginning farmer, the individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans. Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for fewer than 10 years. Applicants must materially or substantially participate in the operation.
For more guidelines and application information, contact your local FSA office.
RFD-TV’s ‘Rural Tractor Brigade’ wins a Cablefax Award
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — RFD-TV News announced that its “Rural Tractor Brigade” was awarded a 2017 Cablefax Award for Best Branded Content. RFD-TV organized the “Rural Tractor Brigade” as part of its continuing effort to “reconnect city with country.”
RFD-TV brought eight different tractor brands together to unite under the American flag to showcase hardworking rural American farmers and highlight modern agriculture production. All tractor brands were invited. In addition, members of the National FFA carried the “Rural Tractor Brigade” banner in front of a colorful tractor display.
The RFD-TV and RURAL RADIO news teams covered the “Rural Tractor Brigade” on “Market Day Report” and “Rural Evening News” leading up to the inauguration and day of with live hits and online. In addition, the coverage was simulcast on RURAL RADIO Channel 147 on SiriusXM.
Several leaders of agriculture associations represented their organizations by driving a tractor in the parade: Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation; Ron Moore, president of the American Soybean Assoc., and his wife, Deb; Randy Krotz, CEO of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance; John Weber, president of National Pork Producers Council; and Jim Odle, co-founder of Superior Livestock Auction. Past and current presidents of the National Assoc. of Farm Broadcasting, Mark Oppold and Max Armstrong, also served as drivers to represent rural media.
USRSB unveils sustainability tools for the beef community
DENVER, Colo. — The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) announced the release of its Sustainability Metrics, the latest tool helping those who raise, buy and sell beef understand ways to balance and improve their environmental impact, social responsibility and financial bottom line.
In 2016 the USRSB released High Priority Indicators to address areas of sustainability most important to the beef industry. USRSB Sustainability Metrics accompany High Priority Indicators and will serve as a self-assessment tool to aid the beef community as producers examine their sustainability footprint and share their personal stories.
The USRSB hopes this tool will move the curve for beef sustainability ensuring the industry continues to be a global leader in beef sustainability. To learn more about the USRSB and explore the USRSB Indicator and Metric Summary, visit www.USRSB.org
DuPont, Sumitomo announce seed-applied tech agreement
DES MOINES, Iowa — DuPont and Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. announced a global agreement to collaborate on the development, registration and commercialization of seed-applied technologies for use in key crops around the world.
DuPont and Sumitomo formed this collaboration out of a shared objective to accelerate development and commercialization of novel seed-applied technologies to improve early plant growth and yields. The global agreement leverages the strengths of both companies, combining the conventional chemical and biological pipeline from Sumitomo with the advanced seed technology and development and commercialization capability of DuPont Crop Protection, a business unit of DowDuPont Agriculture Division.
By combining the pipeline from Sumitomo Chemical with DuPont’s technology and capability, there is an opportunity to evaluate these technologies together, at much earlier stages, to understand the complementary characteristics of various product combinations. This early-stage collaboration will enhance current and future commercial products for seed-applied technologies.
Collaborations between DuPont and Sumitomo’s regional affiliate, Valent U.S.A. LLC., will focus on the North American region with potential expansion opportunities to multiple crop markets globally.
Indiana business joins Massey Ferguson dealer network
DULUTH, Ga. — An Indiana business recently became a dealer for Massey Ferguson, a global brand of AGCO Corp., and will be marketing compact and utility equipment. Diversifying for business growth and the Massey Ferguson brand reputation were two of the reasons it joined the dealer network.
Chris Wooldridge, general manager at Tom Wood Outdoor Equipment in Martinsville, Ind., said the parent company, Tom Wood Automotive Group, made the move into power sports and agricultural equipment in 2014, seeking business opportunities with greater growth potential.
The business continued to diversify by adding Massey Ferguson brand compact and utility tractors and Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay equipment. Wooldridge stands behind the new line of Massey Ferguson compact and utility products, as he was the first customer at the dealership to purchase one.
Kentucky Farm Bureau wins Four Awards Of Excellence
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kentucky Farm Bureau (FB) took home several organizational awards presented at this year's American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) 99th annual convention. Each year state FBs are presented awards in different categories related to several programs and initiatives.
KFB was honored with an array of AFBF Awards of Excellence in all four categories given, including Advocacy; Engagement and Outreach; Leadership and Business Development; and Membership Value. KFB President Mark Haney, who led the 500-plus Kentucky member delegation to the convention, accepted the awards on behalf of KFB presented by AFBF President Zippy Duvall.
Deere equipment big winners of 2018 ASABE awards
OLATHE, Kan. — Various John Deere equipment has been honored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) with the AE50 Award for 2018. The awards highlight the year’s most innovative product-engineering designs in the food and agriculture industry, as chosen by a panel of international engineering experts.
Introduced in 2016, the ExactApply Nozzle Control system provides sprayer operators a comprehensive solution that improves the coverage and control of spray applications due to an industry-exclusive Pulse Width Modulation (30 hertz pulsing) and automatic A/B nozzle switching from the sprayer cab.
John Deere Connected Support – Expert Alerts utilizes JDLink machine connectivity and data analytics to predict service needs, reduce diagnostic time and minimize downtime. Connected Support with Expert Alerts is factory installed on new Deere self-propelled equipment, and can be dealer-installed on late-model machines.
Introduced in 2017, the Gator XUV835 and Gator XUV865 utility vehicles are designed for customers who need all-day comfort with off-road terrain capability in all seasons.
Deere 5R Series Tractors, introduced in 2017, leverage existing technologies normally found in large tractors and feature four models ranging from 90- to 125-engine hp.
Two hay tool innovations from John Deere Ottumwa Works have been honored by ASABE as well. The awards are for the BalerAssist feature on the large square balers and the Plus2 Bale Accumulator for large round balers, both introduced in late 2017.
The BalerAssist option on the L331 and L341 Series Large Square Balers was recognized for allowing the operator to more quickly and easily clear plugs between the baler pickup and rotor, without leaving the tractor cab. Also receiving an award are the A520R and A420R Plus2 Round Bale Accumulators, which give customers the ability to carry up to two round bales behind the baler while making a third bale in the chamber.
Deere grain and cotton harvesting equipment have been honored as well. The S700 Series Combine was recognized for its significant innovations in “smart” technology, improved operator comfort and data capabilities for more efficient grain harvesting.
In addition, the CP690 Cotton Picker and CS690 Cotton Stripper were recognized for innovations in precision cotton-harvesting technologies that include moisture sensing, round module weighing, Harvest Identification, Cotton Pro and John Deere Operations Center Field Analyzer.
General Mills deepens investment in soil health with $735,000
WASHINGTON, D.C. — General Mills continues to invest in soil health practices on U.S. farmland with its latest contribution of $735,000 to the National Wheat Foundation, which, together with the Soil Health Partnership (SHP), will advance widespread adoption and implementation.
The funds, equally distributed over the next three years, will be used to conduct soil health research on wheat farms and education outreach to more than 125,000 wheat farmers across the Northern and Southern Plains. This latest contribution brings General Mills’ recent financial commitments to nearly $3 million for promoting the expanded adoption of soil health practices.
Using the established network of farms enrolled in the Soil Health Partnership, the National Wheat Foundation will increase grower participation in the partnership, and share data and sustainability metrics for wheat production. The outreach will be conducted over the course of three years, encompassing three growing seasons.
As part of this agreement, General Mills has partnered with the SHP and the National Wheat Foundation to provide on-farm mentorship for the farm operators. SHP farmers and the farmers' agronomists, and SHP field managers will train new and existing farm staff in advanced nutrient management and tillage methods.
Scientists create new ‘toolbox’ to better study alfalfa
ARDMORE, Okla. — Alfalfa is the fourth-most widely grown crop in the United States and an important crop throughout the world. Known as the “Queen of Forages,” alfalfa can be grown alone or in mixtures with other plants.
Alfalfa hay alone is valued at more than $8 billion annually in the United States. Agricultural researchers want to better understand and enhance the many positive attributes of alfalfa. To help accelerate alfalfa research and cultivar development, scientists at the Noble Research Institute have developed the Alfalfa Breeder’s Toolbox.
This comprehensive, web-based portal serves as a community resource that will allow alfalfa breeders and the research community to share, access and visualize data about alfalfa. The Toolbox website includes the alfalfa genome sequence generated through collaborations between the Noble Research Institute, the National Center for Genomic Resources, The University of Minnesota, The J. Craig Venter Institute and The University of California.
Plant breeders can visualize gene sequences, determine which genes are activated during stress conditions such as drought and identify specific DNA sequences referred to as molecular markers to highlight and tag those genes of interest. The Toolbox also includes information on the best strategies for field site preparation, planting, managing and harvesting alfalfa, as well as approaches to identify the best varieties for planting based on the target environment.
To learn more, visit www.alfalfatoolbox.org
Brandt expands relationship with Tunisia ag leader
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Brandt, a leading manufacturer of specialty products for the agriculture market, has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Solagri Tunisia to distribute Brandt’s proprietary nutrition and sustainable products throughout the African country.
The focus of this agreement is on Brandt’s proprietary foliar nutrient line, Manni-Plex, as well as additional specialty humic acid and seaweed nutritionals. The products will be targeted to the wheat, grape, vegetable and olive markets throughout Tunisia. The rollout and sales efforts will be led by Didier Bassaber, Business and Sales manager for Brandt’s Middle East and North Africa regions, as well Akil Fersi, general manager at Solagri.
Solagri is a leading supplier of agricultural chemicals and plant nutrients in Tunisia. It is a subsidiary of the Rose Blanche Group, which serves the agriculture and food processing industries in Africa. Before the agreement with Solagri, Brandt had a distribution agreement with another Rose Blanche subsidiary, CMA Tunisia, since 2013.
FDA provides information on use of antimicrobials in bees
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the availability of a Question and Answer document about the use of medically important antimicrobials in bees to provide helpful information to beekeepers and veterinarians.
The Q&A, titled Using Medically Important Antimicrobials in Bees, responds to some commonly asked questions about the appropriate use of approved Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and prescription (Rx) drug products for bees. It can be found online at www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm589399.htm
Questions not addressed in the Q&A document may be emailed to AskCVM@fda.hhs.gov
Beck’s Hybrids to consolidate central Illinois facilities
ATLANTA, Ind. — Beck’s is pleased to announce an expansion at its El Paso, Ill., facility. In an effort to consolidate locations in central Illinois, Beck’s sold its Downs, Ill., facility to Horsch and is relocating its Practical Farm Research (PFR) site to El Paso.
Beck's El Paso facility expansion will create space for increased sales and front counter support, an additional meeting room, an updated kitchen and a new warehouse with a dock and staging area. A former Pfister Hybrids facility, Beck’s El Paso location has provided additional seed processing capabilities, expanded warehouse space and additional research and testing facilities since 2011.
Currently, the El Paso facility has 80 acres of land that will be dedicated to PFR and Choice Trial research studies for the 2018 season. By moving the central Illinois PFR program to this site, Beck’s will be able to provide better training for the area sales staff and farmer-dealer network, and work more closely with farmers to offer them education and agronomic support.
All personnel and equipment will be moved by the end of March. In addition to El Paso, Beck’s has four permanent locations in Illinois including production, processing and distribution facilities in Effingham, Pontiac, Allerton and Neoga. El Paso will now be home to one of Beck’s six PFR locations, which are located across five states.
Kongskilde positioned for expansion in new location
NORMAL, Ill. — Kongskilde Industries, which recently operated out of a plant in nearby Hudson, Ill., has relocated to a new location at 1802 Industrial Park Drive, Unit A, in Normal. The company will continue to market its pneumatic product lines for the plastic, paper, packaging and grain industries.
A Denmark-based company that has been operating its U.S. division in McLean County since 2002, Kongskilde has seen some changes in the marketplace recently. The new Kongskilde facility currently has 18 employees, who will provide sales and service to their customers in North America.
The new facility will warehouse industry and grain equipment as well as a full complement of parts manufactured by Kongskilde, including pneumatic grain conveying systems, grain vacs and cleaners, airwash systems, as well as plastic and paper trim removal systems.
Agribusiness Council of Indiana merges with ISTA
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Agribusiness Council of Indiana is pleased to announce that ACI members voted in December 2017 to approve a merger with the Indiana Seed Trade Assoc. (ISTA). This merger means that ACI will now represent the interests of seed, grain, feed, plant food and ag chemicals as a single organization.
“The goal of the merger with ISTA is to be able to expand the influence of ACI and to allow for better collaboration with stakeholders in all of the industries that we will now represent,” said Rod Miller, ACI board chair.
The merger was completed on Jan. 1. Directors from ISTA’s former board now make up one-third of ACI’s expanded 12-member board.
National Farmers Union launches farm bill campaign
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In order to educate the general public and to generate support for a farm bill to be passed this year, the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Farmers Union state divisions have developed a digital campaign, complete with a new website, farm bill video, animated short videos, weekly promotions and a petition.
The family farm organization is calling on Congress to strengthen programs that support family farm agriculture, vibrant rural communities, a clean environment and hungry Americans. The campaign features a 9-minute video on the importance of the bill to family farmers, the environment and consumers, profiling Farmers Union members from across the country.
Three short animated videos are also being launched to help the general public understand what the farm bill is, what Farmers Union’s ideal bill looks like and how to advocate for the bill.
Family farmers, consumers, lawmakers and advocates are encouraged to share the video on social media, tweet with the hashtag #FarmBillNow and sign the petition to call on Congress to pass a farm bill in 2018. Visit https://2018farmbill.org to learn more.