Tag Archives: Farming

CURTIS, Neb. — Grain sorghum producers are encouraged to attend the 2020 Sorghum Symposium hosted Thursday, January 30 at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center. The symposium is sponsored by the Nebraska Sorghum Producers Association, with the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board and Nebraska Extension.

NCTA students will be attending some of the sessions as part of their college coursework, said Dr. Brad Ramsdale, agronomy professor.  He also coaches the NCTA Crops Judging Team. Grain sorghum is one of the crops produced at the NCTA farm.

Symposium speakers and commercial vendors will present production and management information specific to Nebraska’s conditions for the 2020 crop year, said Lynn Belitz of Fullerton, NeSPA president. “Making decisions amid many uncontrollable variables is a real challenge,” Belitz says. “We’ve designed a program to help producers better understand their options.”

Speakers and topics include:

  • Dutcher UNL climatologist, weather outlook
  • Dr. Brent Bean, agronomy director for the National Checkoff, production and management
  • A D.C. /Farm Bill implementation update by Office of Congressman Adrian Smith
  • Strahinja Stepanovic, Stumpf Research Center at Grant, performance and row spacing
  • Nate Blum, executive director of NGSB and NeSPA, leveraging digital media
  • Zach Simon, regional marketer at the National Checkoff, markets update
  • Chuck Burr, West Central Research and Extension Center, Sorghum TAPS Program results for most profitable, most water efficient and highest yielding crops
  • NeSPA annual meeting, and NGSB annual report

“TAPS is designed to showcase best crop management and marketing practices from individuals or teams,” said Mike Baker of Trenton, chairman of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board and producer in this year’s contest.  “The results are pretty remarkable and may actually challenge current management decisions by many growers.”

Send symposium registration to sorghum.board@nebraska.gov or at www.eventbrite.com, keyword: “2020 sorghum symposium”. Lunch is included in the free-of-charge conference.

The day begins at 9:00 am with coffee and rolls, commercial exhibits to showcase new products, and production/management information. Certified Crop Advisors may apply for CCA credits.

OMAHA, Neb. and AMES, Iowa, Jan. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Lindsay Corporation (NYSE: LNN), a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, and Farmers Edge, a global leader in digital agriculture, announced a plan to connect and digitize two million irrigated acres by the end of 2021. The companies will integrate their digital platforms to provide their growers and dealer networks with a first-of-its-kind, fully connected crop management solution. The expanded partnership will also focus on a collaboration in data science, machine learning, and AI-driven analytics to deliver highly precise water-based insights and predictive models, setting a new standard in agriculture.

 

As part of the strategic initiative, Farmers Edge will provide Lindsay access to both high-resolution satellite imagery and the most comprehensive field-centric dataset available in the industry. Syncing Lindsay’s market-leading irrigation management platform—FieldNET Advisor®—with the Farmers Edge fully-integrated, AI-driven farm management platform—FarmCommand®— creates an exclusive opportunity for growers to access digital tools that deliver real-time information to control pivots and monitor crop health, along with advanced predictive models to help identify issues, including: seeding or application errors, tile drainage, weather damage, pests, disease, and more. The combination of the two digital platforms enables growers to make more informed water management decisions to optimize applications and yield potential.

Adding another layer of connectivity to its suite of solutions, Farmers Edge will provide Lindsay’s FieldNET Pivot Watch™—a remote irrigation monitoring solution that includes proprietary IoT sensors that connect to any center pivot—and FieldNET Advisor to help growers better understand when, where, and how much to irrigate.

“This integration of platforms enables growers to use tools like high-resolution satellite imagery to see a visual indication of variation in crop health across a field from the convenience of their laptop or smartphone. The connected farm strategy also enables growers to collect all aspects of field data and feed that information into FieldNET Advisor and FarmCommand. Once that data is collected, the platforms can provide AI-powered insights to ensure the most accurate decisions are being made on the farm,” said Albert Maurin, product manager for irrigation software at Lindsay Corporation. “We are excited to bring growers this evolution of our partnership with Farmers Edge, and we will continue to leverage our industry partners to deliver innovative irrigation solutions to our customers.”

“Our goal at Lindsay is to help growers increase water and energy efficiency and profit while exercising more sustainable farming practices, and we firmly believe digitization in agriculture is key to that,” said Randy Wood, president of global agricultural irrigation at Lindsay Corporation. “Farmers Edge is very much aligned with that vision, and we’re confident that by connecting our platforms through this strategic partnership, we’ll reach our goal of two million digitized and connected irrigated acres by the end of 2021.”

“At Farmers Edge, we’re focused on creating a digital agricultural ecosystem that’s centered around a fully connected farm. Farmers Edge has thousands of connected machines, weather stations, and in-field sensors across the globe, but we have yet to bring a crucial asset—center pivots,” said Wade Barnes, CEO and co-founder of Farmers Edge. “Having access to FieldNET Pivot Watch is a key component for achieving this goal.  The ability to add pivot irrigation data into our unique field-centric datasets, and then move that information into FieldNET Advisor is extremely exciting. The power of the insights and analytics from the partnership will change how farms use irrigation, and we’re eager to bring this type of industry changing technology to two million irrigated acres by 2021.”

The early bird registration deadline for the Women Managing the Farm conference is coming up on January 17, 2020.

 

Breakout sessions have been added to the website at womenmanagingthefarm.com. Attendees can choose six of 30 breakout sessions on topics ranging from livestock management, financial options, farm succession planning, coping with stress, farm policy, crop marketing and many others.

 

The award-winning Women Managing the Farm conference is set for February 13-14, 2020, in Manhattan, Kansas. Since 2005, the event has brought together women farmers, rural business leaders and landowners. The Women Managing the Farm conference provides a supportive setting in which women can develop the skills, resources and knowledge needed for success in a competitive agricultural environment.

 

Registration for the conference is available at http://womenmanagingthefarm.com/registration, with an early bird rate of $150 available through January 17. After January 17, registration is $175.

 

Conference sessions are designed to keep women up-to-date on the latest advancements in agriculture and thriving within their rural communities. During the two-day conference, attendees select from presentations covering many topics, including farm finances, relationships and health, agricultural and estate law, crop production and marketing, management and more. Attendees also choose networking sessions tailored to the different roles women hold, such as agricultural partners and helpers, independent producers, absentee landowners, ag industry career women and business managers. An optional pre-conference workshop is still available on Wednesday, February 12. This tour includes stops at Hildebrand Farms Dairy near Junction City and Liquid Art Winery and Estate near Manhattan.

 

The 2020 conference will open Thursday morning with a dramatic presentation on farmland transition, performed by Lindsay Bauer, and created by Mary Swander, Poet Laureate for the state of Iowa and executive director for AgArts. Other general session presenters will include Dr. Chad Hart, ISU Associate Professor of Economics, who will discuss “Trade’s Impact on U.S. Agriculture;” and Lance Woodbury, a family business adviser who will lead a panel of experts discussing challenges in health and well-being. The two-day conference will wrap up with Vance Crowe, a communications consultant and story architect who will share how women in agriculture can use stories that deeply connect with listeners.

 

The Women Managing the Farm conference is sponsored by various agricultural organizations, including Kansas Farm Service Agency, Farm Credit Associations of Kansas, Kansas Soybean, Kansas Insurance, Inc., Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Wheat, USDA-National Resources Conservation Service, Kansas Corn and many others. More information about speakers, programs, exhibitors and registration can be found at the website, womenmanagingthefarm.com, or by calling 785-532-2560. Keep up-to-date with the latest Women Managing the Farm news through Facebook.com/WomenManagingtheFarm.

 

President Donald Trump says he’ll sign the first phase of a trade deal with China at the White House on Jan. 15.

Trump says Tuesday on Twitter that he’ll then travel to Beijing at a later date for talks aimed at reaching agreement on outstanding sticking points in the U.S.-China trade relationship.

In the deal reached earlier in December, the U.S. agreed to reduce tariffs on China and China agreed to buy larger quantities of U.S. farm products, such as soybeans. Remaining sticking points would be worked out during a second round of trade talks.

HAYSVILLE, Kan. — After one year of growing industrial hemp in test plots, Kansas State University researchers say they’ve moved closer to providing guidance to producers interested in growing the alternative crop in Kansas.

In April 2018, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a bill enacting the Alternative Crop Research Act, leading to the legal production of industrial hemp in the state. Kansas is one of 42 states approved to grow the crop; the Kansas Department of Agriculture reported that there were 207 Kansas growers in 2019.

None of those growers, however, had information available to show best practices for growing industrial hemp in Kansas soils.

Listen to Eric Atkinson’s interview with Jason Griffin on Agriculture Today

“It’s a brand new crop that nobody in Kansas should have legal experience growing,” said Jason Griffin, director of the John C. Pair Horticultural Center, one of three sites where K-State’s research trials have taken place this year (research was also conducted at K-State facilities in Colby and Olathe). “Since it was new, we needed baseline information on how to grow the crop successfully.”

Griffin noted that “99% of the people growing industrial hemp in Kansas this year were growing for cannabidiol,” better known as CBD. Cannabinoids have high interest among consumers because of their purported medical and therapeutic benefits in humans and companion animals.

CBD and other varieties are legal to grow if they produce less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. If the plant’s THC level is greater than .3%, it is considered marijuana and not legal to grow or possess in Kansas.

“We knew that Kansas farmers wanted to get into this industry,” Griffin said, “and our job is to conduct research to help farmers be successful with the crop.”

Griffin and the research team at the John C. Pair center planted seven CBD varieties, including five in high tunnels, which are plastic-covered structures that provide some protection from the environment compared to open field conditions.

“It’s well-known that high tunnels in the specialty crops arena have certain advantages over crops grown outside,” Griffin said. “For our purposes, it reduced solar radiance, reduced wind and reduced pest presence. But, specifically for hemp, we had our high tunnel completely enclosed in insect screens, which is a really fine netting. We wanted to see if the insect screen would reduce the amount of pollination inside the tunnel. And it appeared it did.”

Griffin said that in the hemp industry, pollination “is a big deal. CBD is produced in the female flower buds, and if those female flower buds get pollinated, your concentration of CBD just tanks into the basement. You get almost none. So you have to keep pollen away from those female flower buds.”

That caused problems for the hemp varieties that K-State grew outside, Griffin said, noting that pollen can travel as far as three miles. “I think it would be very difficult to have a large-scale, outdoor CBD production system successfully without somehow protecting those plants from pollen.”

Because they were protected from insects and other pollinators, “the plants inside the high tunnel were just superior,” Griffin said. “In that protected environment, they were larger and had more flower buds. Because they had more buds, they had a higher CBD content.”

K-State’s work also looked at various production systems, including growing the plants with organic and conventional fertilizer. Researchers also looked at the potential of growing industrial hemp for fiber and grain.

The university’s work will continue in 2020, Griffin said. “This was our first year,” he said. “We probably made some mistakes and we’ll probably improve as any grower might as they get more experience with a crop.”

Griffin said updated information on K-State’s research with industrial hemp is available on Facebook. More information about the John C. Pair Horticulture Center also is available online.

A group of scientists and farmers in northern New England is working on a plan to feed seaweed to cows to gauge whether it can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The concept has gained traction in recent years after some studies showed the potential of seaweed feeds to cut back on methane. About a quarter of the methane in the country comes from cows, which produce the gas when they belch or flatulate.

One of the big questions is which kinds of seaweed offer the highest benefit to farmers looking to cut methane. Researchers hope to find out.

The rate of farmer suicide has been on the rise across the United States and Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) recently introduced the Seeding Rural Resilience Act to curb it. The senators want to spread awareness about mental health on the farm.

“Our bipartisan bill would empower people who are in a position to identify farmers who need help to get them help,” said Grassley in an op-ed on his website on Dec. 26.

The Iowa lawmaker said farming is full of uncertainties as it is at the “mercy of Mother Nature” and leads to sleepless nights and anxiety.

“This year brought extra layers of uncertainty. Excessive rain and snowmelt in April led to prevented and delayed planting. The October snowstorms stalled field work for many farmers across the upper Midwest.

“The itch to get behind the wheel of the combine brings sleepless nights and weighs heavily on the minds of farmers already anxious about matters beyond their control,” wrote Grassley, adding that he wants farmers to break their silence and talk about mental health.

He quoted the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in his op-ed and said the rate of suicide is 45 percent higher in rural America than in urban areas.

“Farmers have higher rates than the general population. A number of factors may contribute to the rural-urban disparity, including geographic isolation, distance from health care services, stigma associated with obtaining mental health care services, and financial pressures stemming from the downturn in the farm economy,” he said.

According to a study by the University of Iowa (pdf) published in 2014, the suicide rate among farmers and ranchers between 1992 and 2010 was 3.5 times higher than the general population. The National Farmers Union says mental and behavioral health is a major concern in farming communities.

“We’re seeing an increase in the number of farmer suicides reminiscent of the 1980s farm crisis. The desolation of losing a farm that had been in a family for generations was too much for too many farmers to handle. The loss of life and livelihoods still echoes throughout farming communities decades later,” said Grassley, emphasizing that he has championed for health care services in rural America for decades.

The Seeding Rural Resilience Act was introduced in the Senate on Oct. 15, and if passed would launch a voluntary training program for the government employees who work directly with farmers.

“Specifically, our bill would provide training to flag potential warning signs and risk factors and direct the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to develop best practices to respond to mental stress impacting farmers. The USDA and Department of Health and Human Services also would be tasked with creating public awareness campaigns,” said Grassley.

SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The following is an opinion-editorial provided by James C. Hill, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest and Southland Dairy Farmers.

It seems that lately in the “news de jour” there is frequently something about dairy foods or the dairy business. For example, on November 12 of this year, Dean Foods Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Since that date, anyone who even casually keeps up with the news would have seen story after story about the reasons the nation’s largest milk processing company was failing. Even Saturday Night Live aired a skit about Dean’s dilemma a week after the filing. But – and here’s the funny thing – it seems that almost as many positive stories about milk and dairy have appeared in the news lately, opposite the speculation about “the decline of the milk industry.” So, what is up with dairy?

Some of the answers to that question (as with most things that have a “side”) depends on who’s providing the answers and their personal points of view. If you’re a committed vegan or happen to think milk from a cow is bad for you, then your answer is somewhere along the lines of, “I told you so… milk alternatives like soy, oat, almond, and coconut have destroyed the dairy milk business.” Conversely, if you’re a dairy lover and eat and/or cook with milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products, then your answer is somewhere along the lines of, “I’ve been hearing these horror stories for years; for every article written that says dairy is bad, I read one that says it’s good.”

So, what is the truth? Yes, Dean Foods Company was failing financially. And yes, part of that failure was due to a slow but consistent decline in demand for fluid milk. But there were a lot of other reasons that contributed to that bankruptcy, most of which can be found in recent news articles. It wasn’t ALL due to declining milk sales. And for the most part, dairy products have received some very good reports recently from health and nutrition experts, and that has generated renewed consumer confidence in most dairy products, including whole milk. Across the board, it seems the dairy industry is enjoying some good product news lately. At least, these reports have helped to debunk some “theories” that were either factually false or misleading. And all of this has helped consumers get back to thinking about milk and dairy as good, wholesome products for them and their families.

Some of the good news about dairy is that it’s still one of the best ways to meet your needs for nine essential vitamins and minerals: phosphorous, B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, and protein. That’s been known for many years, but it’s interesting that this fact is now becoming better known because consumers are comparing these values to milk alternatives. Most non-dairy “milk” (soy, almond, oat, coconut, and others) contain only one or two natural vitamins or minerals. The rest are artificially added, and some add sugar. Most all of them lack protein. Grade A, natural whole milk has more naturally occurring vitamins and minerals than any of the milk alternatives, and no added sugar. So, the comparison is favorable, and consumers are taking notice.

Other good news that has made a resurgence lately is that milk is excellent for women’s health (including skin, bones, teeth, and heart), as well as early childhood development.

In addition, while the Dean Foods filing and the ongoing “anti-milk” group news has created some negative speculation about milk, it’s interesting to note the real numbers against that speculation. The U. S. fluid milk category has declined about 4% year over year (through Sept. of this year). But that’s NOT because of some massive hit to real milk sales by milk alternatives. According to data presented in a report from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), for the six weeks ending September 8, 2019, about 400 million gallons of milk were sold versus fewer than 100 million gallons of plant-based milk alternatives. Based on those numbers, the score is real milk 4, alternatives 1.

Actually, a drop in cereal sales and a decline in the number of households with children are big factors in falling milk consumption. That’s easy to see in today’s world, with younger households and healthier eating habits that don’t include sugar-coated cereals, plus, a much larger choice in drinks. In fact, a 2017 study from IRI, a data and analytics company, found that 53% of the volume milk lost went to bottled water drinkers. Not sodas, not milk alternatives. Water. Still, 94% of all U. S. households have dairy products in their refrigerators, and dairy consumption overall has risen by nearly 20%. In fact, volume sales of cheese and yogurt are up significantly this year and chocolate milk continues to be a staple for athletes as a recovery drink.

As I stated earlier in this letter, the dairy industry will always have consumers on the “anti-” side as well as on the “pro-” side. It’s telling that for decades, there have always been a lot more people on pro side – and that group continues to grow. Evidence of that growth are the recent comebacks of a number of dairy categories, and the resurgence of “good news” about dairy products has given consumers new perspectives about why milk can, and should be, a part of good things in their lives.

About Southwest/Southland Dairy Farmers

The Southwest Dairy Farmers and Southland Dairy Farmers is an alliance of dairy farmers from twelve southwest and southeast states who have pooled their resources through the U.S. Dairy Check Off program to provide consumer education, promote dairy product use, and enhance the image of the dairy industry. These dairy producers direct and fund all activities through Southwest/Southland Dairy Farmers, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For additional information: www.southwestdairyfarmers.com

The clash over water rights between the operators of a federal wildlife refuge in south central Kansas and farmers could potentially wind up in court if the two sides don’t reach an agreement on water usage.

The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge has been complaining that it’s not getting its fair share of the water coming from the Rattlesnake Creek into its marsh. Meanwhile, a farmer says her livelihood depends on the water coming from the creek.

Kansas News Service reports that a proposed solution would cut water usage for newer water users that the refuge’s establishment predates.