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Articles from 2010 In January


Minnesota Pheasants Forever Recognizes County, Individual Work

Minnesota Pheasants Forever Recognizes County, Individual Work

Minnesota Pheasants Forever recognized chapters and individuals from across the state for their wildlife habitat conservation efforts at its recent state convention. The Morrison County Pheasants Forever Chapter was named the Minnesota Pheasants Forever Chapter of the Year, and Scott Rall of Worthington was named the organization's Volunteer of the Year.

 

Minnesota Pheasants Forever Chapter Awards

The Morrison County Pheasants Forever Chapter was recognized as the Minnesota Pheasants Forever Chapter of the Year. The chapter supports the Minnesota Pheasants Forever Habitat Fund and is active in acquiring and improving habitat on public lands. Additionally, the chapter hosts youth camps, youth mentored hunts, supports local firearms safety courses and even sent Pheasants Forever magazines to troops stationed in Iraq. Two of the Morrison County Pheasants Forever Chapter committee members were also recognized, as Gary Groskreutz was the recipient of Pheasants Forever's Dedication Award and Mike Olson was inducted to Pheasants Forever's Long Spur Society for his continued chapter support.

 

Other Minnesota Pheasants Forever Chapter Awards include:

-"Youth Chapter of the Year" – Tri-County PF Chapter

-"No Child Left Indoors Youth Programming Award" – Watonwan County PF Chapter, MN Lady Slippers PF Chapter

-"Most Improved Banquet" – Tri-County PF Chapter

-"Best Banquet" – Kanabec County PF Chapter

-"Conservation Excellence - $100K Spending on Habitat" – East Central Spurs PF Chapter, Dakota County Ringnecks PF Chapter, Glacial Ridge PF Chapter

-"Conservation Excellence - $250K Spending on Habitat" – Chisago County PF Chapter

-"Conservation Excellence - $500K Spending on Habitat" – East Medicine PF Chapter, Kanabec County PF Chapter

-"Conservation Excellence - $1 Million Spending on Habitat" – Otter Tail County PF Chapter, Waseca County PF Chapter

-"Conservation Excellence - $2 Million Spending on Habitat" – Nobles County PF Chapter, Jackson County PF Chapter

 

Minnesota Pheasants Forever Overall Awards

Scott Rall is president of the Nobles County Pheasants Forever Chapter, a Life Member of Pheasants Forever, and is Minnesota Pheasants Forever's Volunteer of the Year. He serves on the Lessard - Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, is an active member of multiple organizations carrying out habitat and natural resource protection in southwest Minnesota and writes a weekly outdoors column in the Worthington Daily Globe.

-"Bill Sandy (Making a Difference) Award" – Lessard - Sams Outdoor Heritage Council

-"Wildlife Professional of the Year" - Jodie Provost, Private Lands Wildlife Habitat Specialist, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

-"Brood Booster Award" – Grant County Soil Water Conservation District

-"Corporate Sponsor of the Year" – Federal Premium Ammunition

 

For more information about PF, visit www.MinnesotaPF.org or contact Scott Roemhildt, Regional Field Representative for Pheasants Forever, at 507.327.9785, or Eran Sandquist, Regional Wildlife Biologist for Pheasants Forever, at 763.242.1273.

New Cover for 2010 Corn & Soybean Field Guide

New Cover for 2010 Corn & Soybean Field Guide

 

The only reason Purdue University's Corn & Soybean Field Guide isn't on the New York Times Bestseller's list is because there aren't any farmers in New York! It's a super-hit in ag country, with sales approaching 50,000 copies sold annually in the past few years. The 2010 version is now available.

 

Information is similar to the 2009 edition, with appropriate updates made for 2010. The biggest difference you may notice immediately is the cover. The handy pocket guide has traditionally been yellow with a black trim since it was started. The new version has white letters super-imposed over soybeans and corn, growing in what would appear to be a strip-cropping system.

 

Your copy from last year may be red, green or some other color. Companies who want to provide copies for their customers can custom-order the Guide in their colors with their logo. The minimum order in that case is 100. Discounts are available. Corey Gerber, the mastermind behind the Guide and head of the Purdue Diagnostic Training center, is now taking applications from companies who want to customize 2011 editions of the Guide.

 

The Guide is easily the most referenced publication in Indiana Prairie Farmer. Panelists for Crops Corner and Hoosier Bug Beat often refer to the Guide. This year's edition is 316 pages of useful information related to crop farming.

 

Specialties in the Guide include tips on corn and soybean management, plus pictures and descriptions for all major corn and soybean insects and diseases. It's often possible to make a positive identification on a disease or bug, or to rule out a possible insect or disease, by comparing actual samples to pictures in the Guide while you're checking crops in the field and scouting for various bugs and disease pathogens.

 

The book also includes pages of handy conversions and calculations for agricultural uses. These include how to use the Hula-Hoop method to figure soybean populations, and how to figure corn yields before harvest in late summer.

 

To learn more call 765- 496-3755, or email Gerber at: gerberc@purdue.edu. You can also learn more about the guide at: www.agry.purdue.edu/dtc or www.entm.purdue.edu/fieldcropslpm

 

You can purchase copies of the Guide, plus copies of the Forage Filed Guide and other useful publications referred to in the field Guide by visiting the Education Store. Find it at: www.extension.purdue.edu/store.

Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Grand Opening

On Friday, January 29, DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC (DDCE), the University of Tennessee and Genera Energy LLC hosted a grand opening for one of the country’s first cellulosic ethanol demonstration plants. Located in Vonore, TN, the facility will have the capacity to produce 250,000 gallons of ethanol from corn cobs and switchgrass. It is expected to begin producing ethanol on a commercial-scale basis in 2012 using 100 percent switchgrass feedstock.

Over the last three years, the University of Tennessee (UT) has implemented a switchgrass increase program. In the first two years, the project was funded by the state of Tennessee and has involved publicly-available contracts. Farmers that signed the three-year contract have been paid $450 per acre per year for their switchgrass. The program provides farmers the seed as well as technical expertise from UT’s Agricultural Extension Service.

Switchgrass is a new crop for farmers to learn, says Kelly Tiller, president and CEO, Genera Energy. (Genera Energy is a for profit company wholly owned by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.) Planting depth, for example, is extremely important with switchgrass so agronomists have been helping farmers calibrate their drills. The small switchgrass seeds need to be planted between one-quarter and one-half inch deep.

Since this is not an irrigated crop, taking advantage of planting dates to capitalize on available moisture is also important, Tiller says. It is difficult to control grassy weeds in switchgrass and many of the chemical controls are not currently labeled for switchgrass. Genera Energy is working with major crop protection companies to get products registered for the crop, Tiller says. “With help from the UT Ag Extension Service, however, we’ve had better than a 90 percent success rate with switchgrass establishment,” Tiller says.

This year, Genera Energy is getting involved in the contracting and plans to move contracts from an acreage-based payment to a payment based on yield. Genera Energy also is offering some contracts for on-farm storage of harvested switchgrass.

Since its inception, the project has awarded contracts to farmers within a 50-mile radius of the demonstration plant. In 2008, it contracted 723 acres. This expanded to 2,000 acres in 2009, with about 40 farmers participating. In 2010, the project is expected to expand to 7,000 acres, with between 80 and 90 farmers participating. The switchgrass program has generated a lot of excitement among area farmers and several of them have increased their acreage for 2010, Tiller says.

“We’re focused on keeping supply and demand in balance,” Tiller adds. “We’re interested in moving to commercial scale ethanol production, but we’re looking at using the feedstock for co-firing energy plants for the nearer term. This will allow us to help build supplies so the entire industry can move forward.”

As participating farmers’ contracts expire, the farmers can choose to become members of the Tennessee Biomass Supply Cooperative (TBSC). Organized last fall as a “New Generation Co-op,” TBSC will coordinate production and processing operations and deliver switchgrass feedstock to end users, such as utilities that would use it to co-firing their energy plants.

Farmers involved in the project are using existing production equipment, such as mower/conditioners and round balers for harvest. They move the bales to the edge of their fields where Genera Energy picks them up with a semi-tractor trailer and then moves the feedstock either to a storage location or the biorefinery. The harvest equipment is not necessarily tailored for switchgrass, with its tough stems, so Genera Energy has been working with equipment manufacturers (including AGCO, CNH, John Deere and Vermeer) to better manage the crop.

Genera also has received a grant from the Department of Energy to develop a system whereby switchgrass can be chopped in the field and brought to field edge. There, Genera would pack it in trucks and take it to be stored in bulk. Genera Energy has modified a cotton module to reduce transportation and storage costs.

Up to one-third of a switchgrass crop is made up of lignin, which is not used in the production of cellulosic ethanol. This is separated out of the process, and can be used in the boiler to provide process heat and steam at the biorefinery. In the future, some of the lignin could be used in the production of carbon fiber and several chemical platforms which would replace petroleum-based chemical platforms, Tiller says.

DuPont Chair and CEO: Agriculture Is Key to Global Economic Growth, Sustainability and Security

DAVOS-KLOSTERS, Switzerland, Jan. 29, 2010 - Agriculture is a game-changer that addresses multiple global issues - hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, poor nutrition and subsequent effects such as civil unrest, DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman told attendees of the 40th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

"Delivering on the potential for agriculture to address critical, global issues may be the greatest opportunity of our generation," said Kullman. "It is possible, but it will take a radical new approach to collaboration."

Kullman is attending the World Economic Forum and participating in the panel discussion on "Rethinking How to Feed the World." According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food production will need to nearly double by the middle of this century to feed the world population expected at that time. Panelists were asked to consider what it would take to achieve food security, environmental sustainability and economic growth through agriculture.

"Global food security challenges are becoming more complex and interconnected. Collaborations among organizations will need to follow suit - becoming more interconnected to leverage the strengths of organizations across the public and private sectors," said Kullman.

Kullman said the World Economic Forum's multi-stakeholder initiative, "A New Vision for Agriculture," in which DuPont is participating, could become the model for addressing global challenges broadly. The business-led initiative seeks to increase private-sector engagement and partnership with stakeholders including governments, international organizations, farmers' associations, civil society and academia.

"The need for collaboration between public and private entities is nothing new," said Kullman. "What is new is the urgency to start listening, not talking past each other and working toward common goals of finding practical, sustainable solutions that can make real differences to people today and can be replicated for others tomorrow."

Increasing food production is a priority initiative for DuPont. The company invests about half of its $1.4 billion annual research and development budget to furthering this goal. DuPont is currently delivering and developing crops that produce higher yields with fewer resources, improved approaches to controlling crop pests, better accessibility to healthier food ingredients, packaging that extends the shelf-life of food, and food safety testing, among other things.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

Lexion combines now have automatic lube system

CLAAS of America Inc. introduces another new feature to give producers enhanced performance in the field by offering factory-installed Lincoln Quicklub Automatic Lubrication System on new Lexion 500 R Series combine harvesters.

Engineered to prevent bearing and greased component failure, boost operational savings and increase efficiencies, the optional Auto Lube System is another performance enhancing feature on the Lexion combine.

The new Auto Lube System lubricates in motion when the machine is running for even grease distribution, eliminating the warmup time necessary for manual lubrication. Precise amounts of grease are applied automatically as needed to maintain the correct amount of grease in the bearing at all times without over-lubricating. In turn, operators reduce excess grease consumption from inadequacies found in manual grease gun applications.

Bob Armstrong, North American Product marketing manager stated, “In addition, the central lubrication plays a major role in minimizing bearing upkeep, saving labor and maintenance costs. With timed distributions, grease is automatically applied to the main daily lubrication points and continually lubricated in the field to guard against wear and tear of the components and deter contaminants from entering.”

The system reservoir can be replenished via a pneumatic pump system or manually using cartridges. Accessibility to the lubrication system is strategically located in the Lexion Battery Box for rapid servicing and manual over-ride for troubleshooting.

The Lincoln Auto Lube System is simple to operate and can be factory installed on any Lexion 500 R Series machine or ordered as an aftermarket component through your nearest Lincoln Lube dealer (http://www.lincolnlube.com). Field proven performance and reliability increases the longevity of your Lexion combine and gives the grower an edge to protect their investment.

For more information, visit http://www.claasofamerica.com.

First Facility to Efficiently Convert Corncobs and Bioenergy Crops to Cellulosic Ethanol Opens

VONORE, Tenn. - Jan. 29, 2010 - Leaders from DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE), University of Tennessee, Genera Energy and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen cut the ribbon on one of the world's first cellulosic ethanol demonstration facilities, located in Vonore, Tenn. The 74,000-square-foot plant has started producing ethanol and will deliver low-cost, fully-integrated technology for commercial production of ethanol from agricultural residue and bioenergy crops, including corncobs and switchgrass.

"The Tennessee Biofuels Initiative already is creating new jobs and opportunities, and I believe the Vonore facility is going to be a real catalyst for additional economic activity in Tennessee," Bredesen said. "I'm pleased with the progress of this partnership and believe this marks an important step forward in our state's efforts to develop clean energy technology."

"The world should be watching Tennessee," said DDCE President and CEO Joe Skurla. "Here in Vonore, DDCE and Genera Energy are well ahead of the curve as we develop the entire value chain, from feedstock to production. We delivered on our promise to investors, customers and the industry by initiating startup at the end of last year and are on track to provide the industry with investment-grade packages that meet demands for low-cost, scalability and sustainability."

Bredesen was joined by U.S. Representatives John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) and Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), state officials, leaders from DDCE, DuPont, Danisco, Genera Energy, the University of Tennessee and more than 300 guests to commemorate the plant's completion and production startup. It is a major achievement for DDCE, Tennessee's Biofuels Initiative and the cellulosic ethanol industry, which is under federal mandate to deliver 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022, of which 16 billion gallons must come from cellulosic sources.

The University of Tennessee's Biofuels Initiative, championed by the governor, established a bioenergy crop research and production basis for the burgeoning industry and attracted second-generation biofuels leader DDCE to participate as an industrial partner in the development of the cellulosic ethanol biorefinery. The University of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative (UTBI), with the support of Genera Energy, is establishing a supply chain for the development of fuel.

The state-of-the-art facility in Vonore has capacity to produce 250,000 gallons of ethanol annually, though its focus is on optimizing technologies for large-scale production. It represents an investment of more than $50 million, including funding from UTBI and DDCE. The project also integrates about $100 million investment in proprietary research by DuPont and Danisco, highly valuable intellectual property platforms and talent pools from both companies and DDCE's commitment to pay operating costs not covered under UTBI. The Vonore facility currently has a full-time staff of about 20.

Kelly Tiller, CEO of Genera Energy and director of external operations for the UT Office of Bioenergy Programs, said, "The University of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative is the only fully integrated program that is working with farmers and the agricultural industry to reliably supply the necessary feedstock so biorefineries can produce plentiful, affordable, renewable and sustainable fuels." She said plans are for Tennessee farmers to place an additional 4,000 acres of switchgrass into production this spring, bringing the total production in the state to nearly 7,000 acres of the dedicated energy crop.

Corn+Soybean Digest

How soybean production has changed in Brazil

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Justice Department: Getting Serious with Ag?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division, along with state attorneys general from Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, filed a civil lawsuit last week seeking to require Dean Foods to sell the dairy processing plants it acquired from Foremost Farms.

As we reported in our Nov.-Dec. 2009 cover story ("Monopoly, anyone?"), the Justice Department may finally be getting serious about Big Agriculture. The dairy sector is but one of several industries being investigated, including meat packing and row crop seeds. The DOJ will launch a series of workshops on antitrust in agriculture beginning in March in Des Moines.

The DOJ says that the Dean/Foremost merger eliminates substantial competition between the two companies in the sale of milk to schools, grocery stores, convenience stores and other retailers in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

As we reported in our story, Dean is but one of three main dairy processors remaining in the United States. The other two are Kraft and Dairy Farmers of America Cooperative. In the eastern half of Wisconsin, for example, Dean Foods is the only provider of milk for the school lunch program.

"The purpose of the department’s lawsuit is to restore competition so that schools, grocery stores and other retailers in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, will pay lower prices for their milk," says Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of DOJ's Antitrust Division.

The department’s lawsuit not only seeks to undo the 2009 deal but also requires Dean Foods to notify the department at least 30 days prior to any future acquisition involving a milk processing operation.

Dallas-based Dean Foods’ acquisition of Foremost Farms’ two dairy processing plants in De Pere and Waukesha, Wis., eliminated an aggressive competitor against Dean Foods, the department says. Dean Foods and Foremost Farms were the first and fourth largest milk processors in northeastern Illinois, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the UP) and Wisconsin, respectively. Dean Foods now has approximately 57 percent of the market for processed milk in northeastern Illinois, the UP and Wisconsin.

Dean Foods immediately announced it would challenge the suit. The company believes its acquisition of the two milk processing plants from Foremost is fully compliant with antitrust laws, and will defend itself vigorously against the complaint.

"It's a start," says Fran O'Leary, who has been following the issue as editor of Wisconsin Agriculturist magazine. "But it will take a lot of diligence by the Justice Department if they are serious about ending the monopoly in the dairy industry.

"Until I see some real action where the Justice Department breaks up Dean Foods like Ma Bell was broken up in the 1990s, nobody will be able to stop or reverse what has happened," she adds. "There is such a disconnect between milk prices paid to farmers and what consumers pay for milk and milk products. Farmers were paid the same for their milk the first 9 months of 2009 as they were paid in 1978. Meanwhile, expenses, especially feed costs, are sky high compared to 1978."

More likely this is just an isolated attempt to show that the justice department is making an attempt to do something. Regulators have promised to take a tougher stance in an ag sector more and more dominated by big firms consolidating power and market control.

Dean Foods released a statement saying it was "disappointed" the department took action on a deal closed 10 months ago.

 


Corn+Soybean Digest

Wheat Groups Help Haiti

U.S. wheat industry leaders are discussing possible collaborative responses to the suffering in Haiti. U.S. Wheat Associates says all advice now points to an on-going need for cash donations. There are many options. One, the American Red Cross, accepts $10 donations by texting "Haiti" to 90999. Go to http://www.redcross.org/ to learn more about how you can help.

Meanwhile, there are individual wheat group efforts to help the depressed Haitians. Justin Gilpin, chief executive officer of Kansas Wheat, says the U.S. Wheat Associates' Food Aid Working (FAW) Group is working with the U.S. government to find ways to meet the humanitarian needs of the Haiti government, including distribution of flour and wheat. FAW's goal is to encourage sustainable food security and global food assistance on behalf of U.S. wheat producers.

A Haiti flour mill was one of the thousands of buildings heavily damaged by the massive earthquake. Mark Fowler, associate director of the International Grains Program (IGP) at Kansas State University (K-State), was an employee of Seaboard, which bought the mill in 1998. As part of the team that helped rebuild the rundown facility, Fowler spent 200 days in Haiti over 13 months from 1998 to 1999. In a country as poverty-stricken as Haiti, the flour mill was a source of national pride, employment and independence.

"In the aftermath of this tragedy, we need to find ways in which the U.S. can fulfill our role as a world leader and share our supply of nutritious foodstuffs with a country in need," says Gilpin. "Many K-State grain science graduates and IGP short course participants have worked in the Haiti flour mill over the years. Our thoughts are with them and their families right now."

Through IGP short courses, Fowler has been instrumental in teaching the intricacies of U.S. Food Aid programs to milling professionals from around the world. He says Public Law 480, also known as the Food for Peace program, can be used to ship food aid directly to Haiti and ensure distribution of these foodstuffs to the needy with minimal waste. "Long-term, our goal is to help the milling company get re-established to the point it can mill wheat instead of merely distributing flour, which will allow more Haitians to get back to work," he says.