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Articles from 2012 In July

Vermont Ag Debuts Digital Local Food Connection

Vermont Ag Debuts Digital Local Food Connection

Vermont, the Vermont Agriculture and Culinary Tourism Council and Vermont Fresh Network have opened a new interactive website, It connects all visitors to nearly 400 authentic Vermont food experiences around the state.

Designed to promote agriculture and tourism, the website keys on growing public interest in culinary [food] tourism. Visitors will find it easier to learn about locally grown Vermont products, as well as the farmers, producers, and chefs behind the food. Offering opportunities to create self-guided Vermont food tours and discover food and farm events, the site engages visitors to keep their experiences fresh.

Vermont Ag Debuts Digital Local Food Connection was developed by the Vermont Agriculture and Culinary Tourism Council, a consortium of 13 food producer groups, nonprofit associations, tourism organizations and state agencies. Their common goal is promoting tourism that emphasizes experiencing culture through its food and drink.

The site was designed and developed with funds from the Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center and John Merck Fund, secured by Vermont Fresh Network. "As a funder and a lead organization, we're proud of what this group has accomplished. This website will position and serve Vermont to attract some of the estimated 160 million Americans whose travel includes cooking classes, food and wine tours, or farm visits; supporting our farms and food establishments that maintain our cherished working lands", saays Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross.

"Prior to creation of DigInVT, no single source and centralized hub existed where food enthusiasts interested in local food could find information about Vermont's cultural tourism opportunities," adds Megan Smith, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. "DigInVT is that one stop, comprehensive resource. It's poised to bring new visitors to the state's food experiences, events and establishments that are integral to rural economic development."

Bizarre farm bill journey takes another odd turn

As much of the country bakes under a merciless sun, the bizarre journey of the 2012 farm bill has taken another strange turn.

Unwilling to schedule floor time for the farm bill passed out of the House Agriculture Committee earlier in July, several attempts by Republican House leadership to provide cover for farm state lawmakers prior to August recess have fallen flat. As of Tuesday, it appears you can add their plan to extend current farm law to the list of failures.

Such failure won’t disturb a growing list of prominent farm/commodity groups that have come out against an extension.

For more, see here.

Still, Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, is surely in danger of whiplash after being jerked around by forces seeking to control the farm bill and debate. When it became obvious that House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor would not allow the farm bill to reach the House floor, Lucas was convinced to support a one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill.

The House farm bill would cut spending around $35 billion over 10 years. Some $14.5 billion of that would be axed from nutrition programs.

The extension – which would have been paired with drought disaster aid -- would have allowed Republican lawmakers from rural areas to face drought-plagued farmer/rancher constituents with something in hand during the recess.

However, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, has made it clear he’d agree to the extension only if it would lead to a Senate/House conference on a new farm bill prior to current law expiring on Sept. 30. Boehner and Cantor, backed by a group of lawmakers eager to make even deeper spending cuts to the proposed farm bill or kill it off altogether, aren’t going to make such assurances to Peterson.

Legislative affairs representatives of farm and commodity groups say without Peterson – a former House Agriculture Committee chairman capable of pulling other Democrats to vote for the extension – an extension is very unlikely.

A standalone drought disaster package is reportedly being prepped in the House as chances for a new farm bill before the end of September fade.

A farm bill could be passed during Congress’ lame duck session following November elections. Don’t hold your breath, though – especially if Republicans hold the House and retake the Senate.

For more farm bill coverage, see here.

Corn-On-Corn Means Rootworm Challenges

Corn-On-Corn Means Rootworm Challenges

Economics has been one reason farmers have chosen to plant corn on corn, year after year. While corn-on-corn cropping systems have been profitable, they do require extra rootworm management for long-term success.

Jim Stara of David City farms around 4,500 acres of row crops with his family. He takes a multifaceted approach to beating corn rootworm problems that arise in corn-on-corn situations.

FARMER PANEL: Jim Stara of David City, at left, discusses his rootworm control strategies along with producers Brian Frey of Tilden, center, and Mark Wiese of Clarkson.

Stara, who spoke to a group of producers and crop consultants as part of a farmer panel at a corn-on-corn clinic in Norfolk recently, said that hybrid selection for the right Bt corn seed is a key management decision that begins the year before. Then, Stara scouts fields regularly, and has treated for western corn rootworm beetles at silking time to prevent silk clipping. "If I see enough beetles later on, I will hit them again," he says.

Monitoring the field situation for corn rootworms is crucial to getting the treatment timing right, says University of Nebraska Extension entomologist, Bob Wright, who also spoke at the workshop. He says that crop rotation at least once every three or four years will reduce rootworm densities and make Bt corn and insecticides work better.

Selecting new pyramidal corn varieties that carry two Bt proteins to fight corn borer and two Bt proteins to fight corn rootworm will "make it harder to develop resistance," he says. "Rotate insecticides and different Bt proteins over time."

Wright says, "Resistance doesn't mean it is totally immune. It is just harder to kill." The longer a farm grows the same hybrid in the field, the more resistance that will develop by the rootworms.

Bob Wright

"We've been talking about resistance for 10 years," Wright says. Corn rootworms have shown resistance to a variety of control methods since the 1950s, he says. A combination of Bt corn seed, planting time insecticides, summer time monitoring and treatment of adult beetles during the growing season will provide a strategy to keep densities low and damage minimal.

Recent hot weather has probably had an impact on the longevity of adults, Wright says. They have also most likely laid their eggs deeper in the soil than usual.

If you'd like more information, contact Wright at 402-472-2128 or email

Cotton Is Bright Spot of Fall Crop Outlook

Cotton Is Bright Spot of Fall Crop Outlook

Cotton, once again, is the bright spot in the Kansas fall crop picture, holding in there at 28% good to excellent and 50% fair.

"We have probably half the bolls set and we're going to have a cotton harvest. How good it will turn out if this heat wave continues with no rain may be in question. But we'll harvest cotton," says Gary Feist at the Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Association.

While 28% of a crop in good to excellent condition may seem pretty low, it looks good when compared to corn at 1% excellent and 9% good, or soybeans at 0% excellent and 7% good or even drought-tolerant sorghum at 1% excellent and 9% good.

Cotton Is Bright Spot of Fall Crop Outlook

Even sunflowers, about a third of which are now blooming, have suffered from the heat and drought and the latest Kansas Agricultural Statistics Report puts the crop at 12% good and 1% excellent.

On this, the last day of July, Kansas is bracing for another day of record-breaking heat, with highs in Wichita forecast to hit 111 degrees for the third day in a row. Total rainfall for the month of July, which has seen only one day with a high of less than 95 degrees, has been 0.26 inches in Wichita.

June closed out with 7 days in a row of triple-digit heat as well and total rainfall since June 1 in Wichita stands at 2.81 inches.

Weather forecasters are expecting the triple digit heat to continue to the weekend, with a cool down to the upper 90s for a couple of days over the weekend. By mid-week, they say, heat will return with a vengeance, pushing temperatures back to the 105 to 110-degree range.

The picture does not get a lot better looking down the road. The U.S. Drought Monitor forecast for August through October 31 shows persistent or worsening drought, not just in Kansas but across the Midwest.

Grundfos Booster Pump Pushes Irrigation Further

Grundfos Booster Pump Pushes Irrigation Further

Reaching further into the field with irrigation water is the sole purpose of Grundfos's new EB end gun booster pump.

The EB is designed for center-pivot sprinklers and will be available in 2- or 5-horsepower ratings. The new pump is powered by a TEFC Wash Down Duty motor that is protected from the elements and features replaceable bearings for a long life.

The EB has a 2.5-inch suction and a 2-inch discharge to meet or exceed industry standards for hydraulic performance. Also, the design provides for an impeller wear ring standard to reduce failures to start, and can be serviced easily with a back pull-out design.

A two-year warranty covers the pump and motor -- both Grundfos products.

Add some kick to your center pivot rig's end gun performance with this new booster pump from Grundfos.

You can see the EB at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb., September 11-13.

By "clicking" here, you've indicated an interest in the latest in agricultural technology, and we'd like to provide you with even more of What's New in the power-tech industry. To receive our bi-weekly e-newsletter on trends and developments in machinery and ag technology click here POWERIRON to join thousands of readers who receive our updates free of charge every other week.

For Willie Vogt's observations about the growth of technology in our industry, be sure to visit his FARMER IRON column.

In addition, if you have interest in livestock technology be sure to visit for news and views and new products related to beef cattle and the beef industry.

And, there's always something new going on at our world-class show sites:

Farm Progress Show

Husker Harvest Days

New York Farm Show

Hay Expo
TeeJet Offers ISOBUS Application Controls

TeeJet Offers ISOBUS Application Controls

The new IC-18 sprayer system from TeeJet Technologies is a full feature ISOBUS automatic rate control designed for precision application of liquids.

The system can be used with field sprayers, liquid fertilizer applicators, or anhydrous ammonia toolbars.

The IC-18 uses virtual terminals available in an ISOBUS-equipped cab, resulting in fewer consoles to clutter the work area for the driver/operator.

The system allows information to be stored from planning to application to application records -- including application maps -- with one easy-to-install system.

TeeJet's IC-18 Sprayer offers growers with ISOBUS-equipped tractors a plug-n-play solution to precision application on their farm. Here, the system's Matrix 570 VT terminal represents the cab presence of the IC-18.

An optional accessory to the IC-18, the TeeJet BoomPilot ECU is an ISOBUS-based automatic section control module that contains everything required to deliver automatic section control to the IC-18. With a built-in GPS receiver, the BoomPilot ECU maintains a map of all areas of a field that have been treated. It will automatically switch off any sprayer or toolbar section outside the intended zone to prevent costly over-application. The BoomPilot can control up to 10 individual sprayer sections.

If a virtual terminal is needed, the system includes the Matrix 570 VT which serves as an interface with TeeJet and other ISOBUS control modules. The terminal is also handy for using on older tractors to update their capability to feed information to the main farm fleet and maintain compatibility of data.

For more information on the new system, visit

By "clicking" here, you've indicated an interest in the latest in agricultural technology, and we'd like to provide you with even more of What's New in the power-tech industry. To receive our bi-weekly e-newsletter on trends and developments in machinery and ag technology click here POWERIRON to join thousands of readers who receive our updates free of charge every other week.

For Willie Vogt's observations about the growth of technology in our industry, be sure to visit his FARMER IRON column.

In addition, if you have interest in livestock technology be sure to visit for news and views and new products related to beef cattle and the beef industry.

And, there's always something new going on at our world-class show sites:

Farm Progress Show

Husker Harvest Days

New York Farm Show

Hay Expo
Corn Stock comes To Farmamerica

Corn Stock comes To Farmamerica

Many years ago, neighbors celebrated the barn-raisings with a dance. They knew that there was nothing better on a warm summer evening than listening to good music with friends, a cold beer in hand.

Farmamerica is continuing this great tradition with its own barn dances on August 3 and 4 (no barn-raising required).

Corn Stock comes To Farmamerica

On Saturday, August 4, 4 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., Farmamerica will be hosting Corn Stock, the second annual barn dance at its 120-acre site near Waseca. Part mini-music festival, part barn dance, Corn Stock's three band line up that is sure to please, with the popular Minnesota band Canyon Cowboys headlining. The popular Corn Maze will be open until 9 p.m., and you can search for needles in the huge haystack. Cash prizes and/or food/beverage tickets will be given to those who find a Needle in the Haystack.

Admission is $10 at the gate or $8 if you have a button. Buttons can be purchased in advance from: Waseca Music Company, Condon Feed Store, Premier Vet Center and Club 57 in Waseca and Buster's Bar and Grill in Mankato.

The evening will start with the popular local band, the Good Ole Boys, at 4 p.m., followed by 6 Pack Heart Attack at 7:30 p.m. and the Canyon Cowboys at 9:30 p.m.

Food, drink and refreshments will be provided by Club 57 and Busters Bar and Grill.

Farmamerica executive xirector Jim Gibson said: "We are really excited about Corn Stock this year. Not only have we added an extra band to Saturday night's line up, but we are also holding a Teen Dance on Friday night, August 3rd as part of Corn Stock. This is the first year that Farmamerica has had an event especially for area teenagers."

The Teen Dance will be held 7-11 p.m. DJ Brad Zimbrich will be on the decks, playing a wide variety of popular music: country, rock, R&B, pop and more. Food and refreshments will be available on the grounds, and teens can also search for a Needle in a Haystack. Admission for the Teen Dance is $5.

The proceeds from the Corn Stock events will go toward improving the exhibits and educational programming at Farmamerica.

Go to Farmamerica's Facebook page or for more information.

U-M Researcher Explores Nature, Science And Modern Agriculture

U-M Researcher Explores Nature, Science And Modern Agriculture

The largest drought in 50 years has severely damaged much of the nation's "corn belt" and is threatening the viability of Minnesota's 2012 corn crop.

While an extreme, this summer's condition is a reminder of a larger challenge facing agriculture – to use limited resources like water in an effective and sustainable manner.

R. Ford Denison, an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, seeks to address these challenges through the dual prism of science and nature in his new book, "Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture."

U-M Researcher Explores Nature, Science And Modern Agriculture

"The need to produce a higher yield is continually growing, yet natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce," says Denison. "Improving crop genetics – and avoiding costly dead ends in the process – is paramount to the long term sustainability of agriculture. This requires a comprehensive approach, one that incorporates the lessons of nature when applying modern science."

Linking evolution to agriculture was natural for Denison, who researches evolutionary biology in the university's College of Biological Sciences and helps to plan long-term field research for the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. He discusses how both biotechnology and traditional plant breeding can – and should – benefit from considering past evolutionary improvements in traits like drought tolerance when identifying promising routes for further genetic improvement.


Analyzing the implications of evolutionary tradeoffs, Denison argues in Darwinian Agriculture that biotechnology and breeding efforts should sometimes reverse the results of past evolution that are inconsistent with present goals. For example, the ratio of photosynthesis to water use is greater for a plant in the morning when humidity is higher; it would therefore sometimes be better for crop yield if plants simply shut down in the afternoon. Why then, Denison asks, have plants not naturally evolved to do so? The answer, he states, is competition among plants: if one plant sacrifices its water intake for an afternoon, a neighboring plant will use water saved by the former. As a result, past natural selection favored individual growth at the expense of the plant community.

"Drought resistance is great when needing to get through a week without rain," Denison says. "In agriculture, however, simply surviving is not enough – a crop actually needs to produce a grain or fruit. What we need is a plant able to produce more with a given amount of water. This is much more difficult, but that also means there may be more opportunity for us to improve on what evolved naturally."

The first of Denison's three proposed principles of Darwinian Agriculture: "Prolonged natural selection rarely misses simple, tradeoff-free improvements," predicts that simply increasing drought resistance may have negative tradeoffs. His second principle indicates that, "Competitive testing is more rigorous than testing merely by persistence." So "nature's wisdom" may be found more in individual trees (whose ancestors competed) than in even ancient forests. The final principle is a call to action: "We should hedge our bets with a greater variety of crops – and ideas."

In a review, Kenneth Cassman, professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska, states: "Darwinian Agriculture is a very important contribution to our understanding of the links between nature and agriculture, and to the future of our human race. Denison underpins his arguments with an incredible wealth of insight and knowledge about plants, animals, physics, chemistry, biology and ecology."

Darwinian Agriculture is published by Princeton University Press and is available now.

Source: U-M

New Minnesota Farmers Union's Booth Location at Farmfest

New Minnesota Farmers Union's Booth Location at Farmfest

Farmfest is set to be at Gilfillan Estate outside Redwood Falls, Minnesota on Tuesday, August 7- Thursday, August 9 and Minnesota Farmers Union has a new booth and location, and special events coming up.

"Farmfest is always an exciting part of the summer because there are so many rural folks in one spot discussing farm policy and sharing farm ideas," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. "We have a new booth and new location, which is just west of the forum tent, and we invite you to stop by the MFU booth and check the markets, the weather, and try your luck at winning a Cenex gas card, plus sign our petition in support of homegrown fuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard."

New Minnesota Farmers Union's Booth Location at Farmfest

Minnesota Farmers Union activities:

•MFU President Peterson asking questions of the congressional candidates on farm policy in the forum tent, Tuesday, August 7, 10:30 a.m.;
•Farmer Union Agency Children's Pedal Pull, daily at 1 p.m., near entrance gate 2;
•Free watermelon feed, Tuesday, August 7, 1:15 p.m., under the forum tent;
•MFU Vice President Gary Wertish on the Water Quality Initiatives and Future Impacts for Farmers panel in the forum tent, Tuesday, August 7, 1:15 p.m.;
•MFU President Peterson on the Renewable Fuels Standard panel in the forum tent, Tuesday, August 7, 2:45 p.m.;
•A petition in support of the Renewable Fuels Standard, homegrown energy and rural jobs. Come sign it any day of Farmfest at the MFU booth; and
•Cenex gas card giveaway.

Also, AgrAbility will be in the MFU booth.  They help those with disabilities succeed in the agriculture world.  For more information on them go to,

Source: MFU
New YouTube Channel Offers Tips on Newborn Calves

New YouTube Channel Offers Tips on Newborn Calves

There's a new video resource available to dairy and beef producers to help them make sure that newborn calves get immediate immunity.

ImmuCell, a company dedicated to providing products that help animal agriculture producers improve both their bottom line and the health of their animals.

New YouTube Channel Offers Tips on Newborn Calves

ImmuCell has establisihed a YouTube channel to help educate dairy and beef producers, veterinarians and the agricultural industry about newborn calf immunity. This resource center, available at, offers management tips and industry research. Dairy and beef producers can also hear firsthand from other producers and veterinarians how they provide immediate immunity to their calves at birth.

Videos currently available for viewing on the Immediate Immunity channel include veterinarian and calf grower perspectives on: newborn calf management protocols, the importance of colostrum, working with custom calf raisers and disease prevention in newborn calves.

Steve Hayes, is a featured veterinarian on the channel. He indicates that providing immediate immunity to calves can have lasting effects on dairy and beef operations.

"How we handle the calf today may have an impact years later when the cattle enter the herd," Hayes says. "All diseases on a cow herd can be transferred to a calf on the day of birth. If we enlist  good, strict management that first day, and provide the calf with immediate immunity, calves can be protected against diseases and will do better in the long-run." 

Bobbi (Kunde) Brockmann, director of sales and marketing with ImmuCell, says the tools found on the page can help beef and dairy producers provide immediate immunity and long-term health benefits to their calves.

The Immediate Immunity YouTube channel is a valuable resource for all cattle producers," Brockmann says. "It's vital to our industry that producers and veterinarians share their experiences and learn from one another about newborn calf management. The actions we take on day one play a pivotal role in the growth and productivity of the calf's future."

Producers, veterinarians and industry members can view videos on the Immediate Immunity YouTube channel by visiting Additional information is available on the Immediate Immunity Facebook page at: