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Farmers Tweet Reactions to Precision Planting’s Winter Conference


Over 700 people gathered in Tremont, Illinois, for Precision Planting’s 2018 Winter Conference on Tuesday. “This is the biggest and baddest winter conference we’ve ever had,” says Brad Arnold, general manager at Precision Planting.

Many farmers in attendance are early adopters of ag tech and avid social media users. As new products were announced, they took their reactions to Twitter.

Ag Technology

North American Sales Lead Justin Kauffman set the stage for a full day of announcements and product introductions. Citing a Successful Farming article, he explained that farmers who have adopted ag technology are turning an operating profit and seeing higher yields than their less technical peers. Although SmartFirmer was announced as a beta product at a previous event, Kauffman reviewed its features noting it is now for sale.

New Vision for the Field

Kauffman also announced the release of a new 20|20 monitor. Other Precision Planting team members from the R&D and sales teams took the stage breaking down the science of the technology. Tech-savvy farmers took to Twitter to express their reactions.

Eastern RM Sales Lead Doug Wiegand reviewed how far the 20|20 technology has come since he started with Precision Planting in 2003. At that time the company only had 15 full-time employees. Now the engineering staff alone totals 50.

Dale Koch, an engineer in the R&D department at Precision Planting, took the stage next. He emphasized the need for more information. Digging seeds alone does not give farmers enough insight to make good decisions for their field or farms as a whole. With SmartFirmer, knowing more about each field will help growers make better decisions, leading to more consistent and uniform results.

To conclude the first session, R&D Agronomist Ryan Allgaier addressed the crowd explaining how the new 20|20 monitor and SmartFirmer work together. He used the analogy of more data being similar to a flashlight. We’re not shining flashlights for flashlights sake, he said. “What decisions are we going to make, or change, because of what we see?”

Maximizing the Furrow

Cory Muhlbauer, R&D agronomist, and Bryce Baker, marketing lead, tag-teamed a session evaluating farming practices to achieve the best nutrient utilization. By examining its life in the furrow, farmers can help each seed reach its maximum potential.

Optimizing Nutrient Application

The Precision Planting team acknowledged the importance of managing nutrients efficiently, especially in years with thin profit margins. Jason Stoller and Justin McMenamy, both R&D experts for the company, introduced the second new product of the day, FurrowJet. The pair also gave an update on current R&D projects farmers may see on their farms in the future.

Next-Level Multi-Genetics

Commercial Agronomist Jason Webster introduced Precision Planting’s latest multi-genetic planting technology, mSet. Luke Stuber of the R&D department also addressed farmers in attendance, they no longer have to choose between high-speed planting and variable-rate, multi-genetic planting. mSet technology offers the best of both worlds.

Drilling Down

The final product announcement of the day was made via simulcast by Troy McKown, northwest regional manager, and Will Frank, R&D. The new SeederForce is Precision Planting’s first product targeting farmers with crops outside corn and soybeans.

Multipurpose Show Site

To end the day, Webster revealed Precision Planting’s plans for the new Precision Technology Institute. The multipurpose show site in Pontiac, Illinois, will give farmers a place to experience the company’s technology hands on.

Homeward Bound

General Manager Brad Arnold made the closing remarks for the event. As farmers road-tripped home, many continued to voice their opinions and excitement on social media.


Outlook for U.S. Farm Income: Stable but ‘at Much Lower Levels’


After a three-year plunge, U.S. farm income is stabilizing “at much lower levels than in previous years,” said the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, warning that “growing inventories and trade uncertainty remain the key risks to the outlook.” In its periodic Ag Outlook report, the regional Fed said 2017 income was 18% below the long-term average.

“Longer-term projections for farm income were also expected to stabilize but at levels below the long-run average from 1970-2017,” wrote KC Fed economist Cortney Cowley. “Continued oversupply of agricultural products, especially crops, is a significant risk and would likely keep prices from rising to more profitable levels. International trade could help support agricultural prices and incomes, but uncertainty over trade deals has generated additional risk for the agricultural sector.”

Some 40% of the total value of U.S. crop production is exported, an increase from 29% in 2013, said the KC Fed. “Uncertainty surrounding NAFTA and other trade deals is a key risk to the agricultural outlook.”

The U.S. often is described as the world’s largest agricultural exporter, although its share of the world market is shrinking. In the late 1970s, the U.S. share of the corn, soybean, and wheat market was 65%. In 2017, it was 28%. “The decline in the U.S. share of world crop exports suggests that the rest of the world has become more active in global markets when the U.S. has become increasingly reliant on world trade,” said the Ag Outlook.

This Week in Agriculture, 1.10.2018


Welcome to This Week in Agriculture – or TWIA, for short. We will bring you interesting, out-of-the-ordinary finds going on in agriculture. Not the headlines, but the curious, funny, and inspiring stories across the land.

1. Is Your Local FFA Chapter Looking for Funding?

Applications for Tractor Supply’s Grants for Growing campaign are being accepted through Monday, February 14, 2018. The competitive grant program will fund FFA chapters around the country impacting their communities with sustainable agriculture-focused projects. In the spring, awarded chapters will receive grants up to $5,000. More information about the grant process can be found here. Start on your application today.

2. SwineTech named American Farm Bureau’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

For the third time in four years, the Entrepreneur of the Year named at American Farm Bureau’s annual convention is an Iowan. Matthew Rooda and his company SwineTech have developed a technology to save piglets from being crushed. Check out this Iowa Farm Bureau article or watch the video below for more information.

3. USFRA Will Seek a New CEO.

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance will be seeking new leadership after an announcement today that CEO Randy Krotz’s contract will not be renewed. Agri-Pulse has the details in this article.

4. The GMO debate is making headlines in mainstream media again this week.

Food columnist for the Washington Post, Tamar Haspel urged participants on both sides of the GMO debate to stop name-calling. She says, “…my goals for 2018 are to be nicer, to try to change my mind more, and to persuade everyone to drop ‘anti-science’ from their vocabulary.” Read the full article here.

5. New Discovery Channel Documentary Features American Biodiesel.

The story of American biodiesel recently premiered in a Discovery Channel documentary, Hot Grease. The codirector/producer, Paul Lovelace, will present at the upcoming 2018 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on January 30, 2018. Watch a clip from the film here.

6. Bone-in or Boneless Wings?

A recent Bloomberg article reported 64% of all chicken wings sold at restaurants in the last year were of the bone-in variety. That’s a whopping 1.1 billion servings of chicken wings! Read the article yourself for more details.

7. National Pork Board Now Accepting Scholarship Applications.

The application period for the 2018 Pork Industry Scholarships is now open to college juniors and seniors who plan to pursue careers related to the swine industry. Up to 21 scholarships totaling $48,000 will be awarded. Applications must be submitted by February 16, 2018 in order to be considered.


Twitter Reacts to Trump’s Speech to Farmers and Ranchers


President Trump spoke to a crowd of farmers and ranchers on Monday at American Farm Bureau’s convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Agricultural producers and business people took to Twitter to react.

1. President Trump tweeted his excitement in anticipation of his speech to American Farm Bureau members on Monday.

2. The feeling was mutual. Approximately 4,500 convention attendees started navigating security lines at 6 a.m. to hear the president’s afternoon speech.

3. Thousands more across the country tuned in to watch live coverage of Trump’s speech.

4. President Trump is the first sitting president in more than 25 years to address the American Farm Bureau membership. Many attendees took to Twitter to express their thankfulness for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

5. President Trump assured farmers and ranchers they are not forgotten.

6. The president touched on a variety of topics important to rural Americans in his 35-minute address.

7. Some producers were disappointed President Trump didn’t address their biggest concerns.

8. Several members of Congress acknowledged Trump’s commitment to rural America and thanked him for taking the time to attend the convention.

9. Some people tweeted directly at the president, thanking him for supporting their rural communities.

10. President Trump tweeted, “We have been working every day to DELIVER for America’s farmers just as they work every day to deliver FOR US.”

11. A transcribed copy of the president’s address from the White House is circulating on Twitter.

12. To conclude his speech, President Trump signed two executive orders to increase access to broadband in rural areas. Ray Starling, special assistant to the president for ag and trade, explained the details to North Carolina Farm Bureau.

This Week in Agriculture, 1.5.2018


1. Fresh Beef May be Coming to a McDonald’s Near You

McDonald’s is testing the use of fresh beef in another burger, the latest move by the company to swap out frozen meat. The Archburger, similar to the Arch Deluxe - a big flop from the late 1990s - will be launched at seven McDonald’s restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The chain previously held similar tests for fresh beef Quarter Pounders before scheduling a nationwide rollout in mid-2018. (Source: SeekingAlpha)

2. A Day in the Life of a Canadian Cow Vet

Cody Creelman has built a community of vlog followers he affectionately calls Palpation Nation. Through his entertaining videos, he shares a candid view of a day in his life as a large animal veterinarian. Watch his last episode of 2017 to learn about taking blood samples, and a variety of diseases that claimed the lives of his less fortunate patients. Subscribe to his YouTube channel or like his Facebook page to keep up with his work through the new year.

3. Your Soil Has Made Its New Year’s Resolution. Have You?

To kick off the new year, the Soil Health Partnership published five New Year’s resolutions from your soil’s perspective. How do they compare to your personal goals? Watch this slideshow for all the details.

  1. Watch my nutrient intake.
  2. Cover new ground.
  3. Adopt healthier habits.
  4. Focus on what matters.
  5. Save for the future.

4. Peterson Farm Brothers Post First Vlog of 2018

Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, the famous singing brothers from Kansas have set a goal of sharing more videos this year. They’re off to a strong start with this vlog explaining how they’re combating the cold to unfreeze waterers and feed cattle.

5. Cargill’s Earnings Dropped 6% Last Quarter

If your New Year’s resolution was to learn more about the markets, or learn about agribusiness, you may be interested in this tidbit from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. (You can always find more news and market information in the News and Markets sections of

A worldwide glut of corn and soybean supplies put pressure on Cargill Inc.’s second-quarter profit, but robust sales growth and continued improvements in the market for beef signal a strong second half of its fiscal year. The company reported that net earnings fell 6% to $924 million and revenues rose 8% to $29.2 billion in its second quarter ended November 30, 2017. The company said its Animal Nutrition & Protein segment was the largest contributor to adjusted operating earnings in the second quarter, though results dipped in the quarter compared with a strong period a year earlier. Retail demand remains strong for beef, and turkey sales were strong through the Thanksgiving holiday, Cargill reported. (Source: Star Tribune)

6. Farm Safety is Important in Winter, Too

We talk a lot about farm safety during the hustle and bustle of the growing season, but it’s important to remember winter, too. John Deere reminds its followers to never put your hands inside areas with moving parts. Michigan State Extension shares tips for preventing frostbite and hypothermia in the frigid temps here.


8 Feel-Good Stories of 2017


To start off 2018 on a positive note, we wanted to revisit a few of the stories from 2017 that made us smile. Check out these eight stories to meet inspiring leaders, teachers, and dreamers in rural communities across the country.


Posted on: October 13, 2017

In six hours, 11 combines, 21 semis, and 14 auger wagons harvested 400 acres of corn outside of Brimfield, Illinois, for Randy Kingdon after he lost an eight-year battle to cancer. Read the full article here.


Posted on: May 17, 2017

After his daughter’s death, Dale Reicks started building sow farms. He grew from 1,200 sows in 2003 to 15,000 sows by 2009. Today, that number is 32,500. Read the full article here.


Posted on: October 30, 2017

After a decorated football career, Adam Timmerman is back on the family farm and managing a John Deere dealership in northwest Iowa. Read the full article here.


Posted on: October 26, 2017

When Decatur, Nebraska, farmer, Joe Penny, lost his life in a motorcycle accident in August, neighboring farmers and family friends dropped their own harvests to lend a helping hand. Read the full article here.


Posted on: November 15, 2017

For more than 100 years, Cooperative Extension Service has been extending the science and knowledge of land-grant universities to the citizens of America. Meet 10 superstar specialists who are making a difference in ag extension. Read the full article here.


Posted on: June 20, 2017

Take a trip across the last century through the eyes of Kansas farmer Loyd Ratts.

“Many people think the amazing thing about Grandpa is the fact that he’s 102 years old,” says grandson Dan Guinn. “I think the amazing thing about him is his humility and how he lives his life. He continues to work every day and
 seeks ways to serve God. Those are the key things that make him who he is – not his age.” Read the full article here.


Posted on: August 21, 2017

These newcomers to U.S. agriculture break through boundaries to farm or manage farms. Read the full article here.


Posted on: February 20, 2017

Women are mainstream at farm shows these days in a slew of different roles at agriculture companies, but finding a female farmer who is confidently making management decisions on a farm is a rarity. We want to introduce you to four of these farmers. Read the full article here.

This Week in Agriculture, 12.29.2017


Welcome to This Week in Agriculture – or TWIA, for short. We will bring you interesting, out-of-the-ordinary finds going on in agriculture. Not the headlines, but the curious, funny, and inspiring stories across the land.

1. Goin' Showin'

Jesse Hoblyn and Colin Gump were headed to the Arizona National Livestock Show when their truck and trailer was struck by a distracted driver. Fellow exhibitors came to their rescue dividing the showmen’s livestock and belongings between three trailers. When the caravan finally arrived in Phoenix safe and sound, more show stock enthusiasts were there to welcome them. Watch this Facebook video to see the welcome party, or see how it all unfolded in this Twitter tread.

2. A Memorable Christmas

Sixty-two years later, this grandpa finally got an FFA jacket of his very own. He loved it, and so did Twitter.

3. Paradise Agriclture in Peril

Different markets, weather patterns, and technology are changing agriculture all over the country, including Hawaii. The sugar and pineapple industries there are no more. Learn more about the challenges facing island agriculture in this piece by the Washington Post.

4. Behind the Scenes

The Peterson Farm Brothers are known for their catchy parody videos, and speaking engagements around the country, but did you know they’re expert “mooers”? Check out this video to learn for yourself, and get a closer look at their lives on a Kansas cattle farm.

5. The GMO Conversation Continues

GMOs are often talked about negatively in mainstream media and popular culture. Here’s a different take in Avoiding GMOs isn’t just anti-science. It’s immoral. published in The Washington Post.

Carrie Mess Encourages FarmHers to Share Their Stories


Carrie Mess is a dairy farmer in southern Wisconsin who has built a well-known food and agriculture blog. Better known publically as Dairy Carrie, for the last six years she’s traveled the world sharing her journey with agriculturists of all ages. By sharing her own story, she encourages other to let their voices be heard. Last week, she was a keynote presenter on FarmHer’s Grow Tour.

More than 500 young women across the Midwest listened to Mess’s presentation, Your Voice Matters. The inspiring and empowering tour made stops at Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, and University of Wisconsin.

The messages Mess shared with the high school- and college-age women stem from a lesson she had to learn for herself through twists and turns in her career.

She encouraged each young woman in the audience to reflect, “What is your unique story? What are your unique connections?” She reminded the ladies, “Your voice, your style is you. That’s what people want to hear when they talk to you.”

Mess concluded by encouraging the audience, “You are the future of the industry. Stand up. Share. Talk to people.”

“I am not the person anyone expected to be doing this,” Mess confesses, reflecting on her early years growing up in Madison, Wisconsin. In fact, early on Mess pictured herself training horses or interpreting for the deaf.

While she has always been an animal lover, Mess’s experiences in agriculture were limited. Outside of a litter of baby raccoons at her grandparents’ farm, growing up she had no exposure to livestock, she explains with a laugh.

Fortunately, for the four years she was there, her high school had an FFA chapter. Involvement in the program opened a door to showing livestock, specifically miniature donkeys. Mess explains that showing animals out of the petting zoo didn’t exactly make her popular, but FFA did facilitate some important relationships in her life.

Today, Mess is still friends with the instructor who facilitated her first showing experience. Due to FFA connections, she also met her husband, Patrick.

Although Patrick grew up on a dairy farm, the couple didn’t plan to become dairy farmers. After realizing that working in a cubicle wasn’t for her, Mess asked her in-laws to hire her to milk. “At that point, I’d milked about three times,” Mess laughs. “By milked, I mean mostly watched and pet cows.”

When her in-laws declined her offer to work for them, she quit her office job. She was determined to work on the farm. “I really found my passion being on the farm,” Mess reflects.

A number of years later, her husband joined her on the family operation.

After realizing all she’d learned on the farm, Mess decided to start sharing online. In 2011, as farmers in Texas were suffering from drought, she got an idea. She set a goal of organizing two loads of donated hay through her blogging connections. By the time she was done, seven loads of hay were sent south.

“That’s when I learned my voice online could really mean something in real life,” Mess shares.

Since then, she’s been using her voice to bring attention to causes and information that matter to her. She’s dedicated hours to explaining the practices on her family’s farm and milk labels.