Category Archives: Agricultural Exports News

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Purina and Pheasants Forever partner for sustainability

“Healthy products are made from healthy ingredients grown in healthy ecosystems,” says Jack Scott, vice president of sustainability and responsible sourcing for Purina. Partnerships and programs that put sustainability into action while supporting farmers financially continue to pop up in the industry. Purina, leading manufacturer of dog and cat food brands, is part of several initiatives doing just that, including the Soil Health and Habitat Program from Pheasants Forever. Utilizing precision agriculture technology, Pheasants Forever works with producers and growers to analyze data using Truterra Insights Engine from 30,000 acres of private lands in the Prairie Pothole Region to help enhance soil health, protect water quality, and implement conservation planning. Results from the analysis will help guide enrollment of low-production acres into the program, providing those landowners who are contracted to be in the program for five years with a one-time financial incentive payment for grassland or cover crop mixtures. “There is a balance between ensuring the land stays healthy and productive and the farmers remain economically viable,” Scott says. “We are proud to work with Pheasants Forever. They have been a great long-term partner with us and through the Soil Health and Habitat Program, they are promoting sustainable soil, while at the same time thinking about how to protect wildlife habitat. This complements our goals and mission and the great work farmers are doing.” SF: What are Purina’s sustainability goals? JS: At Purina, we’ve been committed to making our high-quality pet products sustainably, whether it’s through package recyclability, reducing our energy or water consumption in factories, or making sure that we’re sourcing our ingredients responsibly from areas that are also responsible. Almost all of the ingredients we source come from farms here in the United States. If you take a look at our products, we rely heavily on plant and animal agriculture. We recognize that to be in business for a long time and to source our ingredients long into the future, they must come from places that are rich and bountiful and that care for the environment. We recognize the critical role that farmers play in this and we want to make sure that we’re there to support them and work with them, recognizing their stewardship of the land as we are the recipients of what they produce. Our goal has always been to find ways in which we can work together and support the farmers to ensure that the land stays healthy and bountiful. SF: Why the Prairie Pothole Region? JS: Often, when people think about the Prairie Pothole Region, they think about the different shallow lakes and accompanying wildlife. We have partnerships with other conservation organizations that work with farmers in those areas. A lot of what we’re talking about here are grasslands that offer nesting cover for wildlife. This is a critical area, not just for our supply chain where we source ingredients, but one that requires collaboration among multiple partners to provide the ingredients in a healthy way that benefits habitat at the same time. SF: Why is it so important to invest in sustainability? JS: We talk about soil, water, and biodiversity and habitat as the building blocks to improve healthy ecosystems. That ecosystem will return services back to us in the form of recreation, healthy food products, and others. In this particular case, we aren’t ignoring water – it is certainly part of soil health – but we’ve focused on wildlife habitat, too. By working with farmers and using technology, this program identifies productivity across the landscape. If there are areas that are not as productive, then there may be an opportunity to take that land out of production, improve the economics of the farmer, and turn that into a wildlife habitat. In the future, that approach can return some of the richness back to the soil, which we recognize helps improve the overall ecosystem. We want to protect the environment and help farmers to remain productive, responsible, and financially viable long-term. SF: How do technologies and data support sustainable farming and the supply chain? JS: It is critical to support farmers by using the latest in technology. There are many farm families already utilizing data, drones, and measurement instruments in the field. They’re doing so in order to make the best possible decisions for their land, productivity, and financial viability for their farms. Technologies can also include new methodologies for supporting that land. In the Soil Health and Habitat Program, we use the Truterra Insights Engine from Land O’Lakes, which is designed by farmers for farmers. The Engine helps farmers get the most out of their land from a production standpoint as well as financially. The insights and methodologies might not only improve the land, but the communities, too, by removing land that doesn’t deliver profit and returning it to nature, back to wildlife. That’s where organizations like Pheasants Forever come in to provide that knowledge and guidance. Soil Health and Habitat Program The Soil Health and Habitat Program operates in phases and has so far exceeded expectations in number of applications across the Prairie Pothole Region. Ryan Heiniger, director of agriculture & conservation Innovations at Pheasants Forever, says the program is working with 11 farmers in the initial phase and using fall 2020 yield information to drive decision-making this year and beyond. “Our goal is to be laser-focused and laser-accurate on where habitat acres are plotted on the fields,” Heiniger says. The program targets acres with underlying hydrology, agronomy, or other issues that cause them to be consistently unprofitable. Heiniger says the ultimate goal is to turn those red acres green. And to take it further, by implementing practices like cover crops, those green acres could go greener. The program provides $20 per acre to offset the cost of cover crop seed. Pheasants Forever acts as an adviser, providing answers and serving as a liaison to other programs that may also fit an operation. “A core principle of ours is to roll up our sleeves with the farmer and help them put their precision data to work,” Heiniger says. The Truterra Insights Engine allows Pheasants Forever and the farmer to measure outcomes and determine which investments moved the needle on soil health, conservation, and even carbon sequestration. “In the future, we’ll look for ways to add additional partners and foster public-private partnerships to leverage funds and ultimately do more,” Heiniger says. Incremental changes and adaptability are key in growing the program while staying true to farmers’ goals. “As we look at our partnerships upstream and the whole supply chain, we recognize everything that the agricultural community and these farmer families do for us,” Scott says. “We’ve found ways in which we can work and help them in their mission to be successful. It’s always a pleasure for us to say thank you to the farmers and the farmer families for everything they do.”

15 Minutes with cranberry farmer Amber Bristow

Some of Amber Bristow’s earliest memories on her family’s cranberry marsh in Warrens, Wisconsin, are the spring and summer midnight rides with her father. She’d wake up, watch cable TV, and then tag along in the truck with a cooler of snacks supplied to fuel their task of checking for frost on the vines. “Growing up, I was Dad’s little shadow. He always included me, but because I have an older brother, Dad didn’t expect I’d be the one to come back home to farm,” Bristow says. She took on the least glamorous jobs throughout middle school and high school like picking up sticks and pulling weeds. And in college, Bristow earned a sports management degree that led her to work with baseball teams in Wisconsin and Iowa – a far cry from her farming background. Yet, every monthly visit she made back home brought her closer to realizing she was truly meant to be there. “Eventually I talked to my parents about coming back to the marsh and really only had to convince my mom,” Bristow says. “That was four years ago, and I’ve been under my dad’s wing ever since learning the ropes and will someday take over for him.” SF: What is the history of your farm? AB: Our marsh started as 11 acres in 1918 and has since grown to 230. We run a small operation with my dad, my husband, one of my cousins, and two other full-timers. Although I don’t have an exact date, we became part of the Ocean Spray farmer-owned cooperative shortly after our founding. SF: For those unfamiliar with the crop, how do cranberries grow in a marsh? AB: We have sandy, acidic soil and the cranberry vines grow in beds dug into the ground. Cranberries are perennial, so to protect the vines in winter, we flood the beds with about 24 inches of pond water and when a layer of ice forms, we pull the extra water off back into the ponds. We do this process a couple of times during the winter months until there is about 10 to 12 inches of ice and then spread sand across the beds. In spring when the ice melts, the sand falls through and pushes the vines down encouraging new growth. This process promotes better bud development in the spring and gets rid of any insects that may remain from the summer. SF: What is a misconception in cranberry farming? AB: The biggest misconception is that people think we work in water all of the time because the image of cranberries they’re most familiar with is flooding during harvest. We do flood in the fall so the cranberries can be moved around easier. But most people are blown away to learn we actually farm in marshes year-round. The berries don’t magically show up in the fall. Because cranberries are a perennial fruit, some of the vines we have are over 60 years old. They keep reproducing and we don’t have to replant or rotate crops out. Cranberries love the sandy, acidic soil, and we can’t really grow any other crop in these conditions. They are one of the few native fruits to North America. I also want others to see cranberries as more than a seasonal food. Find the fresh fruit in stores and freeze them so you can use them throughout the year, drink cranberry juice, and snack on dried cranberries. There is a wealth of nutritional value and antioxidants in cranberries; I think they should be part of everybody’s everyday diet. Many great things come from this tiny fruit and that’s what makes me proud to grow this crop. SF: How did you start your Instagram @cranberrychats? AB: About three years ago, I realized I wanted to share more of my life on the marsh and address the misconceptions I kept hearing. I started posting on my personal Instagram page but felt like I wasn’t reaching the right audience. Then the Women in Ag account, which has thousands of followers, reached out to feature me. I was blown away and didn’t even know there was a side of Instagram focused on badass women in all aspects of agriculture. Many people reached out to me after I was featured commenting on what they learned and telling me to keep it up. I’ve always viewed social media as a scary place that can provoke criticism but the more I saw other women in ag use Instagram, the more I felt like I could do it and bring representation of the cranberry industry to social media, which was lacking. SF: And how did your podcast with Becca Hilby, Forward Farming, begin? AB: One of the people I met through social media was Becca Hilby, a dairy farmer in southern Wisconsin. We have similar personalities, humor, and we’re both a little impulsive. So when I reached out to ask if she would start a podcast with me, she said yes. Forward Farming is our podcast – named after the Wisconsin state motto. Milk is the official beverage of Wisconsin and cranberries are the official state fruit, so it all ties together. SF: What topics do you cover in Forward Farming? AB: We talk about being female farmers, Wisconsin agriculture, and how we move the industry forward. In each week’s episode, we start by sharing our highs and lows of the week because often social media only shows the good things but there are a lot of negatives that we tend to avoid. We’ve opened up our platform and make it OK to discuss our struggles because everyone has them; we may as well talk about it and not feel secluded. You’d also think that by growing up in Wisconsin, we would know more about each other’s industries, but Becca and I have learned a lot from each other. SF: What is one of your favorite episodes? AB: Becca and I are both into hunting and follow Alex Templeton on social media, a female rancher in Missouri who is also a bow hunter. She is sponsored by Matthews hunting brand and helped design the women’s line of gear for SITKA. She agreed to be on our podcast and we learned so much about ranching. Since we are mostly dairy in Wisconsin, it was interesting to hear her side of agriculture and realize that in many ways, we’re still the same. SF: March is Women's History Month. What does it mean to you to be challenging the norms in farming? AB: Because there are many family-run cranberry marshes, women have always been involved, but it seems recently a lot more women are stepping up and running the show. I grew up watching some of these women and never felt like I couldn’t do it, too. I looked up to my grandma as I watched her work with my dad and grandpa. When watching for frost, she would be up until midnight or 1:00 a.m. so that my grandpa could get some sleep at night. There are many powerful women in our industry who I admire even now, and see them filling leadership roles makes me confident I can do the same. With the women in ag community on Instagram, it’s empowering to see that it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or man – if there is a job to be done, a calf to be pulled, you can do it. SF: Whom do you admire in agriculture? AB: I admire the heck out of my dad. He married into cranberry farming and had to overcome a huge learning curve to work with this unique crop. There isn’t a manual on how to grow cranberries; it comes from experience and attention to detail. I feel fortunate that I’m able to learn from him. I try to soak up as much as I can because I know he’s willing to take a few steps back now. He’s always been my role model on and off the marsh. SF: What are you looking forward to this year? AB: There are a lot of big changes coming this year. I’m pregnant with my first baby due at the end of August, just in time for harvest. Everyone is excited and eagerly awaiting little cran-baby. This year is all about growth and generational change for me and my entire family.

Together for Agriculture

At the crossroads of National Agriculture Week and Women’s History Month, we celebrate the work of women in agriculture. For a second year, March 25 is proclaimed Women in Agriculture Day in Iowa. The statewide celebration is a collaboration between Stine Seed Co., the Iowa FFA Foundation, the Iowa 4-H Program, FarmHer, and the Iowa Office of the Governor.  Read More: Q&A with Emily Schmitt. Schmitt is the third generation in leadership at Sukup Manufacturing, directing legal, human resources, communications, strategic planning, and other administrative functions of the company. Read More: Q&A with Liz Garst. Garst was born into a farming legacy and has since carved out her path in agriculture as a self-proclaimed soil health crusader who speaks, educates, and leads by example through her family’s farming operations. “Women from all walks of agriculture, including research, seed sales, farming, trade, agribusiness, education, and more, play a vital role in helping the industry prosper and advancing it for future generations,” says Jessica Drake, marketing coordinator for Stine. “We’re proud to work with many inspiring and influential women at Stine and across the industry, and we’re excited to recognize all women in ag for their accomplishments. Our partnership with FarmHer, the Iowa FFA Foundation, and the Iowa 4-H Program enables Stine to elevate, empower, and educate women in agriculture throughout the industry. We thank the governor for her support in establishing a Women in Agriculture Day in Iowa.” Read More: Q&A with Kristin Peck. By combining her passions for animals and creating jobs as CEO of Zoetis, Peck works to improve the health of animals and positively impact the people who care for and depend on them. Read More: Q&A with Brandi Buzzard. From her Kansas ranch to the White House, Buzzard reaches consumers while fueled by faith, family, and beef. “Iowa is proud to recognize the nearly 50,000 women who serve in leadership, support, and influential, decision-making roles across Iowa’s 86,000 farms,” the proclamation notes. In addition to female leaders on the farm, the proclamation acknowledges the women who are making a difference in the state’s various commodity and industry fields. Today – every day – is an opportunity to celebrate the work women do everywhere in the industry that feeds the world. Read More: Q&A with Carla Schultz. This Michigan farmer says everyone has a place at the table and harnesses an online presence to advocate and educate.  Read More: Jacquelyne Leffler is the fourth generation on her family’s farm. She works to ensure its success through transition and new business opportunities. “While we celebrate the accomplishments of women who are paving the way for the agriculture industry year-round, we’re pleased to have an official day in Iowa marking their efforts in agriculture and their leadership and expertise in the workplace,” says Myron Stine, president of Stine Seed Co. Join the Women in Agriculture Day in Iowa celebration by sharing your ag stories on social media using the hashtag #TogetHER4Ag.

Cereal

India is the world's second largest producer of Rice, Wheat and other cereals. The huge demand for cereals in the global market is creating an excellent environment for the export of Indian cereal products. In 2008, India had imposed ban on export of rice and wheat ...

REPORT – 5 – APEDA

REPORT - 5 04th Dec 2017 Basmati Acreage & Yield Estimation in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Western Uttar Pradesh, and Parts of Jammu & Kashmir Basmati Export Development Foundation APEDA, New Delhi Basmati Survey

Cereal – APEDA

India is the world's second largest producer of Rice, Wheat and other cereals. The huge demand for cereals in the global market is creating an excellent environment for the export of Indian cereal products. In 2008, India had imposed ban on export of rice and wheat ...

Applications open for conservation mentorship

Award-winning, conservation-minded landowners will soon be sharing their knowledge by serving as mentors for historically underserved farmers and ranchers. A $250,000 Conservation Collaboration Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will fund Sand County Foundation’s two-year pilot project to promote conservation outreach by its award recipients. “Leopold Conservation Award recipients are ambassadors who regularly discuss the importance of agricultural conservation with their peers and the general public. This project will empower our network of award recipients to share a range of knowledge, from how to apply for an NRCS conservation program to technical assistance, with an important audience,” Dr. Heidi Peterson, Sand County Foundation’s Vice President of Agricultural Research and Conservation says. Since 2003, the Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award has recognized nearly 150 farmers, ranchers and forestland owners nationwide for their efforts to improve soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat. “Research shows that awareness of conservation programs is one of three key challenges for historically underserved producers, along with access to land for expansion and available credit,” Peterson says. “Networking and knowledge-sharing about conservation practices is a significant predictor of conservation practice adoption.” “While there is no need to create new programs, there is a need to transfer program knowledge to others. Sand County Foundation’s method is a great way to transfer this knowledge to underserved groups,” Denise Coleman, Pennsylvania State Conservationist for the USDA NRCS says. The USDA defines historically underserved farmers and ranchers as those with limited resources, and those who are beginners, military veterans, or members of a socially disadvantaged group. Research shows that historically underserved farmers and ranchers are more likely to operate on environmentally-sensitive land near water bodies. “Historically underserved farmers and ranchers face many challenges. Knowing someone to ask about a conservation practice can build confidence and have a lasting impact,” Dick Cates says. Cates is a Wisconsin farmer who received the Leopold Conservation Award in 2013. “I look forward to participating as a mentor.” The project’s title, “Empowering Landowners by Advancing a Land Ethic,” is a nod to renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land. He inspired landowners to adopt what he called “a land ethic”: a moral responsibility to treat land, water and wildlife with respect. Sand County Foundation is a national non-profit that works at the intersection of agriculture and environmental improvement. For more than 50 years, Sand County Foundation has evaluated and demonstrated conservation practices with farmers, ranchers, foresters and businesses. These efforts produce clean water, healthy soil, abundant wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation. For a list of the conservation mentors, click here.

A frank discussion about racism in agriculture

As a young sales representative for Elanco Animal Health, Bryana Clover called on poultry customers in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Almost always, she was the only person of color in a room filled with white employees and managers.   Most of the laborers working on the farms or the poultry processing floors, however, were not white.  Her customers saw Clover as different than the laborers.   “They told me I was different. I was more professional than them. Or when they would be talking about the ‘lazy plant workers,’ or referred to many of the plant workers as ‘crackheads,’ they would say, ‘no offense, but you’re different,’” Clover recalls.  Read More: Always looking ahead: What it's like to be a Black farmer in America Clover’s job eventually took her into Elanco’s home office. “Not once in my 12-year agribusiness career did I have a person of color on my team,” she adds. “Not once.”   The reality is, there are few Black managers or administrative officers in agribusiness. Data to support that statistic is difficult to come by, but look around: Do you see Black men or women employed where you conduct business? Are they managers? Are they in Executive Leadership roles? Clover was one of the few. She left her full-time job in 2020 to establish 1619 Consulting, where she works to raise awareness about racial diversity in agriculture. Her goal: Many agribusiness companies claim to want to improve diversity, but are they willing to putting in the work to make it happen?  [factoid]“What we need more of is empathy." – Bryana Clover[/factoid]“I really want to educate the agribusiness industry and the agricultural industry about these problems to create a commitment to authentic change, rather than performative allyship,” Clover says. “I want to get the industry to understand that their future depends on it.” Clover’s efforts come during a pivotal time in race relations in the U.S. Events transpiring throughout the nation in 2020 raised awareness that America has a long way to go when it comes to treating Black and white people equally. Despite awareness that came in the wake of the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and many more, ensuring Black Americans have equal opportunities is a heavy lift, she says. “I think part of this white supremacy culture that we are socialized to strive for quick results. If we can’t get quick results, we put a Band-Aid on it, call it something pretty, and move on,” she says. “That’s not unique to agribusiness necessarily. But agribusiness has the power, the reach, and the influence to really help make strides in this area.” The argument that there aren’t enough Black people trained to work in management positions in agribusiness? Clover doesn’t buy it.  “I hear it all the time, ‘Well, we would hire more Black people, but where are they?’ I think the questions to ask are, are we doing all we can to diversify our hiring pool?” Other questions agribusinesses must ask of themselves are:  Do we have an inclusive culture for people of color?  Are the diversity and equity promises being made at the executive level reaching middle management appropriately?  Are we equipping middle management to be good stewards of race equity policies and culture?  Awareness and education are important first steps, Clover adds. The hard truth is, white Americans will never understand what it’s like to be anything other than white.  “If you're white in America, you don't ever have to go through life thinking about you or yourself as a Black person, Brown person, or any person of color. That’s no one’s fault. It is the culture we are socialized in,” she explains. “But it does take some intentionality to learn. Because I am convinced that if more of us took ownership of our learning, we’d understand the pervasiveness of systemic racism and how it shows up in the workplace. We can’t solve problems we don’t understand.”  The answer to race, whether in agriculture or society, is in fact rather simple.  “What we need more of is empathy,” Clover adds. “If we can humanize the Black person who we see on being negatively portrayed on the news like we would humanize our own mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren, that is the key to opening up the willingness to educate ourselves about what's going on.”