Tag Archives: agriculture

Phil Hogan, the new Trade Commissioner for the European Union, was in Washington, D.C., last week and spoke about the tense relationship between the EU and the U.S. The New York Times says Hogan promises to “robustly defend” European interests as he justified the European position on trade disagreements with the U.S. over airplane subsidies, digital taxes, and the World Trade Organization.

He criticized American officials for being inaccurate in claiming that trade between the U.S. and EU was unbalanced, while also saying America’s aggressive use of tariffs against trading partners was “hardly sensible.” His comments came as the U.S. is considering the use of new tariffs against the European Union trading bloc.

However, Hogan ruled out the possibility of a three-way trade relationship between the EU, the U.S., and the United Kingdom in a post-Brexit world. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tells Fox Business News that sealing the phase one trade deal with China and congressional passage of USMCA boosts the U.S. negotiating stance with Europe. “Our position is infinitely better already just because of these two deals,” Ross says.

The Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA) has announced eight individuals and organizations to be honored for leadership in agricultural safety as demonstrated through safety training, collaboration, promotion, education or research.

The awards will be presented on the first day of the North American Agricultural Safety Summit, March 19-20, at Bally’s of Las Vegas. The summit, hosted by ASHCA, will feature top safety experts, mentoring opportunities and a unique agricultural safety learning lab.

“We established these safety awards to highlight effective and efficient practices that enhance worker safety within agriculture,” said Jess McCluer, board chair of ASHCA, and vice president of safety and regulatory affairs at the National Grain and Feed Association. “Not only is safety important for individual employees, but it also is one of the key business excellence areas that determine long-term sustainability.”

Life time achievement award: William Nelson, retired from CHS Foundation; consultant. Nelson was the first and longest-serving chair of the ASHCA Board of Directors. As the director of the CHS Foundation he facilitated a major initiative by CHS to dedicate $3 million to national efforts to improve agricultural safety and health through several organizations and regional grants.

Policymaker/legislator: Sen. James Seward, New York. Seward has served in the New York State Legislature for more than three decades with tireless service to the farm community, including being a champion for the New York Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program.

Agribusiness Leader: Janice Klodowski, Agri-Services Agency. Klodowski is VP of Agri-Services Agency, a leader of the workers compensation captive and a constant supporter and advocate for safety in agriculture, beyond her “day job” at ASA. She served on the ASHCA Board of Directors for eight years.

Agricultural Organization:

  1. Washington State Dairy Association – Scott Dilley:The oldest dairy trade association in the U.S. has been prioritizing the health and safety of dairy workers in Washington state for the past six years. They have integrated safety content into their annual meetings, consulting services and with academic partners to improve training and practice.

  1. Farmworker Association of Florida — Jeannie Economos and Dr. Antonio Tovar:a stateside grassroots organization of 10,000-plus members that works in vegetable, citrus, mushroom, sod, fern and foliage industries. Through many different partnerships they have gathered data on workplace hazards and acceptable safety solutions, then provide outreach to facilitate protections for agricultural employees, including training more the 5,000 farm workers in safety.

Educator: Robert Aherin, retired, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Aherin has a 38-year career in agricultural safety and health research and outreach, with numerous examples of leadership and commitment to the farming community. He established and grew the UIUC bachelor’s and master’s level degrees and directly taught about 70,000 agricultural workers through training programs.

Health Care Provider: Charlotte Halverson, RN, AgriSafe Network. Halverson is the clinical director of AgriSafe, planning and providing agricultural health training for rural health care providers and others for nearly 20 years. She has launched several initiatives for AgriSafe including their new Nurse Scholar program.

WCF Insurance Research to Practice Collaboration Award: Idaho Dairymen’s Association. Safety Director Ryan Dewitt and CEO Rick Naerebout successfully introduced the National Dairy Farm Safety Program to dairies throughout Idaho via consulting services, worker training with I-pads, onsite training and compliance assistance. They took a proactive approach by working with researchers Dave Douphrate and Robert Hagevoort, affiliated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded High Plains Intermountain Center for Ag Health and Safety to test, evaluate, refine and sustain a safety program that has now reached more than 2,000 hired workers in Idaho.

The summit, “Raising Safety 2020: Cultivating a Culture of Safety,” will feature:

  • A fast-paced program with plenary and break-out sessions.
  • A pre-conference learning lab (March 18) with hands-on demonstrations of safety resources and training programs.
  • Opportunities for networking during receptions, breaks and roundtables.
  • Mentoring for first-time attendees and early career agricultural risk managers.
  • Awards luncheon acknowledging safety achievements of individuals and companies.
  • Research poster session with lightning talks.

For the full agenda, and to register as an attendee, sponsor or exhibitor, go to http://ashca.org/2020-safety-summit/.  Early bird registration deadline is Jan. 31, with the regular registration period ending Feb. 28. Late registrations will be taken through the event.

The United States and China are set to take a step toward trade peace after 18 months of economic skirmishing. President Donald Trump and China’s chief trade negotiator plan to sign a modest agreement Wednesday that would ease some U.S. economic sanctions on China and have Beijing step up purchases of American farm products and other goods.

The deal would lower tensions in a fight that has slowed global growth, hurt American manufacturers and weighed on the Chinese economy.  But the “Phase 1” agreement would do little to force China to make the major economic changes such as reducing unfair subsidies for its own companies.

President Donald J. Trump, for the third year in a row, will speak at the AFBF Annual Convention. The address is scheduled for January 19 in Austin, Texas, at the Austin Convention Center.

“The American Farm Bureau is honored President Trump will return for a third consecutive year to speak with farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly to produce the quality food and fiber our country needs,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We are grateful that he has made agricultural issues a priority and look forward to welcoming him to Austin at a time when there is much to talk about, from trade progress to important regulatory reforms.”

Other officials currently scheduled to attend are: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

Wednesday is an important day for the trade dispute that’s dragged on between China and the United States. The South China Morning Post confirms that the Chinese Vice Premier will be heading to Washington to participate in the signing ceremony for a partial trade agreement between the two nations.

The deal will boost U.S. agricultural commodity shipments to China in exchange for the White House cutting back on some of the existing tariffs on Chinese goods. U.S. President Donald Trump has said China will buy as much as $50 billion worth of agricultural goods every year within the next two years. However, Beijing still hasn’t confirmed any of those numbers yet.

A deputy ag minister quoted by a Chinese magazine last week says his country has no plans to change its grain import quota system. Politico says trade analysts point out that could make it extremely difficult for Beijing to meet U.S. demands. The other fact that makes many economists skeptical is the most U.S. agricultural products China has ever purchased was $26 billion back in 2012.

President Trump recently said on Twitter that he’ll be heading to Beijing to begin talks on Phase Two of an agreement, but a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce didn’t provide any additional details on potential talks.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The Agriculture Workforce Coalition Thursday urged the U.S. Senate to take up legislation to solve the agricultural labor crisis.

A letter penned by the coalition to the Senate urges lawmakers to address the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, which increased nationally by six percent for 2020. The rate is the required wage for farmers who use the H-2A program. In its letter, the coalition asks the Senate to consider the impacts of the rate on U.S. farmers.

The group seeks an alternative that will ensure a level playing field for farmers and ranchers making them more competitive with foreign producers. Additionally, the coalition says farmers who use the H-2A program to procure legal workers from other countries must comply with “a complicated and expensive application” process.

Over the last five years, the Adverse Effect Wage Rate has increased nationwide by 17 percent on average while revenues for fruits and nuts have increased only three percent and vegetables and melons have seen no revenue increases.

China is doing everything it can to rebound from the African Swine Fever epidemic that decimated its hog herds. Chinese customs officials say they’ve banned imports of pigs, wild boars, and related products from Indonesia due to the ASF virus outbreak in the northern part of the country.

A Reuters article says the deadly disease roared across China itself after first being detected in August of 2018. Some estimates say the disease reduced the world’s biggest pig herd by up to 40 percent. Beijing has recently issued a series of new measures to boost pig production, while also maintaining strict prevention and control measures designed to prevent new outbreaks of the disease.

China’s General Administration of Customs says on its website that as of December 17, Indonesia had reported almost 400 cases of African Swine Fever outbreaks. As of mid-December, official reports say the virus has killed almost 30,000 pigs across a province in north Indonesia. Authorities are still trying to quarantine the area, which has suffered millions of dollars in economic losses.

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

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

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