Biennial Precision Retailer Adoption Survey Sneak Peek

From: PrecisionAg

The 16th Annual CropLife/Purdue Precision Adoption Survey provides a window into overall precision use in the U.S. Purdue’s David Widmar, Dr. Bruce Erickson, and Jacqueline Holland provide this overview of some key findings from the survey, with full results due out in June.

Why do agricultual retailers invest in and use precision agricultural technologies? Is it used to distinguish a business from the competition, to generate additional revenue or because customers expect it?

Two Approaches for Optimizing Water Productivity

From: USDA

By Dennis O’Brien

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers in Bushland, Texas, are helping farmers make the most of their water supplies in a region where they depend on the Ogallala Aquifer, a massive underground reservoir under constant threat of overuse.

Steve Evett, Susan O’Shaughnessy and their colleagues in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are developing soil, water and plant stress sensors and automated irrigation systems designed to irrigate fields only when absolutely necessary. ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency.

Visiting Professor at Cornell Encourages Vertical Farming in Buildings

From: The Cornell Daily Sun

By Alexa Davis

A few graduate students’ dream that skyscrapers will be filled with plants instead of cubicles may be becoming a reality. In a lecture Wednesday, Prof. Emeritus Dickson Despommier, Columbia University, environmental health sciences, spoke to an audience of 30 students about how groups are beginning to adopt vertical farming to solve the planet’s climate issues.

Despommier said that the world’s cultures, ecosystems and economic systems currently face challenges obtaining a safe water supply, securing food safety, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and restoring damaged ecosystems. Food producers have farmed 80 percent of earth’s available farmland, consumed 70 percent of available freshwater and 20 percent of the country’s fossil fuels, he said.

Agricultural technology critical to feed 9 billion people

From: Western Farm Press

70-100 percent yield increase needed

Cary Blake

Global agriculture’s challenge to feed two billion more people by 2050 on Planet Earth would have made a sensational episode of the 1960s-1970s hit drama television series Mission Impossible.

Agricultural technology innovations could have been the ultimate mission for lead actor Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) who amazingly accomplished a myriad of seemingly impossible missions.

Agriculture faces a daunting task to feed and clothe a world population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050. The current population is about 7.1 billion people. Over the last decade, the global population increased by 12 percent.

The Diane Rehm Show: Fertilizer Plant Safety And Oversight

From: National Public Radio/WAMU 88.5

The fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, raises questions about the safety of similar facilities around the country. Concerns over how fertilizer plants are regulated and risks to the public.


Jim Morris senior reporter, The Center for Public Integrity
Daren Coppock president, The Agricultural Retailers Association
Ramit Plushnick-Masti environment reporter, The Associated Press
Allen Summers president, Asmark Institute

“The Agricultural Chemicals Security Credit is a fiscally responsible, common-sense proposal….”

Editor’s Note:  A letter from the President & CEO of the Agricultural Retailers Association to House Committee on Ways & Means is attached here.  Below is an excerpt from the letter.

From: Agricultural Retailers Association

It is important for Congress to recognize the vital role of agricultural businesses in making our country the leading agricultural producer and exporter in the world.  We need to support their efforts to help safeguard our national security by appropriately securing agricultural pesticides and fertilizers.  The Agricultural Chemicals Security Credit is a fiscally responsible, common-sense proposal that enables eligible agricultural businesses to make the necessary security investments to better protect these facilities.

Communication guidelines regarding fertilizer facility explosion

From: AgProfessional/Agricultural Retailers Association

The Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute have been working together closely on a coordinated media response to the incident at the Texas fertilizer facility yesterday evening. Below are talking points, facts and crisis communications guidelines that may be helpful to ag retailers that may need to respond to media inquiries in their local areas.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind when responding to a crisis like this.

  • Identify one good spokesperson in your company to respond to media inquiries regarding this incident.

Innovation key to farming future


HALIFAX – The province is supporting innovation and research at the Dalhousie agricultural campus in Truro that will grow healthier plants, the economy and the future of farming.

“The province is helping people get ready for good jobs around the corner,” ministerial assistant Lenore Zann, on behalf of Economic and Rural Development Minister Percy Paris, said Thursday. “Funding research and innovation in agriculture will ensure this rich industry of our past continues to thrive well into our future.”

Chris Cutler, a researcher from Dalhousie faculty of agriculture, is developing ways to improve plant health, better manage insect populations and protect the environment by reducing the amount of chemicals needed.

Finance training can make farmers better customers

From: Ag  Professional/SDSU Extension Service

Like the chief executive officer of any corporation, an agricultural CEO is a manager and visionary for their agricultural enterprise. The “Growing Ag CEO’s” education program under the leadership of the South Dakota State University Extension Service will be held at two locations in the state beginning in early May.

Such training is becoming highly prized for helping farmers and ranchers run their operations in a sustainable, profitable manner. Purdue University is an institution of higher learning that has taken a leadership role in showing the value business-person training and has training programs designed for different business types, including agricultural retailers. Customers with a solid background in finances is usually a good customer for retailers.

The rules on COOL

From: AgWeek

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has issued a proposed rule to bring the current mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements into compliance with U.S. international trade obligations.

By: Daryll E. Ray and Harwood D. Schaffer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has issued a proposed rule to bring the current mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements into compliance with U.S. international trade obligations.

AMS is responding to the determination of the World Trade Organization Appellate Body that COOL requirements were “inconsistent with the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement’s national treatment obligation to accord imported products treatment no less favorable than that accorded to domestic products.”