Has spring sprung in your neck of the woods?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Has spring sprung for you yet?”

It looks like many across the nation are still shoveling snow. Good thing Easter weekend looks warmer for most. Here in Missouri the Dogwoods are in full bloom and the grass is getting greener by the day.

Our poll results:

  • Still snow on the ground – 27%
  • Still too cold – 24%
  • Seeing positive signs – 18%
  • Late spring for sure – 15%
  • Same as normal – 3%
  • Too wet – 9%
  • Too dry – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What’s your favorite use for Easter eggs?”

The incredible edible egg is in the spotlight this time of the year, but what do you do with all those hard boiled, multi-colored eggs on Monday? Eat them, toss them or watch them rot?

Where Your Marketing Dollars are Going

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What’s the largest percentage of your 2014 marketing budget?”

It looks like the old faithful form of print marketing tops this week’s ZimmPoll. But what is interesting is that rest of the choices were almost evenly spread across the board, with the newer trends of social media and digital marketing right up there with broadcast and direct mail.

Our poll results:

  • Broadcast – 10%
  • Digital – 15%
  • Direct mail – 10%
  • Print – 25%
  • Social media – 15%
  • Trade show/promo items – 15%
  • Other – 10%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Has spring sprung for you yet?”

If you haven’t got a case of Spring Fever, then you must be living in Florida with Chuck and Cindy. Here in the Midwest we had an 80 degree weekend and now are back into the 30′s. I think Mother Nature is a little confused. Are you seeing any signs of spring in your neck of the woods?

Can Farm Movies Improve Ag’s Image?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Do you think farm movies can help the public image of agriculture?”

It looks like the majority polled believe these farm movies can play a positive role in improving the agricultural industries image. Getting people to theaters to watch them might be tricky, but the old fashioned word-of-mouth advertising could be the ticket. I, personally, am eager to watch them and share with friends and family.

Our poll results:

  • Definitely – 38%
  • Maybe – 27%
  • No – 11%
  • Not sure – 4%
  • Can’t hurt – 15%
  • Other – 5%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What’s the largest percentage of your 2014 marketing budget?”

Next week is the annual Agri-Marketing Conference in Jacksonville, FL. Agribusiness/agency/media and more will be networking and participating in professional development activities. We’re pretty sure this question will be a part of the conversation.

Ag Advocates Nationwide Celebrate Ag Day

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How will you celebrate Ag Day?”

National Ag Day is nothing new to the agriculture community, but that doesn’t weaken the importance of it’s purpose. Our poll results showed an even spread of those heading to D.C. to celebrate Ag Day, participating via social media and taking a farmer to lunch. It was also evident that there were many state and local events happening nationwide. Others shared that eating good food while toasting American farmers was on their schedule. We all took part in festivities no matter big or small.

Our poll results:

  • In Washington DC – 21%
  • State or local event – 17%
  • Through social media – 21%
  • Take a farmer to lunch – 21%
  • Other – 13%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Do you think farm movies can help the public image of agriculture?”

National Ag Day activities were special this year because of of two great documentary films about farming. There was a private advance screening of Farmland and the national premier of The Great American Wheat Harvest for those lucky enough to get a sneak peek. There is no question we in the agriculture community need to stop sitting on our hands and tell our ag story so it is not told by others inaccurately. Are these movies doing just that? Do you think farm movies will help improve the public’s opinion of agriculture?

Most Say Open Ag Data Alliance is Good Idea

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What do you think of the Open Ag Data Alliance?”

Over half of those who participated in this week’s poll thought the Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA) was a great idea. Even though many are for this new software project, there are many who are questioning it’s benefits and believe it is confusing. If the learning curve was easy, would more be for it?

Our poll results:

  • Great idea – 54%
  • Terrible idea – 16%
  • No idea what it is – 22%
  • Other – 8%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “How will you celebrate Ag Day?”

National Ag Day is Tuesday, March 25. The agriculture community will be taking part in festivities across the country to celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Chuck and Cindy will be in Washington D.C. Chuck is covering the National Ag Day Activities and Cindy the American Coalition for Ethanol Biofuels Beltway March. Whether big or small, we can all do something to recognize the contributions of farmers and ranchers to our nation. What will you do?

It’s Fish Eating Time of Year

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What’s your favorite fish?”

Looks like grilled is a favorite by a landslide. Personally, I agree. I didn’t learn to like fish until later in life and still don’t cook it often, but love when someone makes it for me. It is interesting to see all the fast-food chains adding a fish sandwich to their menu this time of year. Maybe we should have added fish sticks to the list.

Our poll results:

  • Pan Fried – 11%
  • Deep Fried – 19%
  • Poached – 3%
  • Baked – 9%
  • Grilled – 35%
  • Smoked – 9%
  • Soup – 0%
  • Don’t eat fish – 11%
  • Other – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What do you think of the Open Ag Data Alliance?”

The Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA), an open standards software project to ensure farmers have full data access, security and privacy, has officially been launched with the goal of enabling farmers to have flexibility and control over data-driven decisions on their farm. What do you think about it? Do you think there is a need for this – or do you even understand it at all? Let us know!

Majority in Ag Boycott Chipotle

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What do you think about Chipotle’s Farmed & Dangerous?”

An overwhelming majority said they have boycotted Chipotle and I am proud to say I fit into that majority. I also believe Chipotle should be ashamed and have decided I don’t need to watch their recent stunt to know they are bad news. Thank you to those in the agricultural community who have made a stand against this restaurant giant and joined the fight to tell agriculture’s story.

Our poll results:

  • Chipotle should be ashamed – 25%
  • Hilarious – Lighten up! – 6%
  • Thought provoking – 4%
  • Refuse to see it – 6%
  • Will never eat at Chipotle – 47%
  • Never heard of it – 12%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What’s your favorite fish?”

Today is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent. Many across the country are giving up something beloved to them in the 40 days leading up to Easter and reframing from meat on Friday’s. In honor of that we want to know what’s your favorite way to prepare fish.

Many Say They Would Use E15 or E85 if Available

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “If available, would you put E15 or E85 in your vehicle?”

Although for different reasons, the majority of you said you would use E15 or E85 in your personal vehicle if it was available. It seems the availability is the question. When will we see more stations carrying different blends of ethanol beyond the Midwest?

Our poll results:

  • Yes, if save money – 29%
  • Yes, supports USA – 31%
  • Maybe, need for info – 5%
  • No, have concerns – 14%
  • I already do – 21%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What do you think about Chipotle’s Farmed & Dangerous?”

Chipotle is at it again. It seems their is no limit to their extreme marketing tactics. Many in the agriculture community have voiced their opinions via social media and other online outlets. Has that made a difference? Are we preaching to the choir or are our words only reaching deaf ears?

Are Higher Blends of Ethanol For You?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How does farm economy compare to general U.S.?”

Results varied, but the majority say they feel the U.S. farm economy is better then the general economy. As we move further into 2014 it will be interesting to see how small herd numbers and the drought in California affect people’s outlook.

Our poll results:

  • WAY better – 20%
  • Somewhat better – 52%
  • The same – 7%
  • Worse – 7%
  • Much worse – 0%
  • No idea – 14%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “If available, would you put E15 or E85 in your vehicle?”

Chuck and Cindy just got home from the 2014 National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, FL. The event touched on the state of the ethanol industry, the impact of the RFS on the industry, breaking down the blend wall, the global ethanol industry, perspective from the oil industry and auto manufacturers, and much more. More and more vehicles are becoming equipped with E15 and E85 capabilities, but many still haven’t committed to using this alternative fuel or simply don’t have access to it. Would you use E15 or E85 in your car or truck?

Could Drones (UAV’s) Be Utilized On Your Operation?

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What’s your opinion of state HSUS Ag Councils?”

We had an overwhelming large turn out of voters for this controversial ZimmPoll question. The majority of voters agree that if the HSUS label is present in anything, then it can’t be trusted. However, many are eager to work with the group. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It will be interesting to see how productive these HSUS Ag Councils are and if their goals aline with those of the agricultural community.

Our poll results:

  • Can’t trust HSUS – 55%
  • Should work with HSUS – 32%
  • Waste of time – 7%
  • Don’t know – 2%
  • Other – 4%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Could drones (UAV’s) serve a purpose on your operation?”

Precision technology in the agricultural industry is impossible to ignore and continually growing interest with farmers and ranchers globally. We have been seeing a lot of talk about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) or better known as drones. The use of drones to fly over crops and livestock to maximize profits is one of the hottest topics entering the agriculture sector. The sky seems to be the limit when it comes to the possibilities with this new technology, but advancements won’t be seen at all until approval is given from the FAA. The price tag might seem high to some, but others may see only see the benefits. We did a similar ZimmPoll on this topic last year asking, “What use would you have for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle?” Could you see yourself utilizing these unmanned aircrafts to increase profitability on your operation?

Young Scientist’s Share Passion for Biodiesel

nbb-14-three-studentsStudents from across the country took advantage of this year’s National Biodiesel Conference and presented their research to gain feed back and awareness of the biodiesel industry. This opportunity also allowed them to network with fellow researchers and learn more about the biodiesel community.

Chuck met up with three of the young people and they shared what sparked their interest in biodiesel and what their research has consisted of. All three were really excited to see how respective the professionals they presented to were to their new ideas and research.

They also committed about the opportunity to met and ask questions from other fellow students who attended the event. Peer review is an essential part of these in-depth research studies.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with these young scientists here: Interview with Student Scientists

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel’s Role in Bio-based Products

soy-biobased-erkerDirector of bio-based products for the United Soybean Board (USB), Michael Erker, was one of the many attendees of the 2014 National Biodiesel Conference. He works with many bio-based products including biodiesel. He gives insights into what bio-based products that contain biodiesel include and shares how involved USB is in funding biodiesel research.

“When we talk about bio-based products made from soybean oil or meal, that includes biodiesel. Biodiesel soy methyl ester are a great solvents. You not only get biodiesel, you get many other products like hand cleaners, paint strippers or other personal care products.”

USB gets very involved with research projects and are major funders for biodiesel. You can bet that they have had their hand in about all research projects the National Biodiesel Board has conducted. Michael also shared their investment with Ford and research to bring soy tires to vehicles nationwide.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Michael here: Interview with Michael Erker

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel Foundation’s Never Ending Support

nbb-14-foundationIt is easy to say that many of the promotional opportunities we see from the biodiesel industry wouldn’t be possible without the Biodiesel Foundation. During the 2014 National Biodiesel Conference the foundation was hard at work to raise money in order to increase awareness.

Beth Calabotta, Vice President of the Biodiesel Foundation, shared with Chuck in an interview that their goal is to work to promote biodiesel education, infrastructure and awareness.

“We promoted a sustainability tour where we brought a lot of policy makers and their support staff out to see farms in Iowa and biodiesel plants. They really got a feel for what the renewable fuels industry is. We have co-hosted a tour of some environmental groups from California who had never been to a farm before and actually see how biodiesel is made. We have also been sponsoring some educational studies at Purdue University aimed at really understanding what this indirect land use change is and really improving the science.”

The Foundation has a very wide variety of people on it’s board, including producers, farmers and many others involved and passionate about the industry. Those interested in doing their part and contributing to the Biodiesel Foundation can do so at www.BiodieselFoundation.org.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Beth here: Interview with Beth Calabotta

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Farm Polices Impact on Precision Ag

nbb-14-kevin-rossMember of the National Corn Growers Association Board and director of Western Iowa Energy, LLC, Kevin Ross, chatted with Chuck after the opening session at the 2014 National Biodiesel Conference. They discuss farm policy and how precision agriculture technology has impacted his farming operation where he raises cattle and grows corn and soybeans.

Kevin shared that if we don’t move past what RFS has already provided then we become stuck and the innovation stops. He says everyone needs to do what they can to ensure the investments continue and technologies are utilized. He feels the government has given mixed signals and believes simple education on the issue could help.

“The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) itself is vitally important to my operation at home and to my neighbors. Not just from the farming side, but also from the livestock side. Especially, operations like mine in western Iowa where we can utilize the fats and add value back to the livestock. I am not sure how many people know that its even possible. Let alone be done on an industrial scale. Agriculture is about value-added. Creating markets in those new economies within a broader ag industry is what it is all about.”

Kevin goes on to discuss what types of precision agriculture they have taken advantage of on his operation.

“On our farm it has been a fast ramp up of precision technology. Just a couple years ago on our own farm we’ve gone to auto steer. I couldn’t plant straight rows if I tried. We also use single row shut-offs and it has been a huge plus for us. Overall newer equipment is more efficient with yield monitors and data that we collect. We are going into a new soil data collection phase on our farm which is an entirely new way of doing it then before. We have made major advancement in the recent years and profitability in ag and RFS have really had a huge role in making that possible.”

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Kevin here: Interview with Kevin Ross

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Growing Use of Technology for Growers

nbb-14-frank-legnerCommodity groups across the country also took interest in the happenings at the recent National Biodiesel Conference. Frank Legner, Legner Farms is a member of the Illinois Soybean Association and attended the conference to relay the update on biodiesel to growers in Illinois. He talks about how he uses precision agriculture on his farm where they grow 50/50 soybeans and corn.

“With the high prices of commodities in the years previous farmers have used their capital in many different ways. Our farming operation decided to put our capital towards technology. Where we farm you could have about four different soil types on a piece of land and those soil types all have different productivity indexes that have been benchmarked from the University of Illinois. We use those soil maps as a good foundation of how we are going to come up with a plan. We soil sample on two and a half acre grids and when we make these sample sites we overlay them on our SMS advance desktop software to make sure that sample site is in one soil sample. When we get the readings from the lab, we use that to write our VRT recommendations.”

They can then compare results from previous years and start selecting what hybrids will work in each field. Frank said it is kind of like a draft. The multiple hybrid planting is something that he sees them utilizing in the very near future as well.

Frank also shared that colors don’t mix when you are dealing with this level of technology. He shared that precision planting has been the best way for them to use their green planter with their red tractor. Legner Farms has truly adopted the use of technology to create efficiency and increase profitability. He goes on to explain how they have taken advantage of different precision ag company’s innovations and looks forward to seeing what’s next.

You can listen to Chuck’s complete interview with Frank here: Interview with Frank Legner

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album