Grains of Knowledge

Quality for Better Quantities: Solutions to Improve Your Drinking Water

Water is essential for life but imagine if you couldn’t enjoy a cold glass of water without wondering if your next sip would make you sick. We often don’t think about where our water comes from, but maybe we should. Despite various regulations and water quality initiatives, contamination and pollution are still pressing issues today.  The National Water Quality Assessment identified agricultural nonpoint source pollution the leading cause of water contamination in rivers, streams and other large bodies of water. Water contamination is a byproduct of power companies, wastewater utilities, runoff and agricultural activities. Though each state in the U.S. has […]

5 Consumer Food Trends Farmers Need to Know

Food is delicious and we are hooked.  Multiple television networks run 24/7 food programming, countless movies are about food and social media is filled with food content. Searching #food on Instagram brings up more than 200 million pictures posted by users in the app. As new generation of eaters begins to saturate the market, consumer food trends are changing. These trends become noticeable at a macro-level, and farmers need to be aware of them. Read on to learn five new trends in consumer tastes that may have a big influence on your farm, what you distribute and how you reach […]

What the heck is the internet of things?

What the heck is the internet of things? Imagine innovation that helps prevent machine breakdown and keep farmers safe. As an insurance company insuring the agribusiness industry, we like the sound of that. Thanks to Iowa Farmer Today, we can gleam a little insight into what the Internet of Things (IoT) is and how it impacts farms across the country. So, what is it? Think connected devices.  You may have seen the Samsung commercial where a family is buying groceries at the store but forgot their list!  With Samsung, you can wirelessly pull up real time photos inside your fridge […]

How to control your workers’ compensation experience modifications

Experience modifications rating factors (EMRs) are premium adjustments that modify your premium positively or negatively based on your own loss experience. Rating bureaus calculate a modification applied to a premium based on the information reported by the insurance company. This information consists of payroll and loss information for the past three full years.

4 Ways Technology Drives Growth on the Modern Farm

Emerging national trends are forcing farmers to rethink processes and increasingly look to technology for solutions. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recently put a focus on the role of agricultural technologies to meet these challenges in their report, Food Security in a World Headed Toward Natural Resource Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Technologies.

3 Ways the 2013 Farm Bill Will Affect You

With the Farm Bill narrowly passing through the house recently, it’s important to understand how some provisions may affect you and your community. Typically conservative, both The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers union, urged lawmakers to vote against the bill. However, the legislation passed 216 to 208, and here are our 3 key takeaways from the newly passed bill: 1. Food Stamps and Local Food Banks The most widely discussed and debated piece of the legislation revolved around the absence of any mention of food stamps. Historically, the farm bill covered budgeting for the above topic. This absence […]

High-Tech Spotlight: Wearable Technology and Google Glass on the Farm

Farming is an industry that embraces opportunities for advancement. While some basic agricultural principles and techniques date back hundreds (even thousands) of years, farmers are known to be among the early adopters of technology, continuously introducing new tools and methodologies that will improve efficiencies, increase outputs, and ensure the safety of workers and the environment. From state-of-the-art irrigation systems and planting breeding, to mapping of crops and land via global positioning systems (GPS), farmers have a long history of innovation through technology and practices. So what’s next? Well, based on recent industry and technology features, it appears wearable technology will be one of the next breakthrough technologies on the […]

Ditch the Dirt!

When people think of farming there are a few necessary key components. Traditionally, when thinking of farming you think of nutrient rich ground to grow your crops, right? Now, take a step away from what we know as traditional and open your eyes to the innovative way of farming referred to as “vertical farming.” Although this is a new concept in our minds, the actual innovators, the Babylon’s, created it in 600 BC. Known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were used as a romantic gesture from King Nebuchadnezzar II to his wife, Amytis, to remind her of the place in […]