Grains of Knowledge

Fertilizer Misapplication Mistakes Cost Dollars, Reputation

One of the top losses to agriculture businesses is the misapplication of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.  In a time of ever-higher food costs and growing demand, we cannot afford to lose our harvest to mistakes.  Every kernel counts.  Misapplication leads to reduced production, potentially lost jobs, and a ricochet effect on the economy.  via

Congress to Cut Spending on U.S. Farm Subsidies

On June 16, 2011, the House of Representatives approved a $125.5 billion agricultural spending bill that is designed to meet the requirements of the approved 2012 budget plan. The bill includes allocation of funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration and Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Top 9 Most Common Distracted Driving Behaviors

During 2010, SmartDrive Systems, a company specializing in fleet safety, examined distracted driving behaviors of commercial fleets by evaluating over 13.8 million recorded in-cab video events.  The business utilized in-vehicle recorders that followed over 34,466 commercial drivers and recorded risky vehicle manuevers such as sudden stops, swerves, collisions and other risky behaviors.  Using the video data, the business then determined that there were 9 common distractions that lead to drivers becoming engaged in a risky manuever.  via

U.S. Farm Policy and the 2012 Farm Bill

In 1933, President Roosevelt put forth the first comprehensive U.S. farm bill — the Agricultural Adjustment Act — that was designed to increase the value of agriculture commodities by paying farmers not to plant on a portion of their land. Since then, the farm policy has grown to include a variety of functions farmers have come to rely on, such as loans on sealed crops, government-control prices and a safety net of direct payments.

2011 Budget Cuts and Agricultural Impacts

Last week, President Obama signed a bill authorizing a $38.5 billion budget cut for the 2011 fiscal year, which ends in October. While these reductions are only a small portion of the government’s overall annual spending, the impact those cuts will have on various industries, including agriculture, could be significant.

The Joy of Soy!

A recent agribusiness publication highlighted the growing trend in U.S. exports of soybeans, and I needed to dig in and find out why and how this commodity transformed our industry. I was impressed to learn that the soybean export business represented a $16 billion value to the U.S., and the overall soy consumption has grown by more than 150% in the past 20 years. In addition, the outlook for soy remains very positive.

Tech-in-Ag: We’re Giving Away One More iPad!

How is your ag business using social media? How is your ag business using advanced analytics? Answer one of these questions with a video or photo/essay and you'll be entered to win an iPad! We gave away three iPads in February as part of our "Tech-in-Ag" campaign to find examples of how technology is changing the ag industry. We got some GREAT examples … and now we have one more iPad to give away in a random drawing of those who send us examples to answer the questions above.  Enter by March 25! Complete Rules and Entry Form

Our Final iPad Winner for “Tech-in-Ag” is Just Peachy!

Congratulations to Judy Justice of Dickey Farms in Musella, Georgia, winner of our third and final iPad drawing for our "Tech-in-Ag" campaign to find examples of how technology has changed the ag industry.   Judy submitted her story about "the sweetest peaches in the South":  "In the 1960s when a child could work in peaches as early as 10 years old, I rode a school bus with co-workers to a packinghouse to pack peaches.  The bus driver lady’s daughter and I stamped “baskets” as they came out of the hydro-cooler with the size and variety of peach.  Time forward and […]

USDA Releases Survey of On-Farm Renewable Energy

The USDA released the results of their first ever survey of on-farm energy production. Over 8,500 farm operations are producing their own renewable energy. The survey focused on wind turbines, solar panels and methane digesters. In total, 1,420 farms are using wind turbines, 7,968 use solar panels and 121 farms are using methane digesters. In my scan of the data, I did not see how many farms utilize more than one type of method for energy production. I was able to compare the methane digester number to the number of operating projects reporting by the EPA’s AgSTAR. They report 147 active farm scale projects, which is extremely close to the number reported by the USDA survey.