Some of the highlights and key topics discussed at the American Farm Bureau Federation 96th Annual Convention going on right now in San Diego, California.  Northern Ag Network's Lane Norland is onsite covering the convention and more than likely enjoying the break from all the snow!  We will continue update this page.  

Stallman: Farmers and Ranchers Still Optimistic Despite Washington’s Past Dysfunction

SAN DIEGO, January 11, 2015 – While America’s farmers and ranchers achieved notable victories on the farm bill and waterways infrastructure legislation in 2014, agriculture must push harder for important policy reforms in 2015, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.

Stallman said that time to act in 2015 will likely be shortened due to pressure created by the 2016 elections for Congress and the presidency.

  • Immigration reform, which must include a reliable and legal workforce for America’s farms and ranches;
  • A national, fact-based approach to food labeling, rather than patchwork regulation that only raises the price of food while doing nothing for food safety;
  • Tax rules that will encourage economic growth and multi-generational farming and;
  • Policies to continue growing our nation’s energy independence through the production of all forms of energy, including those that come from America’s farms and ranches.
  • And yes, he said, it was time for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to ditch the widely reviled Waters of the U.S. proposal, which would regulate land use under the guise of the Clean Water Act.

 

 

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Executives Predict Future of Agriculture at AFBF Annual Convention VIP Event

The American Farm Bureau Federation kicked off its 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show with a panel discussion for VIP attendees, “The Future of Agriculture,” featuring executives from Wal-Mart, DuPont Pioneer and CNH Industrial Precision Solutions & Telematics.

Following AFBF President Bob Stallman’s introduction of the panelists, Jerry Flint, vice president of regulatory and industry affairs, DuPont Pioneer, took the stage and gave a glimpse of the company’s future offerings. 

“What I see happening five to 15 years out is promising results in insect control, agronomic traits and soybeans,” Flint said. He added that DuPont anticipates tremendous growth in its soybean products and will continue to provide varieties like its high-oleic Plenish to meet the needs of the processing industry. “In our research pipeline we have transgenic approaches to drought tolerance to combine with AQUAmax,” he said.

 Trevor Mecham, director, CNH Industrial Precision Solutions & Telematics, NAFTA Region, said the company’s Case-IH division is already implementing precision tractor controls inspired by the auto industry and predicted further innovation in this area. 

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FDA: Voluntary compliance, not enforcement, key to food safety regulations

SAN DIEGO, January 11, 2015 – Working under tight court-mandated deadlines to finalize a series of Food Safety Modernization Act rules, Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner Mike Taylor said his agency is focusing on three broad themes in implementing the 2011 law: the farm-to-table approach, practical common standards, and holding imports to the same standards as domestically produced foods. Taylor was speaking to a group of farmers and ranchers from across the country during a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention. 

FSMA, Taylor said, codified the agency’s farm-to-table approach for food safety, which means everyone from farmers and ranchers, to transporters, food processors, retail outlets and consumers, we all have a role in food safety. 

In drafting rules that work for across a broad spectrum of farm type and regions, the agency is aiming to craft consistent standards applicable across the food system while ensuring those standards are workable for everyone. 

“It’s our job to be clear about expectations—practical expectations—and to work with the [regulated] community to achieve them,” Taylor said.  

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UAV Possibilities Continue to Fly Higher

 
SAN DIEGO, January 11, 2015 – Farmers and ranchers attending the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show got a better look at the benefits of unmanned aerial vehicles during a featured workshop presented by Kevin Price, executive vice president of applied research and technology development at AgPixel/RoboFlight Systems, LLC.  The combination of UAVs and multi-spectral image processing may be the next step in precision agriculture, giving farmers almost instant information on how their crops are doing with greater detail than ever before.  

“This will be a technology that changes the way we do agriculture,” Price said.

The concept behind this innovation is simple: the healthier a plant is, the more chlorophyll it produces; the more chlorophyll a plant has, the more green light it reflects. With multi-spectral images reading the amount of green light being reflected by crops and a specialized map (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), farmers will be able to get an image of their field with all of the trouble spots highlighted. 

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Field to Market Brings Farmers and Companies Together to Track and Promote Sustainability

SAN DIEGO, January 11, 2015 – Field to Market, the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, brings farmers, companies and agricultural organizations together to measure sustainability and help meet the needs of a booming global population. Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market, addressed attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention to discuss tools available to help farmers track their progress and choose best practices on their farms.

“Sustainability is about meeting the needs of today while improving the ability of future generations to meet the needs of tomorrow,” Snyder said.

Field to Market offers several resources to help farmers and companies achieve this goal and share that story more broadly. Their national report analyzes trends across several commodities, with a focus on efficiency and production, and their Fieldprint Calculator allows farmers to analyze specific fields to measure progress and to share that data with suppliers, should they so choose.

 

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Source:  American Farm Bureau Federation

Posted by Jami Howell

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