Search Site   
Current News Stories
Obituary - May 15, 2019
Views and opinions: Census shows plenty of military veterans who need our support
Views and opinions: Perdue needs to stand up for farmers, or simply step aside
Views and opinions: Are farmers losing patience with Trump?
Views and opinions: Now’s the time to catch poison ivy thistles and stop its growth
Views and opinions: Out boating? If you find the water brown – turn around
Views and opinions: Food processors need to be sure they’re supporting farms
Views and opinions: Book strives to accurately portray veterinary career
Views and opinions: Alzheimer’s may have a connection to ag, ‘rural’
Views and opinions: Enough is never enough in livestock scientific strides
Views and opinions: Mushroom-hunting sounds spontaneous – but it’s not
News Articles
Search News  
Buisness Briefs - March 6, 2019

NCGA corn grower champs share tips with regional farmers

BOURBON, Ind. — Randy Dowdy and David Hula spent two days in Bourbon teaching and sharing information about grain production with farmers from Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana.

The Next Level camps started by Dowdy are specifically geared toward producers who have found themselves wanting to learn how to obtain a greater level of grain production. While Dowdy and Hula share experiences of growing world-record 542-bushel corn and 170-bushel soybeans, return on investment is a central theme of the camps.

The Next Level Camp concept was started in 2017 with one group in Nebraska and is expanding into the Midwest in 2019 with a total of eight or more groups. Camps expand thinking about production, dealing with everything from planting through harvest on a specific and clear level. Dowdy and Hula openly share their experiences and what has worked and what has not.

If you would like more information, go to and fill out an interest form.

Test your seed in the bag in new, unbiased research program

WILLIAMSBURG, Ind. — As more seed companies pull out of third-party testing, Agricultural Research and Testing (ART), an independent seed research company out of Williamsburg, is offering a new way for farmers to obtain the unbiased seed data they need when choosing what to plant in their fields.

Called the Farmers’ Research Family, the program allows them to directly test the corn and soybean seed in their bags to ensure the product they purchase meets their quality expectations. Farmers gain reliable data by choosing the testing region for their seed from 16 locations throughout Indiana and Ohio: from Remington to Evansville, Ind., and from Delta to Chillicothe and Washington Court House, Ohio.

Farmers help control testing in the Farmers’ Research Family by providing 15 pounds of their seed of choice, with tags, to ART; choosing testing locations; and paying the entry fee that is the equivalent of a bag of seed corn ($300 for one corn hybrid and $250 for one bean variety, with multiple hybrid/variety discounts available). ART then plants, harvests and tests the seed, providing 11 data points of information to participants.

Prior to planting, farmers will receive warm germ, cold germ and accelerated aging data from tests by Indiana Crop Improvement. Stand counts and vigor ratings will be available after planting. After harvest, farmers will receive data on yield, moisture, test weight, stalk lodging, root lodging and general appearance/fall intactness.

The deadline to participate is March 20. Learn more by contacting Cody Handley at 765-238-2719 or

Illinois innovators receive grants for ag-related programs

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Groups striving to make innovative impacts on agriculture and rural America are receiving $150,000 in grants from Compeer Financial.

A total of 13 have been selected for grants where Compeer Financial serves as lead investor for a program that fills a known void for clients served by the cooperative. These programs spark a new project and inspire ideas and skills to shape current and future agriculturalists.

Applicants were referred to the program from a Compeer Financial team member. Illinois recipients are:

•Chicago Botanical Gardens, Farm on Ogden: $30,000 will be used build out a demonstration kitchen space and purchase a tilt kettle to provide cooking classes and locally grown fresh food and vegetables to urban residents.

•Colfax Restoration Project, Downtown Greenspace: $2,700 will provide landscaping, painted murals on buildings and other expenses related to displaying historical items and seating areas.

•Lexington FFA, Agriculture Program Revitalization: $7,500 for carpentry, metalwork, horticulture and aquaculture supplies for the Agriculture Department.

•Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, Farmers Market Expansion: $4,265 for advertising expenses and indoor facility rental for expanding Farmers Market and Winter Market.

•Warren-Henderson Farm Bureau, Expanding Youth Agricultural Education: $5,500 for resources for Ag in the Classroom lessons and events.

Iowa AgriTech Accelerator honored with economic award

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator is pleased to be the recipient of the Mid-America Economic Development Council's (Mid-America EDC) 2018 Entrepreneurial Award (Large Division).

Megan Vollstedt, executive director for The Accelerator, accepted the award at Mid-America EDC’s 2018 annual Competitiveness Conference & Site Selector Forum in Chicago.

The Accelerator has support from some of the largest and well-known ag-tech and ag-related companies in Iowa, including Corteva Agriscience, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co., Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp., John Deere, Peoples Co. and Sukup Manufacturing Co., in addition to more than 120 volunteer mentors.

The Accelerator is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Cultivation Corridor and is built upon the success of the Global Insurance Accelerator — 2017 recipient of the Mid-America EDC Entrepreneurial Award.

GEA delivers 10,000th liquid manure spreader to Iowa

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — GEA recently achieved a significant milestone in its company history by manufacturing its 10,000th liquid manure spreader tank. With a stainless steel reservoir capacity of 10,500 gallons, the EL48-8D 8800 is the biggest single reservoir model available on the market.

The unit was sold by GEA dealer Automated Waste Systems (AWS) LLC and delivered to PK Winter Farms, Inc. in Sheldon, Iowa. GEA’s liquid manure spreader product line includes eight models with capacities to suit all sizes of livestock farms and manure hauling businesses. The EL48-8D 8800 is GEA’s largest model.

Founded in 1957 in Wickham, Quebec, Canada, J. Houle & Fils, Inc. was acquired in April 2007 by WestfaliaSurge GmbH, an international leading manufacturer of milking equipment and a member of the GEA Group. Since 2015, the manure management product line is part of GEA’s milking and dairy farming product group.

Douglas Products creates new Plant Health Division

LIBERTY, Mo. — Douglas Products announced the formation of a new Plant Health Division following the addition of two companies known for innovation in biological plant nutrition and soil health.

Growth Products, based in White Plains, N.Y., joined Douglas Products on Oct. 19, and AgriEnergy Resources, based in Princeton, Ill., joined on Dec. 10. Growth Products produces and markets liquid nutrient and biological technologies serving the turf and ornamental, agriculture, arbor care and residential markets. AgriEnergy Resources specializes in the development and production of microbial and other soil fertility products for horticulture and row crops.

Growth Products and AgriEnergy Resources will continue to operate from their respective current headquarter locations.

AgGateway announces leadership, releases annual report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — AgGateway has announced its 2019 leadership, including the directors of its Strategic Board and Operational Management Board, and leaders of its councils and committees. Those names may be found at

The nonprofit organization fosters collaboration among its 200 member companies, and with global standards organizations and industry partners, to improve how agricultural information can be used to maximize efficiency and productivity.

AgGateway has also released its 2018 Annual Report, which summarizes recent achievements in streamlining how information moves through the supply chain. It may be found online at

In addition, AgGateway announced its Mid-Year Meeting will be held June 10-13 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, and its Annual Conference will be Nov. 4-6 at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans.

New round of Tennessee ag enterprise fund recipients

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Six more Tennessee businesses will now have the opportunity to grow and positively impact rural economies through grants provided by the Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF).

Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton and Economic and Community Development Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brooxie Carlton announced the fifth round of recipients of funding through the program. A product of the Governor’s Rural Task Force, the AEF supports job creation and economic growth by facilitating ag development. It provides assistance to new and expanding Tennessee agriculture, forestry and food businesses, particularly in rural counties.

New grant recipients and projects include:

•Clark Lumber, Macon County – expanding production capacity

•Fayette Packing, Fayette County – adding a processing room

•Lost State Distilling, Sullivan County – creating a new distilling business that will use locally produced grain

•Nash Family Creamery, Bedford County – adding a creamery

•Shop Springs Creamery, Wilson County – adding a creamery

•Waverly Wood, Humphreys County – adding a pine scragg mill to produce pine lumber for pallet manufacturers

Over $150K raised for Western Equipment Dealers foundations

CALGARY, Alberta — The Western Equipment Dealers Assoc. (WEDA) is thrilled to announce more than $150,000 was raised at its International Dealer Conference for WEDA's Foundations. Funds raised will go toward scholarships to support career and technical education programs for ag equipment technicians.

Recognizing critical labor shortages of properly trained dealership employees, the Canada Equipment Dealers Foundation (CEDF) and the Western Equipment Dealers Foundation (WEDF) were established as the arms-length charitable organizations of WEDA. Focusing on professional education and workforce development issues specific to the industry, they help to fund educational programs and services for agricultural, industrial and outdoor power equipment dealers across North America.

Since its inception in 2015, the WEDF has raised more than $110,000 through fundraising events and $70,000 has been spent on scholarships and other programs. The CEDF and WEDF goals are to build a $1 million endowment fund to ensure equipment dealers continue to have the people and skills to be successful.

For information on ways to give and participate, call John Schmeiser, WEDA CEO, at 403-250-7581.

Vets Plus acquires Merrick’s, serving production animal biz

MENOMONIE, Wis. — Vets Plus, Inc., a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of animal health and nutrition products, announced it has acquired Merrick’s Inc., maker of boluses, tablets, powders and electrolytes serving the production animal industry.

The new entity, known as Merrick’s Animal Health, LLC, acquired Merrick’s assets effective Dec. 14, 2018. It will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vets Plus, the Menomonie-based company founded in 1990 by Rajiv Lall. Vets Plus is an innovation leader in the global animal health industry, employing more than 200 people at its Menomonie campus.

Merrick’s Animal Health will continue to manufacture and sell its full line of products from its manufacturing plant in Wonewoc, Wis. Sales and customer service operations will remain at its Middleton office. All Merrick’s employees will stay with the new entity.

Raven Industries closes deal to acquire AgSync of Indiana

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Raven Industries announced it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of AgSync, Inc., headquartered in Wakarusa, Ind.

This acquisition will immediately align under the company’s Applied Technology division, a leading technology provider in the precision agriculture industry, and greatly enhance its Slingshot platform by delivering a seamless logistics solution for ag retailers, custom applicators and enterprise farms.

AgSync, established in 2008, has developed solutions for ag retailers, aerial applicators, forestry, seed companies and enterprise customers to overcome challenges related to managing large fleets, multiple locations, limited personnel and disconnected software systems in their operations. As AgSync has been a Raven Slingshot partner for several years, the acquisition will further integrate its capabilities into the platform and into the cabs of various application equipment.

Copperhead Agricultural Products acquires RK Products

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Two great agricultural companies are coming together to provide enhanced products for farmers. Copperhead Agricultural Products, based in Sioux Falls, will acquire RK Products, based in Moline, Ill., and founded by Phil Kester.

Since 2015, Copperhead Ag and RK Products have been working in partnership to expand the RK footprint so even more farmers can take advantage of their products. In 2018, after 20 years in the business, the Kester family made the tough choice to sell their company in order to focus on other areas.

Products that will be available under the RK line include the gauge wheel arm pivot kit and the closing wheel frame pivot kit. The kits upgrade pivot and wear points on the gauge wheel arm and closing wheel frame. These kits, now offered by Copperhead Ag, provide an improved design to those components while repairing previous wear and significantly reducing future wear, without compromise.

Young Farmers announce new name for 50th anniversary

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Hundreds of Hoosier young farmers traveled to Indianapolis in January for the annual Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) Young Farmer Conference. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of INFB’s program for young farmers.

Program leaders also announced an updated name at the conference, which puts a stronger focus on the important role agribusiness professionals play in the program. Now referred to as Young Farmers and Ag Professionals, INFB’s grassroots leadership program is for members under 40 years of age.

As the landscape of agriculture continues to change, with fewer individuals directly involved in production agriculture and more in business roles that support agriculture, the new name symbolizes INFB’s focus on involving all young professionals in the industry.

Several INFB members and county young farmer programs were honored for their accomplishments in 2018. For the second year in a row, Spencer County Farm Bureau’s young farmer program was recognized with the Outstanding County Young Farmer Award, given to the top program in the state. Johnson and Fulton counties were runners-up.

Vanderburgh County Farm Bureau was recognized as the Most Improved Young Farmer Program this year. This is based on a comparison of activities of the past three years and how the activities and programs of that county’s young farmer program have improved.

Three county young farmer programs were recognized for contributions to Feeding America, a nonprofit with a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people. Kosciusko County Farm Bureau donated the most nonperishable food items, a total of 4,600 pounds, and Whitley County donated the most money, $300. Tippecanoe County donated the most time, at 102 hours.

Conference attendees also raised money for two other special causes, the Indiana 4-H Foundation and the FFA Foundation. The People’s Choice Award winner was new INFB Young Farmers and Ag Professionals Chair Jake Smoker from LaPorte County. A live auction and other fundraising activities raised the total funds donated to $4,343, for the agriculture youth organizations.

Grants awarded to strengthen state’s livestock sector

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) awarded more than $70,000 in matching grant funds to 13 projects designed to promote and grow the state’s livestock sector.

The grants were awarded to nonprofit organizations, commissions and associations, which were eligible to receive a 50 percent match by the state. The funding can be used for either promotional or market development purposes, and projects were selected based on those that had the greatest impact on Indiana agriculture.

Most of this year’s projects will be used to conduct events and conferences, educational programs and industry studies. The following list includes the organizations that received funding for the 2019 grant cycle and their purpose:

Franklin County 4-H Assoc.: Franklin County Open Breeding and Market Sheep Show, $2,300

Illinois Indiana Bison Assoc.: 2019 IIBA Spring Educational Conference, $3,000

Indiana Beef Cattle Assoc.: Hoosier Beef Congress, $5,000

Indiana Forage Council, Inc.: Heart of America Grazing Conference, $7,600

The Indiana Junior Hereford Assoc.: The IJHA Preview Show, $750

Indiana Milk Quality Professionals, Inc.: Indiana Milk Quality Conference, $5,750

Indiana Milking Shorthorn Society: American Milking Shorthorn National Convention, $9,400

Indiana Pork Producers Assoc.: Data Collection Study, $15,000

Indiana State Board of Animal Health: Tag Trade IN Program, $10,100

Indiana State Fair Foundation, Inc.: Celebration of Champions, $5,000

Maconaquah FFA: Project “Get your GOAT” (Goal Oriented and Analytical Thinkers), $3,000

Maconaquah Middle School: Maconaquah Cattle Co. $2,500

North Putnam Dollars for Scholars: Putnam County Farm to Fork Dinner, $1,400

For more information about ISDA’s livestock promotion and market development grants, visit

Farmers have cost-share opportunity for certification program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee farmers looking to expand their markets and increase food safety by becoming good agricultural practices (GAP) certified now have the opportunity to receive financial assistance from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA).

GAP certification allows producers to sell directly to more businesses and institutions with stringent food safety requirements, such as grocery stores or hospitals. These new opportunities allow producers to increase their income, and the certification helps to ensure food is safe and wholesome for specialty crops throughout Tennessee.

The application period closes August 31. Qualified producers will have the opportunity to offset the cost of a GAP Certification inspection by being reimbursed 75 percent of the inspection cost up to $750. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis. Grant funds are available to producers only; warehouses and distributors may not apply.

Find more information and the application at or by emailing Grant Pulse at