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ASSOCIATION NEWS
FarmHouse Fraternity names Chad Harris as its new Exec Dir. A former Iowa State FarmHouse chapter president, Harris currently serves as Dir of Campus Relations with the University of Wisconsin Alumni Association in Madison.

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) announces the launch of the Excellence in Management Initiative (EMI), a partnership between ARA, Purdue University and ABG.

EMI is a two-tiered program: 1) ARA Leadership Academy, a Purdue University, on-campus program; and 2) ARA Learning Hub, an ABG blended-learning solutions through online self-paced coursework and on-site sessions.

The curriculum for this session includes: Marketplace Trends; Financial Management; Sales and Marketing; Operations and Logistics; Personnel Management, and Strategic Management.

CropLife America names Donna Uchida as VP/Comms where she will lead the association's member communications and media relations. She joins CLA from Arysta LifeScience. Her background includes leadership positions with Oracle, Wells Fargo, Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co. and Ketchum Public Relations. She has also served on the faculty at three U.S. universities.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) announces a partnership with BASF on a project to educate growers about tools and techniques that are readily available to help them increase soybean yields.

"Research suggests the use of residual herbicides and fungicides can significantly boost soybean yields and net profits," said Jon Sweat, BASF Mkt Mgr. "Nevertheless, only about 10% of soybean growers actually employ these crop protection techniques."

Also, ASA announces a partnership with John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS), to launch the "Reach for the Stars" program that will provide U.S. soybean growers with opportunities to learn more about precision ag systems.

The program will also include three regional grower seminars during the summer, with three additional seminars during the winter of 2008.

Rob Horsch joins the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where he will find and fund the most promising means for helping the poorest of the world's poor the more than 700 million people who live on less than $1 a day, depend on small-scale farming and often are hungry. He had been Monsanto's VP/Int'l Development Partnerships, responsible for working with public and nonprofit entities to bring modern farm products and technologies to the developing world.

Raj Shah, the foundation's Dir of Agriculture and Financial Svs says, "What we really focus on are the scientific and technological breakthroughs that will save lives, end hunger, dramatically impact poverty and increase security." Much of that can be achieved, Shah says, through conventional strategies such as the use of improved hybrid seeds and fertilizers, educating farmers and increasing their access to markets.

The American Society of Agricultural Consultants launches a new Web site that "reflects the fresh approach we are taking to the industry," says Fred L. Hepler, AFM, AAC, president of the organization. The site is available at www.agconsultants.org.

In addition, it names Country Side Marketing, Menomonee Falls, WI, as the organization's new manager. Carroll Merry is Exec Dir.

The National FFA Organization, Indianapolis, IN, breaks ground for its new 36,000-square-foot Merchandise Center. This $10 million operation includes the merchandising, licensing and customer and distribution services departments.

Ford Motor Company becomes the first million dollar annual sponsor for FFA. The million dollar financial support will sponsor collegiate scholarships, the National FFA Agriscience Fair at the convention, and the Washington Leadership Conference program (WLC).

"This commitment builds on almost six decades of Ford support of the FFA," said Ben Poore, Ford Truck Group Mkg Mgr.

NAFB inducts Gene Ragan, Dothan, AL, and Harry Martin, deceased, into its Hall of Fame.

Seeing the need for better communications with farmers, Ragan lined up sponsors and created "The Ragan Report" and "The Gene Ragan Farm Show" selling them to the Dothan, AL, radio station in 1953. When WTVY-TV went on the air, Gene started a live Saturday evening show and "The Noon Farm Report with Gene Ragan" Monday through Friday. Ragan's television farm show served farms of the Dothan area for 41 years, which is believed to be the longest running TV farm program on a single station in the U.S.

Martin began his career with WLBC, Muncie, IN. In addition to news and announcing, he was assigned the station's farm programs. Following service in WWI, he joined WFBM in Indianapolis where he announced and did news, including seven years as an Indiana reporter for CBS news. He founded Rural Radio Network in 1972 and is a member of the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame.


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