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Best of NAMA 2020

George E. Baird, IV, AFM, Collierville, TN, co-founder of Baird and Brunson Land Management Group, is named Professional Farm Manager of the Year, an award that has been sponsored by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA), Syngenta, and AgProfessional magazine for 20 years.

Baird and his partner, Steve Brunson, currently manage approximately 40,000 acres in the Mississippi River Delta Region for over 70 clients, offering them professional farm management and real estate services. In the last three years, their business, which they founded in 2001, has more than doubled.
Brent Rockers, Syngenta Mktg Mgr, presented the award on behalf of the company.

eMerge Interactive, Inc., Sebastian, FL, announces it has filed for voluntary protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the federal bankruptcy court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach division.

eMerge also announces it and PRIME BioSolutions, LLC have mutually agreed to terminate the previously announced merger agreement between them because adequate financing on acceptable terms was not available.

eMerge also announces, in contemplation of the bankruptcy filing, it and The Biegert Family Irrevocable Trust signed a non-binding letter of intent for the sale of the assets relating primarily to eMerge's CattleLog, or "Animal Information Solutions," business to the Biegert Trust. The Biegert Trust is eMerge's largest stockholder and beneficially owns approximately 18% of the outstanding shares of eMerge common stock.

NASDAQ announces it has delisted eMerge from the exchange.

Jim Hoyt is named VP Strategic Planning and Corporate Services for GROWMARK, Inc. He replaces Vern McGinnis who retired after 42 years of service to the GROWMARK System.

Hoyt is responsible for providing overall direction for the GROWMARK strategic planning process and for supervising and providing leadership to the directors of HR, Corp Comms & Mktg Svs, Gov't Affairs, and Flight Operations manager.

Previously, Hoyt served as GROWMARK's Exec Dir of Canadian Operations.

Iowa State University introduces a new seed science, technology and business management master's degree program that combines course content from the first year of an MBA with the science and technology topics that are most directly used in seed.

The material will be offered online and is available around the world to students and working professionals who have an interest in obtaining a master's degree to advance their career path and companies that are interested in ensuring their supply of future managers and leaders.

The curriculum is divided in three parts - science, technology and business.

Current plans are for the program to begin August 2007.

Agricore United and James Richardson International Limited (JRI) announce they have agreed to combine to create Canada's largest grain company and a leading global Canadian agri-business.

"The combined company, Richardson Agricore Limited, will be a true Canadian champion, with a broad mix of businesses across Canada and the scale, management expertise and financial strength to compete globally," said JRI Chairman, Hartley Richardson.

The combined organization will create:

Canada's largest grain company with annual grain shipments in excess of 14 million tonnes, and
an established presence in 50 countries.

A company with diversified earnings from grain handling, crop production services, livestock services, oilseed processing and financial services.

Combined assets strategically located throughout Canada, the U.S. and Japan.

Kyntec Ltd, Newbury, UK, and Doane Marketing Research, Inc., St. Louis, MO, have merged to create a new and innovative marketing business, dmrkynetec.

Dmrkynetec becomes the leading global specialist provider of information products and services to the crop protection, biotechnology and animal health industries.

Kyntec's Stephen Hearn is named the company's global CEO and Dennis Block, previously head of Doane Marketing Research is named CFO.

Titan International, Inc. announces the promotion of Cara Junkins to Dir of Sls and Mktg. Junkins will be located in Quincy, IL, at the Titan Wheel Corporation facility and will concentrate on Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) accounts.

Previously, Junkins was the firms' Tire Technology Mgr.

Kent Feeds, Inc., announces the creation of a new Pet Solutions unit for its pet foods business. Plans for the Pet Solutions unit include a larger portfolio of performance pet foods and an expanded sales structure with a focus on regional and national accounts.

John Howard is named to lead the units as its Dir. He joined Kent Feeds in 2006, assuming responsibility for pet product management and national accounts.

Bruce Read is promoted to VP Nutrition and Product Development. He has over 26 years experience working in the livestock industry, and began his career with Kent Feeds in 2000 as a DSM.

Land O'Lakes Purina Feed announces the appointment of Carol Kitchen as VP of Business to Business for the organization.

Her new responsibilities include managing several of Land O'Lakes Purina Feed's operations and international sales.

Kitchen was most recently director of Strategic Planning and International Development in Feed.

Case IH is establishing a company fleet of flex fuel Ford F150 pickups that will be fueled by the corn grown on America's farms. Not surprisingly, the color of the new E85-powered fleet is red

"Every day, every Case IH territory sales manager, technical manager and product specialist will be helping drive demand for the products our customers produce," says Bill Nygaard, Case IH Manager of Customer and Field Service in North America. "It sends a visible message that we're committed to our customers and to the agricultural industry."

Monsanto announces it will provide academic researchers and public institutions free access to its state-of-the-art cyst nematode marker technology. Scientists and soybean breeders are expected to use this technology to effectively develop new soybean varieties aimed at resisting cyst nematode.

Alcorn State University and Monsanto announce a partnership that will include other 1890 institutions to provide more opportunities for students interested in pursuing professions in agriculture. The partnership will also provide greater access for black farmers to the latest technologies and best on-farm practices in cotton and vegetables.

Monsanto will initially work with Alcorn State University to establish cotton and vegetable demonstrations with local black farmers in order to narrow the gap in technology adoption among black farmers. The demonstration plots will also provide a component for university student research, bolstering opportunities for students interested in agriculture careers.

Also, the discoverer of Roundup will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 1970 John Franz, Ph.D., discovered that a chemical, later named glyphosate, had the amazing ability to block the growth of vegetation. Because of his discovery, glyphosate soon became the active ingredient in Roundup herbicides.

This monumental discovery will be formally recognized on May 5, when Dr. Franz is inducted into the Hall where he will join other leaders of the agricultural industry, including Eli Whitney, John Deere, and George Washington Carver.

Eli Lilly Co's Dir of its newly formed Companion Animal Health Unit, Eric Graves, announces it has selected four national channel partners including Butler Animal Health Supply, Dublin, OH; MWI Veterinary Supply, Nampa, ID; Professional Veterinary Products, Ltd., Omaha, NB, and Webster Veterinary Supply, Inc., Sterling, MA.

Shawn McKee, Sls Mgr, announces the appointment of Tana Peterson as Sls Training and Operations Assoc. DSMs named are Mike Braswell, Doug Brooks and Theron Richards. Nat'l Acc't Reps are Cheri Howe, Elizabeth Rutishauser, Dennis Wine and Heather Stephens.

Cathy Martin, Mktg Mgr, announces James McDougall and Michele Rohrig join Chris Ready in product management and global marketing and planning posts.

Garst Seed provides free one-year leases for new Chevy 1500 Flex Fuel pickup trucks to 11 growers who were grand prize winners in its "Blue + Yellow = Green (BYG)" sweepstakes.

The BYG initiative highlights Garst's continued efforts to support growers and the biofuels industry. In addition to the 11 grand prizes, Garst awarded 110 first-place prizes of $100 ethanol certificates.

Growers registered for the prizes by contacting a Garst sales representative or by attending a Garst field day or other company event in 2006.

Allflex USA, Dallas, TX, promotes Scott Holt to Assoc Nat'l Sls Mgr. In his new role, Holt will provide additional sales, marketing and communications support to Allflex RSMs across the country. He will retain his role as Northwestern Reg'l Mgr.

Brian Rainey is promoted to electronic identification (EID) Prod Mktg Mgr where he will work with RSMs and customers to provide technical information and training on Allflex EID products. He will also assist in the R&D of EID products across all marketing and specie groups. He will retain his role as Western Reg'l Mgr for CA, AZ and NV.

DuPont Crop Protection reaches an agreement with Valent U.S.A. to access flumioxazin to create new combination herbicide products for soybeans, to be marketed under the DuPont brand.

With its patented blending technology, DuPont will use flumioxazin to complement current products to produce offerings that meet customer needs. When blended with DuPont sulfonylurea pre-emergence soybean products, flumioxazin will provide enhanced residual activity on key weeds, such as waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, black nightshade, common ragweed, annual grasses, and other glyphosate-tolerant weeds.

Pending registration, DuPont expects to have products in the market by spring 2008.

The National Council for Agricultural Education announces a new collaborative effort with Project Lead the Way Inc. to develop national student curriculum and teacher training course materials in agricultural science education.

The program of study will include a series of two foundation courses, four specialization courses and one capstone course, each comprising a full academic year.

FFA LifeKnowledge curriculum will also be embedded into the instructional design, and the program of study will incorporate academic alignment with the Curriculum of Agricultural Sciences Education model and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum modules. Each course will include a professional development program for the instructor.

An eastern Iowa banker reports a 230-acre tract of farmland with no commercial development potential was sold last month at auction for a record $6,010 per acre. The previous record price for similar land was two weeks ago at $5,350/acre.

The property, located in northern Clinton county, has a 92 Corn Suitability Rating (excellent) and lays "flat and black". The purchaser was a neighboring farmer.

Two months ago, Iowa State University issued its annual farmland value survey that reported an average value of $3,200/acre in the state. "The Clinton county sale, obviously, establishes a new benchmark for land values in the state," the banker said.

Farmland prices and rents are soaring as a result of the run up in crop prices due to the skyrocketing demand by biofuels for feedstocks.

Note: Since this news broke last month, reports have been received of Iowa farmland that was sold for $6,800 in the northwestern part of the state.

Global energy firm British Petroleum announces it has selected the University of California-Berkeley, in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to lead an unprecedented $500 million research effort to develop new sources of energy and reduce the impact of energy consumption on the environment.

The funding will create the Energy Biosciences Institute, which initially will focus its research on biotechnology to produce biofuels - that is, turning plants and plant materials, including corn, field waste, switchgrass and algae, into transportation fuels.

Millennium Research, Inc., Apple Valley, MN, hires two employees to its marketing research team. Kim Olsen, joins the group as a project director. Tyler Suter, is named research associate.

Agriliance opens its first California-based Service Center in Fresno, CA, where it will distribute crop nutrients, crop protection products and seed to retail and wholesale customers in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys. Agriliance has actively pursued business expansion in this region for the past several years.

"We're excited to expand into the California and western specialty markets," said Ron Maitoza, Reg'l Dir, Western Operations. "This new geography represents significant growth potential for Agriliance, and we look forward to positioning our products and services with area producers and dealers."

Westchester, Champaign, IL, announces its auction partner, Schrader, will now be marketed separately from Westchester Group, Inc. The firms specialize in marketing agricultural properties.

To reflect this change, Schrader/Westchester will now be known as Westchester Auctions, and Schrader will remain the main auction-day partner.

U.S. Bank's Food and Agribusiness division, Denver, CO, hires four new regional managers to oversee its new geographic regions.

Jamey Grafing manages the bank's Central Region and was previously Sr VP of the Farm Credit System's Commercial Finance Group.

Clay Jackson manages the Western Region and was previously Managing Dir of Fortis Capital's North American Group for Food, Beverage and Consumer Products. He also has worked for Rabobank and ABN AMRO.

John Ball manages the Eastern Region and was VP of U.S. Bank's Food and Agribusiness division. He also has worked as a relationship manager for Bank of America and Rabobank.

Eric Buckman manages the High Plains Region and has been a member of the U.S. Bank Food and Agribusiness team since 1993.

DuPont announces it is executing its $100 million reinvestment plan that was announced late last year to increase its speed-to-market for new seed products. The plan includes the addition of more than 400 positions, mainly in research and development in its wholly owned subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

The investment is the largest year-to-year increase in research in the 81-year history of Pioneer.

As part of the reinvestment plan Pioneer will be expanding R&D efforts at 67 of its 92 research centers worldwide. New positions will be filled by redeploying current employees from other DuPont businesses and outside hiring.

In preparation for this unprecedented launch of new products and technologies, DuPont is also adding positions to deliver more agronomic and sales support to customers and take advantage of new product lineups.

More than eight out of ten soybean, corn, wheat and cotton growers who use precision technology on their farming operations say that this factor has increased their profitability, according to preliminary research findings from an effort conducted by dmrkynetec, formerly Doane Marketing Research, Inc., in partnership with the PrecisionAg Institute.

The research, compiled from hundreds of grower interviews during the past three months, is designed to create a comprehensive benchmark of precision technology adoption among row crop growers in the U.S.

Additional preliminary findings also indicate the following:

The mean savings per acre ranged from $5.29 per acre to $9.44 per acre.

Growers who use more precision agriculture technology - in particular, those using global positioning systems (GPS), electronic controller-driven application (ECD) and yield monitors generally reported greater profitability.

Of those farmers not utilizing precision technology, respondents overwhelmingly cited start-up costs as their principle barrier to using the technology. A distant second was that the technology was "too complex."

BASF announces the new Secure Optimal Yield Scholarship program. The annual $5,000 scholarship will be sponsored by BASF and managed by ASA. The first award will be for the fall 2008 semester and will be announced in honor of Kip Cullers to recognize his excellence and outstanding yield results. Last year, Cullers set the world soybean yield record of 139 bushels,

"BASF is proud to join with the ASA to sponsor an annual scholarship for a deserving agricultural student. In the coming months more details on this scholarship will become available," said Andy Lee, Director, Business Operations, U.S. Crop Agricultural Products.

"It is great that BASF and ASA announced the 2008 scholarship in my honor," said Cullers. "I hope this scholarship will encourage others to get involved in agriculture and be more proactive to meet the world's increasing demand for

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