Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday November 19 Ag News

2012 NC Cattlemen's College Offers Enticing Topics

The 2012 Nebraska Cattlemen’s College will showcase many great speakers this year and now is the time to register for the event. The college will be held at the Holiday Inn in Kearney, Nebraska on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 in conjunction with the Nebraska Cattlemen Annual Convention.

Cattlemen’s College is a short, intensive cattle producer program designed to address relevant issues and deliver information that will improve a producer’s operation.

The following topics will be discussed:
-    Cattle Market
-    Drought Management
-    Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency
-    Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
-    Managing Light-Weight Calves
-    Dealing with High Input Costs
-    Sustainability of the Beef Industry

The Cattlemen’s College will begin at 1:00 p.m. and conclude at 6:00 p.m. Thank you to Pfizer for sponsoring the Cattlemen’s College once again this year.

Registration is now open and will be accepted until December 5, 2010. The cost of the program will be $50 and all are invited to attend. More information about registration can be found on Nebraska Cattlemen’s website at or you can call the Lincoln office at 402.475.2333.  

UNL Extension, NCEA Present Annual Awards

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and the Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association presented annual awards to several UNL Extension faculty and staff.

Awards were presented at the two organizations' annual fall conference in Grand Island last month.

UNL Extension awards:

Distinguished Extension Specialist
            Since 1999, Tom Hunt has led development and delivery of extension materials and programs concerning soybean pest management and insect management, particularly with respect to transgenic corn and European corn borer. He is the lead author on 26 Extension circulars, NebGuides and NebFacts and has developed web-based and smart phone app decision – making tools.

            In addition, Tom has maintained an active research program.  He published 37 refereed journal articles, made 27 scientific presentations and obtained $4.5 million in grants. He currently advises five graduate students and has graduated three doctoral and 12 Master of Science students.

Chester I. Walters Extra Mile Award
            The importance of UNL Extension is often found in the ability of an educator to respond to natural catastrophes.  Last year, when the Missouri River flooded the countryside (over 210,000 acres), John Wilson rose to the occasion. He spent unheralded hours leading efforts which organized local, multi-state and national resources to assist stakeholders.

            Wilson co-led UNL and Iowa State specialists and field staff in efforts focusing on flood damage programming. He conducted two major webinars targeting producers and landowners. He spoke on the steps of Congress to House and Senate staffers regarding flood issues. While in Washington, D.C., he met with Nebraska-elected officials to help them better understand the issues. All of this he did while leading regular programming on soybean cyst nematodes, 4-H and crop production.

Distinguished Managerial Professional
            Erin Bauer, UNL Extension associate, splits her time between the Pesticide Safety Education Program and the Integrated Pest Management Program. She also is nearing completion of a distance master's degree in entomology, including serving as a TA for the "Insects in the Classroom" course.

            Bauer has made more than 15 invited presentations at national and regional conferences, authored or co-authored seven training manuals and 10 NebGuides, and was a key developer in the Pest Private Eye video game.

            Bauer once described this as her "dream job." Her nominators say:  "This attitude clearly shines through when you look at the quality of her programs. She is well liked by those with whom she works, takes pride in what she does and works hard every day to make sure our pesticide applicators receive the best education possible."

Excellence in Team Programming
            Career Explorer is an iPad app and website developed by the Extension Career Development team to help youth start on the right path to making smart life choices.

            In 2008, a $7,500 grant was awarded to UNL Extension to focus on career education.  As a result, the Career Development Focused Educator Team was formed.  The team led development of Connecting the Dots, a program where high school students can link with post-secondary options and potential employers.  Connecting the Dots workshops are now offered statewide. Based on the success of this program, the team went on to develop the Career Explorer website and app. Testimonials from users of the app state: "I've used this with my daughter looking at career options – very cool!"  "Great Resource!"  "This app just helped me choose my major!"

            In addition to statewide success, Career Explorer will also be awarded the 2012 NAE4-HA Interactive 4-H Educational Website National Award next week in Orlando, Fla.

            UNL Extension team members include: Kim Bearnes, Tracy Behnken, Heather Borck, Brian Bosshamer, Shane Potter, Tracy Pracheil, Dustin Renken, Barbara Scharf, Lila Tooker, Amy Topp, Dave Varner, Jane Armstrong and Jeff Abele.

Distinguished Educator
            Aaron Berger, UNL Extension educator based in Kimball, is co-coordinator of the High Plains Ranch Practicum, as well as curriculum director and instructor; a team co-coordinator for the UNL Beef website; team co-coordinator for the Extension Drought Management Team; team leader for Ranching for Profitability; co-authored six NebGuides; and was also recognized for his other accomplishments.

        Jenny Nixon, UNL Extension educator based in Sioux County, has been active in teaching in the area of entrepreneurship, working with an Extension team to produce curricula, adapt it for diverse audiences and formats, and present it to local, regional, statewide and national audiences. She also manages software for the Nebraska State 4-H Department. At the same time, with her location in the heart of cow country, she teaches and promotes range management topics. Some material on range plants that she has developed has been used abroad in Mongolia.

Extension New Employee
       Lisa Franzen-Castle, UNL Extension nutrition specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, is an action team leader for the Food, Nutrition and Health spire of UNL Extension. She initiated a statewide, web-based nutrition and health programming series, and coordinated the revision of a Nebraska-based food, nutrition and health curriculum with 25 lessons that will be turned into a digital publication and made available on line for other health professionals to purchase and use. She also repurposes materials into a variety of formats for use in publications, on-line newsletters, and news media.

Awards from NCEA, the professional organization for UNL Extension, were:

Outstanding Service by an Individual
            Jay Schroeder has been involved within the Extension Service in many roles. Schroeder has served as a Dodge County Extension board member for five years from 1994-1999. He also served as the East Central EPU NACEB representative. In working with the Farm Service Agency, Schroeder has been able to provide funding for 4-H member's livestock projects in the surrounding counties. One of the most time consuming and rewarding roles has been his involvement with the Fremont 4-H Fair. This fair is a combination of nine counties: Burt, Butler, Colfax, Cuming, Dodge, Douglas-Sarpy, Saunders and Washington. In 1991when the fair was struggling to survive and needed leadership, Schroeder became fair manager. This role came without pay and is a year-round commitment for Schroeder. The Fremont 4-H Fair provides another opportunity in addition to their county fair for 4-H'ers to showcase their talents through static exhibits, judging competitions, presentations, modeling and livestock shows. He also has expanded the college scholarships that are given to area youth through the Fremont 4-H Fair selection process.

Outstanding Service by a Group
            Nebraska is the beef epicenter of the United States and Nebraska Cattlemen are proud to be the voice of the Nebraska beef industry. The mission of the Nebraska Cattlemen is to work for Nebraska beef producers providing leadership, education and representation. Their mission reflects strongly the mission of UNL Extension which makes the partnership which has developed between the Nebraska Cattlemen and Nebraska Extension such a solid fit. The support provided comes to each of Nebraska's counties in a variety of ways: financial support allows for programming to happen across the state, local membership allows for support at many of the extension events that occur and sticking to the current efforts in providing a stronger more unified voice in the area of agriculture literacy, once again the Nebraska Cattlemen are right there to help advocate and educate. Jim Ramm, state president of Nebraska Cattlemen, accepted the award.

Outstanding Service to NCEA
            Amy Peterson, extension educator, Polk County, has been very involved with NCEA, NAEFCS and NAE4-HA since she joined extension in 1996. She has served as an active member and chair of many committees for all three organizations. She served at the state level as vice president and then president of NEAFCS and vice president of NEA4-HA. She was co-chair of a committee of the 2011 NAE4-HA conference held in Omaha. In the past decade, her dedication to NCEA has led her to serve as vice president of awards and recognition and central region director for NEAFCS. Peterson has represented Nebraska on the national level as the current president of the 2,000-plus members of NEAFCS. She has seen this group through some challenging issues with positive and optimistic focus on the future. Some of the many changes she has helped implement include overseeing the adoption of online award applications when that was a new idea, increasing mentoring and communication with affiliate presidents through technology and developing national impact reports for NEAFCS focusing on pertinent FCS issues.

Hoeven, Baucus Calling for Keystone XL Meeting

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven and Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus led a bipartisan group of 18 senators today in calling for a meeting with President Obama to urge action on the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

"The election is over, people want us to work together to create jobs, and one sure way we can create jobs right now is by moving forward with construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline," Baucus said. "We've spent more than four years producing studies and addressing environmental and property concerns -- there's no excuse to keep Keystone jobs on hold any longer."

"The Keystone XL pipeline represents not only thousands of jobs and growth for the nation's economy, but also a big step toward American energy independence," Hoeven said. "We can become energy independent in America within five to seven years, but we must commit to moving forward with important projects like the Keystone XL pipeline."

Earlier this week, the International Energy Agency predicted the United States is on track to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer in about five years and will become self-sufficient in energy production by 2035. The Keystone XL Pipeline would carry Montana and North Dakota oil from the Bakken and other oil-bearing formations.

The following Senators joined Baucus and Hoeven's letter: Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), David Vitter (R-La.), Jim Webb (D-VA), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio).


A broad based, statewide and strategic plan to reduce nutrients in Iowa’s waters and the Gulf of Mexico was unveiled for public comment today by Gov. Terry Branstad with the support of the Iowa Soybean Association.

The much-anticipated Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy proposes a first-of-its-kind framework for reducing nutrients loads discharged from the state’s largest wastewater treatment facilities in combination with targeted practices to reduce loads from non-point sources, including agriculture. The plan establishes a goal of at least a 45 percent reduction each in total riverine nitrogen and phosphorous loadings.

Mark Jackson, ISA president and farmer from Rose Hill, said the draft strategy is a science and technology-based approach that recognizes the diversity of the state’s topography and complexities of individual watersheds.        Rather than pursuing a costly, one-size-fits-all approach to improving water quality, it recognizes and seeks to duplicate on a larger scale effective, voluntary practices in conjunction with research, development and demonstration of new approaches.

“Every Iowan lives in a watershed,” says Jackson. “Therefore, any effort to improve water quality must be holistic, pragmatic and involve multiple stakeholders including agriculture, industry and municipalities. The plan unveiled today meets those criteria as we work together to make water quality improvements in Iowa and downstream to the Gulf of Mexico.”

The nutrient reduction strategy was prompted by a 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan that calls for 12 states along the Mississippi River to reduce nutrient loadings to the Gulf of Mexico. The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship and Department of Natural Resources worked with Iowa State University for more than two years to develop the strategy. Key to this work was the coordination of a scientific assessment to identify and model the effectiveness of specific practices at reducing Nitrogen and Phosphorous from reaching the Gulf. It also estimated the cost and cost-per-unit of nutrient removed when implementing each practice.

Jackson recognized the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University for creating the draft plan’s framework, one that emphasizes voluntary efforts to continue reductions in non-point source nutrient loading.

“An issue this complex and of this scale and scope require that those most knowledgeable take the lead in developing potential solutions,” he says. “The Iowa Soybean Association supports the work done thus far by Ag Secretary Bill Northey, DNR Director Chuck Gipp and Dr. John Lawrence of Iowa State University. Iowa’s soybean farmers look forward to playing a key role in developing the final plan.”

Following a 45-day comment period, operational plans will be developed to establish tactics to underpin the overall strategy. Participants in the initial framework say it remains a dynamic document that will change over time as new information, data and science is discovered and adopted.

Iowans can review the strategy and provide feedback through Jan. 4, 2013. To review the full report, access additional information and offer comments, go to

U.S. Farm Income May Hit New Record, Despite Drought

Farm and ranch income shriveled this summer during the worst drought in half a century, according to three Federal Reserve regional banks that oversee Farm Belt lending, with livestock producers hardest hit as pastures withered and feed prices soared. Even so, agricultural economists from the Fed banks say the farm sector could post record high income this year. High market prices and insurance indemnities will help compensate grain producers for drought-shortened crops, a buffer that livestock producers lack, they said on Friday.

According to numbers obtained by Reuters, the Federal Reserve's regional banks in Kansas City, Chicago and St. Louis said red-hot land prices climbed further despite the drought. In Nebraska, non-irrigated farm land values soared by 30 percent from a year earlier. Iowa's values were up 18 percent and Illinois' up 15 percent.

"A lot of farmers think the future of agriculture is promising and want to expand," said David Oppedahl, agricultural economist at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, who said crop farmers are flush with cash and, with interest rates low, see few alternatives to land for investment.

The farm sector has enjoyed boom times since 2006, when the world entered an era of tight supplies and high but volatile commodity prices.

In quarterly newsletters, the regional banks described the financial impact of drought on farmers. The Kansas City Fed cited a sharp decline in third-quarter farm incomes "as escalating feed and fuel prices pushed production costs higher," while the St Louis Fed said "farm income and capital spending were down significantly in the third quarter."

The Chicago Fed forecast higher feed costs will drive down cash earnings this fall and winter for dairy, cattle and hog producers from a year ago. Crop farmers, in contrast, may actually make more money, it said.

In August, the Agriculture Department forecast record farm-sector income this year, up 3 percent from 2011.

High market prices and crop insurance would offset the losses from "extreme heat and dryness in the Plains and Corn Belt," it said, even as livestock costs climb. USDA is scheduled to update its forecast on November 27.

Sector Representatives Elected to USMEF Executive Committee

Three new sector representatives have been elected to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) executive committee for three-year terms – one each from the beef/veal producing and feeding sector, the packing/processing sector and the purveying/trading sector.

The three new additions to the executive committee are:
• Mark Boyd, director of export sales for Porky Products, will represent the purveying/trading sector
• Mark Gustafson, vice president of international sales for JBS USA, will represent the packing/processing sector
• Kevin Kester, a fifth-generation rancher from Parkfield, Calif., will represent the beef/veal producing and feeding sector

Five at-large seats and one advisory seat on the executive committee remain to be filled by USMEF Chairman Steve Isaf.

“USMEF is fortunate to have so many outstanding candidates willing to serve, and these three new sector representatives bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the executive committee,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.

The USMEF executive committee consists of 21 members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing and feeding, pork producing and feeding, lamb producing and feeding, packing and processing, purveying and trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations, and supply and service organizations.    

US October 2012 Milk Production Slightly Lower than Last Year

Milk  production  in  the  23 major States  during October  totaled  15.2  billion pounds,  down  slightly  from October 2011. September  revised  production  at  14.7  billion  pounds,  was  down  0.6  percent  from  September  2011.  The  September revision represented a decrease of 19 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.  Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,791 pounds for October, 1 pound above October 2011.  The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.47 million head, 10,000 head less than October 2011, and 8,000 head less than September 2012.

Milk production  in  Iowa during October 2012  totaled 364 million pounds, up 5 million   pounds   from October 2011, according  to  the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production  report.  The average number of milk cows on hand during  the month, at 203,000 head, was up 4,000 head  from October 2011.  Production per cow averaged 1,795 pounds, down 10 pounds from October 2011.

CWT Assists with 7.2 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 25 requests for export assistance from Bongards, Dairy Farmers of America, Darigold, Foremost Farms, Michigan Milk Producers Association, United Dairymen of Arizona, and Upstate Niagara Cooperative/O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative to sell 2.784 million pounds (1,263 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 4.381 million pounds (1,987 metric tons) of butter, to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The product will be delivered November 2012 through May 2013.

In 2012, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in making export sales of Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Gouda cheese totaling 111.1 million pounds, butter totaling 71.1 million pounds, anhydrous milk fat totaling 127,868 pounds, and whole milk powder totaling 85,980 pounds. The product will be delivered to 36 countries on four continents. On a butterfat basis, the milk equivalent of these exports is 2.579 billion pounds, or the same as 69% of the increase in U.S. milk production through September 2012.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively impacts producer milk prices in the short-term by helping to maintain inventories of cheese and butter at desirable levels. In the long-term, CWT’s Export Assistance program helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the farm milk that produces them.

CWT will pay export bonuses to the bidders only when delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

October Hired Workers and Wage Rates Increase Over 5 Percent From a Year Ago

There were 906,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of July 8-14, 2012, up nearly 9 percent from the July 2011 reference week. Workers hired directly by farm operators numbered 872,000 for the reference week of October 7-13, 2012, up more than 5 percent from the October 2011 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $11.36 per hour during the July 2012 reference week, up nearly 4 percent from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $10.71 per hour, up more than 4 percent, while livestock workers earned $10.89 per hour compared with $10.29 a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $10.75 per hour, was up 47 cents from last year. The number of hours worked averaged 40.4 for hired workers during the reference week, down a little over 2 percent from July 2011.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $11.76 per hour during the October 2012 reference week, up over 5 percent from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $11.22 per hour, up over 6 percent from a year earlier. Livestock workers earned $10.83, up 16 cents. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $11.13 per hour, was up 56 cents from a year earlier. The number of hours worked averaged 41.5 for hired workers during the reference week, nearly the same as hours worked in October 2011

Chicken Drives Tyson 4Q Earnings Up

Tyson Foods Inc.'s (TSN) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 91% as the meat processor's chicken business returned to profitability, offsetting weakness at its beef and pork segments.

Tyson's earnings in the latest quarter and fiscal year show the company "is rising above the noise of commodity markets to produce solid, more consistent results," President and Chief Executive Donnie Smith said. "It has taken us several years and a lot of work to get to this point, and although there is much more to be done, I believe we have reached a new level of sustainable performance."

Tyson and other food companies have been challenged by rising feed costs stemming from a drought in the Midwest. The company also has faced weak demand for beef and pork products as consumers grapple with rising food costs and as a sluggish economy has shoppers keeping a close watch on their budgets. In the chicken sector, in addition to high grain costs, meatpackers such as Tyson also have grappled with an oversupplied market.

Tyson has been cutting its costs and debt, as well as striving to expand sales in emerging markets, in an effort to mitigate the impacts of the high commodities costs.

Mr. Smith said the recently started fiscal year "is likely to be equally if not more difficult."

For the quarter ended Sept. 29, Tyson reported a profit of $185 million, or 51 cents a share, up from $97 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items such as asset write-downs, earnings were 55 cents a share.

Revenue decreased 0.4% to $8.37 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently projected earnings of 44 cents a share on revenue of $8.48 billion.

Gross margin rose to 6.8% from 4.7%.

Tyson's chicken business swung to a profit of $116 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $82 million as sales rose 5.5% amid average price increases of 9.4%.

The company's beef segment saw its sales decline 2.4% as sales volume dropped 13%, contributing to a 0.9% decline in segment operating earnings. Pork segment sales declined 7.8% as average prices weakened by 12% contributing to a 40% decline in operating profit.

U.S. Hedge Fund Declares War on Agrium

Another large Canadian company is facing a battle in the boardroom, as the biggest shareholder of Agrium Inc. (AGU, AGU.T) attempts to replace almost half of the company's directors as part of a campaign to break up the business.

Jana Partners LLC, a New York hedge fund, is proposing a slate of five new directors for Agrium's 11-person board, including three corporate executives and a former Canadian agriculture minister.

The fifth nominee is Jana's founder, Barry Rosenstein.

Calgary-based Agrium owns a global network of facilities where it makes fertilizer, and also has a network of farm-products stores in Canada, the United States, Australia and South America.

For months, Jana has criticized Agrium for what it says are elevated expenses and poor use of capital, and has argued that shareholders would be better off if the farm stores were split into a separate company. Agrium has resisted that idea.

The prospect of a proxy fight raises the stakes, and to help its cause, Jana has also increased its stake in the company to 6% from 4%.

Agrium joins a growing list of big Canadian companies that have become targets of activist investors, shaking a sense of invulnerability in the boardrooms of the Canadian corporate establishment.

U.S. hedge fund manager Bill Ackman successfully took on Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP, CP.T), sparking an overhaul of the board and management. A Canadian hedge fund manager, Greg Boland, won a seat on the board of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MLFNF, MFI.T), while hardware seller Rona Inc. (RONAF, RON.T) is now embroiled in a proxy battle with an investor who wants to oust all its directors after they rebuffed a takeover offer from U.S. rivals Lowe's Cos. Inc. (LOW).

Jana has been steadily increasing the pressure on Agrium over recent months. First, the fund worked behind the scenes to rally support among large shareholders and analysts, before beginning a public offensive later in the summer. Mr. Rosenstein then made Agrium his topic last month at a presentation to the Value Investing Congress, a closely watched gathering where well-known investors present their best ideas.

In addition to criticisms of Agrium's structure and performance, Jana has sought to paint a picture of Agrium as unresponsive to shareholder concerns. The hedge fund has accused Agrium of trying to mislead investors about the value of the retail business by switching the companies it used as comparisons.

Mr. Rosenstein said he doesn't know how many shareholders will support his slate, but he is optimistic. "We're highly confident that a large and growing number of shareholders want the company to stop stonewalling and start addressing the issues we've raised," he said.

Agrium, for its part, has said it has examined the idea of splitting the company and found it wanting. The company has been given breathing room by a rising share price and a shareholder base that, Jana aside, has not been particularly vocal. After Mr. Rosenstein presented his case at the Value Investing Congress, Agrium chief executive officer Michael Wilson said there was "nothing new" in Jana's statements and that shareholders "will receive far greater value, with less risk, under the company's current strategy."

Since then, the fight between Jana and Agrium had largely gone quiet. Now, with a full-fledged proxy battle in the works, that is sure to change. Both sides will have to fight hard for support at Agrium's annual meeting, which usually takes place in May.

Jana's Mr. Rosenstein likely faces a tougher challenge at Agrium than Mr. Ackman and Mr. Boland faced at their targets. CP and Maple Leaf Foods were easy marks because they were clear underperformers on the stock market and the income statement, and there were many other shareholders ready for a change.

Agrium stock has generally been on the rise, gaining 26% in the past year even after a recent selloff in the wake of disappointing earnings. Because of that, Mr. Rosenstein must instead make a more nuanced case that Agrium has not been as successful as it could have been if the company's management and board oversight were sharper.

From a newly constituted board, Jana is seeking what it calls an "unbiased" review of Agrium's structure and Jana's idea of spinning off the retail business, as well as improved use of capital and better operational performance.

"We're still 100% confident the [retail] business should be separated from the wholesale business," Mr. Rosenstein said. "We're saying they need to start their analysis from scratch rather than seeking to justify their desired outcome."

Jana's board candidates include three executives from companies in the distribution business, addressing what Jana says is a lack of distribution and retail experience on the Agrium board.

All three have ties to companies that have been held up as comparable to Agrium. David Bullock was chief financial officer and chief operating officer of United Agri Products Inc., a farm-supply center operator that Agrium bought. Stephen Clark ran Brenntag AG (BNTGY, BNR.XE), a chemical distribution company. Mitchell Jacobson is chairman and largest shareholder of MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc. (MSM), an equipment distributor.

In a bid to connect more with farmers, Jana is also putting forward as a candidate Lyle Vanclief, who was Canada's agriculture minister for six years to 2003.

Depending on how things unfold, Jana could seek to replace more of the board. In the Canadian Pacific battle, Mr. Ackman originally sought to install only two directors, but ended up with seven after the fight became hostile.

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