Ag education program targets urban users
Consumers are becoming more involved in food choices and urban gardening.
Farmer’s markets number more than 8,100 nationwide, nearly doubling over the past five years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Community leaders and existing business owners in the Omaha area are seeing increased need for agricultural education opportunities which target aspiring entrepreneurs who are starting their own urban ag enterprises.
To meet that demand for knowledge and hands-on learning in local food production, three partnering entities unveiled a new program Thursday against the backdrop of the Omaha Home for Boys Cooper Memorial Farm.
There, aspiring agricultural entrepreneurs and urban participants can become successful in careers of local food production through the Urban Agricultural Education program established by the Omaha Home for Boys, University of Nebraska Extension, and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA).
“The three partners bring a breadth of resources to the Omaha area to meet the needs of the entire agricultural community,” said Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.
Formal and informal educational activities begin with academic courses starting Jan. 3 at the Douglas-Sarpy County Extension Office, and Jan. 17 at the Omaha Home for Boys woodshop at OHB’s main campus, Inspiration Hill.
Courses will be delivered by Nebraska Extension and NCTA to participants ranging from high school ages to adults.
The Spring semester courses in agricultural entrepreneurship and agricultural-residential carpentry are small-scale examples of a larger, longer-term academic model used at NCTA and Nebraska Extension, Rosati said.
“These applied courses are designed to help practitioners achieve farm ownership,” Rosati noted. “They are modeled after current partnership programs such as the 100 Beef Cow Ownership Advantage, offered by NCTA and Nebraska Extension since 2007.”
The Omaha program targets youth, 4-H members, college students and the greater Omaha area of individuals in various stages of their careers and business aspirations, said Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension.
“Urban agriculture education is a key part of Nebraska Extension programming in Douglas and Sarpy Counties,” Hibberd said. “Our extension educators across the state, and in the Omaha area, have extensive expertise in farm management, horticulture, farmers markets, livestock management and overall food production. We are excited to be a partner with the Omaha community.”
High school age students associated with the Omaha Home for Boys day program may be some of the first participants, said Jeff Moran, president and CEO.
Spring courses can be coupled with summer sessions or fall semester courses too, perhaps preparing students to grow produce to be sold locally at farmers markets in the Omaha area, or giving them experience in livestock projects for the county fair in 2015 through Extension’s 4-H youth program.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with Nebraska Extension and NCTA to provide this programming to greater Omaha through the Omaha Home for Boys,” Moran said. “The urban agriculture program provides economic development and production of healthy foods for our local families and businesses.”
In addition to program participants, urban consumers can also gain an understanding and appreciation of larger-scale food production, the business complexities, operating costs, and regulatory aspects for food production and marketing, Rosati noted.
The courses will meet on Saturdays for 4 months. Classes can be taken as non-credit or for three college credits. Financial assistance will be available for tuition.
For course schedules and registration, see Urban Agriculture in Omaha at http://ncta.unl.edu or call 1-800-3CURTIS.
Soy to the World - Biodiesel Makes a Splash in the Big Apple
As you can imagine, a lot goes into powering the city that never sleeps. Whether it’s helping to fuel America’s largest city fleet, clearing snow off the runway at JFK in the dead of winter, or heating countless homes and buildings, biodiesel and Bioheat play an integral role in bringing the Big Apple to life.
Representatives from the Nebraska Soybean Board recently joined more than 30 farmer-leaders, as well as other representatives from the United Soybean Board (USB) and eleven other state soybean boards in New York City to see how biodiesel and Bioheat are being used to help clean up the city’s energy portfolio.
What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is America’s first advanced biofuel. Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning replacement for traditional diesel made from a diverse mix of feedstocks such as soybean oil, animal fats, and recycled cooking oil.
Keith Kerman, the chief fleet officer and deputy commissioner for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, said biodiesel and Bioheat have played key roles in helping the city meet its GHG reduction goal. “In 2013, we reduced our emissions by 9.3%, and we fully expect that number to be over 20% after this year,” Kerman said.
On the tour, the group learned that Kerman has been a champion for biodiesel for many years. In his current role, he manages the largest city fleet in the country – more than 26,000 vehicles, 10,000 of which are diesel. Kerman said the city runs biodiesel all year round in its diesel vehicles and they don’t see any problems. “I would love to increase the blend rate. We don’t see any issues in regards to performance in the vehicles. Our biggest issue comes from how we manage storage in some of the older tanks.”
The group also met with the Department of Sanitation, another major user of biodiesel. Rocco Dirico, the deputy commissioner for the Bureau of Support Services, said he manages more than 5,500 vehicles in this fleet. Dirico said they run a B20 blend in the warm months and a B5 blend in the cold months and haven’t seen any problems. “You guys can spread the word that I said we use this fuel and everything’s fine. We don’t have any issues,” Dirico said. In typical New York fashion, Dirico doesn’t like to mince words on something he’s passionate about. To put things in perspective, the department uses roughly 9 million gallons of diesel fuel per year. At an average blend rate of 12.5%, the department burns more than 1.1 million gallons of B100 per year. That’s a lot of biodiesel!
What is Bioheat?
Bioheat is traditional home heating oil blended with biodiesel. By 2015, all buildings in New York City that use heating oil will be required to use a B5 blend of Bioheat, meaning that it contains 5% pure biodiesel. The current market for home heating oil is 4 billion gallons annually. After the implementation of the B5 in 2015, Bioheat alone will utilize 50 million gallons of pure biodiesel.
New York City has led the way in embracing alternative fuels such as biodiesel and Bioheat. In 2007, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his Plan NYC, which brought 25 city agencies together to help tackle some of the toughest issues facing New York City in the years to come. As a part of this visionary plan, Mayor Bloomberg called for a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2017.
Steven Levy, Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board, said Bioheat and biodiesel goes a long way in helping New Yorkers. “Bioheat and biodiesel are very important to New York for many different reasons. The people in New York want to be greener, more sustainable, and want to do the right thing for the country relating to energy dependence,” Levy said. “The legislators, both the City Council in New York and both the former and current mayor, have also stated their objective to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. These city leaders have taken steps to reach this goal, including the major, immediate step to start using Bioheat and biodiesel. Our goal is to have using Bioheat and biodiesel become second nature to the people of New York and folks all across the country. We want to send the message that there is a substitute for petroleum products and that we can afford our children, and our children’s children, a cleaner environment.”
The Nebraska Soybean Board has been major funders of biodiesel and Bioheat education and outreach on the East Coast, and the investment seems to be paying off. Victor Bohuslavsky, the executive director of the Nebraska Soybean Board, said “New York City is one of the largest markets for using biodiesel year round. Bioheat also gives us a large market for wintertime use that we don’t see in the Midwest and farming sector. It’s very satisfying to see their enthusiasm for using alternative fuels such as biodiesel and their commitment to improving our environment and air quality in the long term.”
Interested in Learning more about the Soybean Checkoff? Come See for Yourself this Year!
It's no secret that our international customers play a big role in determining the price of our soybeans. In fact, studies suggest that one out of every four rows of soybeans in Nebraska will be shipped to China or the Pacific Rim. Have you ever wondered how they get there?
The Nebraska Soybean Board recently funded the eleventh year of its "See for Yourself" program. The See for Yourself program is designed to give Nebraska soybean farmers the opportunity to learn more about their checkoff. Farmers selected to take part in the program will attend checkoff-sponsored activities in an attempt to gain a better understanding of how their checkoff dollars are being invested to build demand and increase profitability.
See for Yourself is designed to include opportunities to attend state, national and international activities. The in-state program gives farmers the chance to attend functions in Nebraska that are vital to the continued success of the soybean industry. The national program includes attending meetings sponsored by the United Soybean Board, United States Meat Export Federation, National Biodiesel Board, United States Soybean Export Council, Untied States Poultry and Egg Export Council, as well as many other important national meetings and activities. The international program is designed to show soybean farmers first-hand what the checkoff is doing to build global demand.
Join the program!
This year's international tour will take a group of soybean farmers to the Pacific Northwest to learn about the logistics of meeting our customers' needs. For more information, or to apply for this year's trip, please visit http://www.nebraskasoybeans.org/producer-resources/see-for-yourself.
USDA Releases APH Yield Exclusion Resources to Help Farmers Manage Risk
The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced program details related to a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Information made available today includes eligible crops, crop years, and counties where producers are eligible to exclude certain yields under the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion, a fact sheet, and a list of frequently asked questions.
The APH Yield Exclusion will be available in the actuarial documents beginning in the 2015 crop year for spring planted corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, barley, canola, sunflowers, peanuts, and popcorn. It will allow eligible producers who have been hit with severe weather to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.
“APH Yield Exclusion will provide additional options to producers who have suffered from devastating natural disasters,” said RMA Administrator Brandon Willis. “The resources made available today will help eligible producers get the most benefit out of the new protections created in the 2014 Farm Bill.”
Under the new Farm Bill program, yields can be excluded from farm actual production history when the actuarial documents provide that the county average yield for that crop year is at least 50 percent below the 10 previous consecutive crop years’ average yield.
The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers to exclude yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occur) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. The amount of insurance available to a farmer is based on the farmer's average historical yields. In the past, a year of particularly low yields that occurred due to severe weather beyond the farmer's control would reduce the amount of insurance available to the farmer in future years. By excluding unusually bad years, farmers will not have to worry that a natural disaster will reduce their amount of insurance for years to come.
Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. Producers should contact a local crop insurance agent for more information about the program or visit www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/farmbill/index.html. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers or on the RMA website at www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents/.
Senate Agriculture and Appropriations Committee Members Announced
The Senate announced their 114th Congress committee memberships this week. Committee assignments for the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry and the Senate Appropriations Committee include:
Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry
Pat Roberts, Kansas, Chairman
Thad Cochran, Mississippi
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
John Boozman, Arkansas
John Hoeven, North Dakota
David Perdue, Georgia
Joni Ernst, Iowa
Thom Tillis, North Carolina
Ben Sasse, Nebraska
Chuck Grassley, Iowa
John Thune, South Dakota
Debbie Stabenow, Michigan, Ranking
Patrick Leahy, Vermont
Sherrod Brown, Ohio
Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
Michael Bennet, Colorado
Kirsten Gillibrand, New York
Joe Donnelly, Indiana
Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota
Bob Casey, Pennsylvania
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Thad Cochran, Mississippi, Chairman
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
Richard Shelby, Alabama
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
Susan Collins, Maine
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
Mark Kirk, Illinois
Roy Blunt, Missouri
Jerry Moran, Kansas
John Hoeven, North Dakota
John Boozman, Arkansas
Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
Bill Cassidy, Louisiana
James Lankford, Oklahoma
Steve Daines, Montana
Barbara Mikulski, Maryland, Ranking
Patrick Leahy, Vermont
Patty Murray, Washington
Diane Feinstein, California
Richard Durbin, Illinois
Jack Reed, Rhode Island
Jon Tester, Montana
Tom Udall, New Mexico
Jeane Shaheen, New Hampshire
Jeff Merkley, Oregon
Chris Coons, Delaware
Brian Schatz, Hawaii
Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin
Chris Murphy, Connecticut
Iowa Farmland Values Fall from Historic High
Average Iowa farmland value is now estimated to be $7,943 per acre—a drop in value of $773, or 8.9 percent, per acre. Land values were determined by the Iowa Land Value Survey, which was conducted in November by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. Results from the survey are similar to results found by the Realtors Land Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
As farmland values do not rise or fall uniformly across the state, the survey examines values by crop reporting districts; each of the 99 counties individually; low, medium and high grade farmland; and also averages the state as a whole. The $7,943 per acre and 8.9 percent drop in value represent the state as a whole.
While this year marks the largest decline in farmland values since 1986, it is only the second year since 1999 that the survey has shown a decline in farmland values. After hitting a historic peak in 2013, values have returned to a mid-point between 2011 and 2012 values. In spite of the decrease, farmland values are more than double what they were 10 years ago, 81 percent higher than 2009 values, and 18 percent higher than 2011 values.
“I think we have seen a peak for the time being,” said Michael Duffy, a retired ISU economics professor and extension farm management economist, who conducted this year’s survey. “Commodity prices and farm income are settling back to more expected levels, and I think land values will probably move sideways for a while,” he said. “Many people think this report indicates the beginning of another farm crisis, but land values are still considerably higher than they were just a few years ago.”
Drop in commodity prices influences farmland values
Corn and soybean prices started falling in 2013, and as a result farm income dropped. The most recent USDA net farm income estimate showed a record high income in 2013, but a 23 percent drop in net farm income for 2014. Falling commodity prices, along with a drop in farmland value, could make problems for some farmers.
“The drop in farmland value is due to the drop in commodity prices,” Duffy said. “Pressure could come if farmers incurred debt in anticipation that commodity prices would continue. I think all farmers will have a cash flow problem for the next 18 months or so. If farmers still have equity in their land they should be able to refinance, but farmers who got over-extended will be in trouble.”
Of respondents that listed positive and/or negative factors influencing farmland values, low interest rates were the most commonly cited positive factor, and lower commodity prices were the most frequently cited negative factor. Other negative factors mentioned included high input prices and an uncertain agricultural future.
The survey was initiated in 1941 and is sponsored annually by Iowa State University. Only the state average and the district averages are based directly on the ISU survey data. The county estimates are derived using a procedure that combines the ISU survey results with data from the US Census of Agriculture. Beginning this year the survey is being conducted by the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Economics Department at Iowa State University.
The survey is based on reports by licensed real estate brokers and selected individuals considered to be knowledgeable of land market conditions. Respondents were asked to report for more than one county if they were knowledgeable about the land markets. The 2014 survey is based on 428 usable responses providing 608 county land values estimates.
For additional resources, including maps and historical survey data, please see http://www.card.iastate.edu/land-value/2014/.
Iowa Farmers Are Concerned about Pesticide Resistance
Many Iowa farmers believe they have identified pesticide resistance on the land they farm, and most are concerned that herbicide-resistant weeds and pesticide-resistant insects will become a problem, according to a new report from the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll.
“Farmers understand that the way they use pest management technologies has a major impact on the rate of resistance development. However, they also view resistance management as a community problem involving multiple stakeholders in the agricultural sector,” said J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr., a sociologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Arbuckle co-directs the annual poll with Paul Lasley, also an ISU Extension and Outreach sociologist.
“Farmer Perspectives on Pesticide Resistance” (PM 3070) is available for free download from the ISU Extension and Outreach Online Store, https://store.extension.iastate.edu/, and the ISU Department of Sociology Extension and Outreach website, http://www.soc.iastate.edu/extension/ifrlp/about.html.
The data represent 889 farmers from the 2014 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll who planted corn and/or soybean in 2013. Data from the 2013 and 2012 Farm Poll surveys also are reported.
A ‘Treadmill’ of Resistance Evolution
“The results of the poll indicate most Iowa farmers view pest management as a treadmill cycle of resistance evolution,” said Arbuckle. “They feel that when new management technologies are introduced, it’s only a matter of time before pests evolve resistance.”
The report concludes that this “treadmill” perspective is concerning, because it implies that many farmers feel somewhat powerless to cope with the evolution of resistance. However, the report points out that the rate at which pests evolve resistance can be slowed significantly through widespread, coordinated pest management practices and strategies.
Who Is Responsible for Resistance Management?
The Farm Poll asked farmers to rate the level of responsibility that various stakeholders have for contributing to resistance management efforts. “Farmers reported that they are most responsible for resistance management. This makes sense, because farm-level strategies such as crop rotation, rotation of different types of pesticides, and other practices as part of integrated pest management programs are the foundation of effective landscape-scale resistance management strategies,” Arbuckle said.
“However, farmers also believe that other key stakeholders, such as pesticide manufacturers, university scientists and commercial pesticide applicators, share in the responsibility. This suggests they believe that pesticide resistance management should be a community effort among stakeholders,” Arbuckle said.
The survey also found that most farmers do not develop their own herbicide programs, and most use custom applicators to apply their herbicides. “Most farmers look to their agricultural retailers and crop advisers for guidance on weed and insect management,” Arbuckle noted. “These stakeholders have a critical role in helping farmers to implement effective resistance management strategies.”
“Pesticide resistance is becoming more common in Iowa. Now would be a good time for farmers and other stakeholders to get together to work on coordinated, collaborative resistance management approaches,” Arbuckle said.
Cold Weather Biosecurity Tips for Pig Trucks and Trailers
(from the National Pork Board)
Maintaining good biosecurity for pig trucks and trailers against diseases such as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) can be challenging at any time of year, but it’s particularly daunting when the thermometer drops below 32°F. However, Dr. Lisa Becton, director of swine health and information for the Pork Checkoff, says it’s not an insurmountable task if you follow a few key steps.
“Be sure to store disinfectants above 32°F and use additives to lower the freezing point of disinfectants such as adding 100 percent propylene glycol to them,” Becton says. “However, it’s important to note that for safety of pigs and people, regular antifreeze or ethylene glycol should not be used.”
Finally, you need to allow for sufficient dry time for disinfected trailers in areas that stay above freezing. And Becton says it’s important to thoroughly disinfect any equipment and facilities that may come in contact with a clean trailer.
For PEDV specifically, new disinfectant research shows that some specific protocols can greatly enhance your ability to inactivate the virus in trailers.
Taking biosecurity beyond disinfection is important when fighting a widespread disease such as PEDV. That’s why Becton also recommends that producers maintain a line of separation between ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ areas on a farm and any trailer that’s used to transport pigs.
“Maintaining good biosecurity is critical all year, but even more so with PEDV during the winter, since we know it prefers cold, damp conditions,” Becton adds. “Even though only sporadic cases of PEDV have been reported so far during the last few weeks of cold weather, now is a critical time to redouble your biosecurity efforts to help keep the number of cases low.”
Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company Of Iowa To Acquire John Deere Crop Insurance
Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa (FMH) today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire John Deere Insurance Company and John Deere Risk Protection, Inc.
Ron Rutledge, FMH Chairman, President and CEO, commented, "I am very excited at the potential the combination of FMH and John Deere crop insurance creates. In addition to the advantages that greater scale and diversity bring, our similar company cultures focused around taking care of the customer means all of our policyholders will continue to enjoy the high level of service they've come to expect."
"We are confident that customers of John Deere crop insurance will be well served with this action," said Don Preusser, President of John Deere Insurance Company and John Deere Risk Protection, Inc. "Farmers Mutual Hail has provided tailored crop insurance packages to farmers for more than 120 years. We believe the success and long tenure of FMH speaks volumes about their dedication to customer service."
The transaction is subject to regulatory review and approval. Closing is expected in the first quarter of the 2015 calendar year. FMH was advised in this transaction by Conning as strategic advisor and NCP, Inc. as financial advisor. Faegre Baker Daniels LLP acted as legal counsel to FMH.
Firms File Class Action Suits against Syngenta on Behalf of Corn Farmers in Twenty States
Three law firms that played a major role in a recent $750 million settlement on behalf of U.S. rice farmers who suffered financially due to genetically modified rice seed have filed two class-action lawsuits on behalf of U.S. corn farmers now suffering similar economic losses from genetically modified corn.
The three firms filed their complaints on November 11 in federal court in St. Louis and Kansas City, Kan., and amended them today to include 20 states, making it the most comprehensive action taken on this issue to date. These 20 states represent 86 percent of the corn planted in the United States in 2014.
Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. of St. Louis, Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C. of Texas and Hare Wynn Newell & Newton of Birmingham, AL filed their class-action lawsuits accusing Switzerland-based Syngenta of causing economic harm to corn growers after the company marketed two genetically modified strains of corn - Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade – that have been outlawed in China. China, a major importer of U.S. corn, began refusing shipments of U.S. corn one year ago after a genetic trait found in Viptera - MIR162 - was detected in the shipments.
With the loss of the Chinese market, prices for U.S. corn have plummeted. Earlier this year, losses to corn growers and the industry due to the loss of the Chinese market were estimated to be from $1 billion to $2.9 billion. The corn growers' financial losses continue to grow, the lawsuits allege.
This new multi-state lawsuit further alleges that the company was aware of the potential damages from its actions but sold the seeds with MIR162 anyway.
States With 86 Percent of U.S. Corn Acreage Represented
The 20 states included in these latest MIR162 class action lawsuits account for approximately 86 percent of all corn acres in the United States. They are:
The three firms anticipate that they will be representing farmers from other corn-producing states in the near future.
Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Apply for the CME Group Beef Industry Scholarship
Friday, Dec. 19, marks the application deadline for the 2015-16 Beef Industry Scholarship, sponsored by the CME Group. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry.
The purpose of this program is to identify and encourage talented and thoughtful students who will emerge as industry leaders. Fields of study may include education, communications, production, research or other areas of study related to the beef industry.
Applicants must be a graduating high school senior or full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two-or four-year institution for the 2015-16 school year. Students applying for the scholarship are required to write a one-page letter expressing future career goals related to the beef industry, a 750-word essay describing an issue confronting the industry and solutions to manage the problem, as well as submit two letters of reference from current or former instructors or industry professionals.
The National Cattlemen’s Foundation will convene a panel of judges to review the applications and select the winners. Applications must be submitted online or by mail no later than midnight (MST) on Dec. 19, 2014. The winning recipients will be announced on Jan. 15, 2015.
For more information or to apply, visit: www.nationalcattlemensfoundation.org.
Korea: Corn Rebounds Strong; Contributes to U.S. Ag Export Record
A sharp rebound in U.S. corn exports to Korea helped power overall U.S. agricultural exports to that nation to $6.9 billion in fiscal year 2014, a new record. Including manufactured goods and services, Korea is the sixth largest U.S. trading partner internationally, just behind Germany and ahead of the United Kingdom and France.
Building on the established partnership, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Korean Feed Association hosted the fifth annual Feed Grains Trade Seminar in Seoul, South Korea, on Dec. 5. The seminar provided more than 160 buying officials, feed manufacturers, corn millers, traders and end-users the opportunity to improve their understanding of the U.S. supply and demand outlook for the coming year.
“U.S. agricultural exports, including corn, are one of the areas where the United States runs a big surplus with Korea,” said Manuel Sanchez, USGC manager of global trade and one of the major presenters at the conference. “Korean buyers are very price sensitive, and with a good harvest, U.S. corn is competitive. Reliability is also important, and the United States is the world’s most reliable supplier.”
Topics included the U.S. and global supply and demand perspective, information about U.S. ethanol, and discussion of freight costs, including barge and rail rates in the United States and relative advantages of ocean shipping from the U.S. Gulf and Pacific Northwest.
“Buyers don’t like surprises, and events like the Feed Grains Trade Seminar give us an opportunity to showcase U.S. reliability and transparency,” Sanchez said. “The competition is tougher every year. Our goal is to make U.S. coarse grains growers the partner of choice versus other producers around the world.”
AGCO announces updates to its machine management solution AgCommand
AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO) announced today several feature updates to its AgCommand® telemetry system, including key reports, mobile app enhancements and a new look and feel. AgCommand is a key product included in Fuse™ Technologies, AGCO's next generation approach to precision agriculture and precision machine management, enabling insights into the efficiency, performance and logistics of the entire farm operation and enabling key service offerings to ensure machine uptime.
AgCommand enhancements allow users to:
- Make timely and more informed fleet management decisions using the new Automatic Weekly Machine Status Report, consisting of a brief vehicle summary, graphical efficiency chart and service report.
- Identify optimal engine performance and standardize the fleet operation based on the updated Engine Performance Report which now shows more granular, single vehicle information.
- Enhance overall productivity with increased insights from the Vehicle History Report which now offers each individual vehicle's information on productivity, performance, maintenance history and cost analysis.
- Monitor overall fuel consumption, fuel per hour, fuel per area, and area per hour allowing customers to compare operator performance and adjust driving habits as needed for greater efficiency (as a new feature of AgCommand Standard Plus).
- Access AgCommand in Czech and Hungarian now in addition to the other 14 languages available.
Enhancements made to the AgCommand mobile app for iPad and iPhone include iOS 8 updates, and a new look and feel that makes app navigation easier and more intuitive.
The ability to roam between 3G and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) networks is an additional benefit expanding coverage so more customers and dealers can now use AgCommand over a broader stretch of land than before. This will be supported by new hardware released to the market in the first half of 2015.
Customers also have the option of an additional level of support provided by their dealer. With the machine owner's permission, AgCommand allows dealers to monitor their customers' fleets, and provide a significantly enhanced level of support and service.
"The new AgCommand updates will not only enable farmers to better utilize data collected from their equipment to make important decisions it will also give them the flexibility to include their local AGCO dealer in the process to gain greater insights on how they can increase productivity and reduce costs to capitalize return on investments," said Ben Studer, director of Product Management, Global Advanced Technology Solutions and Electronics Functional Group..
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