Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Industry News — August 2020

Stewart Named Director Of UT’s West Tennesse Ag Center

scott stewart
Scott Stewart

An entomologist well known to row crop producers throughout the South, Scott D. Stewart has been named the director of the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson, Tennessee. Stewart, who currently serves in Jackson as a University of Tennessee Extension specialist in integrated pest management and professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, will begin his appointment Oct. 1.

He is no stranger to the center, having worked there as a faculty member of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology since 2002. Beforre that, he served at Mississippi State University for seven years.

Stewart’s pedigree includes serving as author, co-author or presenter on hundreds of scientific papers as well as shepherding nine students through graduate school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Northern Iowa, a master’s degree in entomology from Texas A&M and his doctorate in entomology from Auburn University.

Among his best-known efforts has been as a leader in the development of the popular website and news blog, which together serve as a hub of historic and week-by-week information for crop producers in West Tennessee and the Mid-South.

“I’ll enjoy working with an even wider group of scientists and stakeholders in Tennessee,” Stewart says. “My plan is to leave things better than I found them. That’ll be a challenge, considering the current director has done an excellent job.”
Stewart will be the seventh director of the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center.

New Program Pays Growers For Climate-Smart Practices

Bayer will start rewarding farmers in the United States and Brazil for generating carbon credits by adopting climate-smart practices, such as no-till farming and the use of cover crops.

The goal of the company’s Carbon Initiative is to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint and field greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. The effort is the result of years of work validating a science-based approach and methodology, according to a company news release.

“If anyone has a vested interest in battling climate change, it’s farmers, and we are committed to developing new business models like this unique Carbon Initiative to help them in that fight,” Bayer Crop Science Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann said in the release.

Soil is one of the most effective ways of sequestering carbon. Offering farmers incentives to embrace no-till, precision nitrogen use or cover crops helps further sequester carbon in the soil, reduce fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gases.

The program’s 2020-21 season will include about 1,200 farmers in Brazil and the United States. In both countries, farmers will receive assistance in implementing climate-smart agricultural practices, and Bayer will acquire the carbon removal credits created by those practices at transparent prices. The company is also collaborating with partners such as Embrapa in Brazil to build a viable carbon market for farmers.

Bayer plans to expand the program in the United States and Brazil to other farmers and then later into other world regions with tailored approaches that will allow growers to choose what climate-smart practices and implementation works best for them.

Savannah Is Now The Top Port For U.S. Ag Exports

The Port of Savannah’s proximity to major producers, direct access via road and rail, broad global network and responsiveness to customer needs have made it the top port in the nation for the export of containerized agricultural goods.

“Agriculture is a major driver for Georgia’s economy, contributing $74 billion in annual economic benefit and nearly 400,000 jobs across the state,” says Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “As this country’s No. 1 port for the export of agricultural products,

Savannah provides vital support for the state and nation, helping our farmers reach overseas buyers efficiently.”

In 2019, agriculture accounted for 60% of Savannah’s exports, or more than 843,000 20-foot equivalent container units. Forest products such as wood pulp, paper and logs made up the largest category of goods, followed by clay, cotton and poultry.

During the pandemic, Georgia Ports Authority has focused on ensuring both chassis and empty containers are available to support the movement of export commodities. Through its association with the South Atlantic Chassis Pool II and the completion of a new on-terminal chassis yard, the Port of Savannah provides customers with access to the largest chassis pool in the Southeast. In addition, port authority’s team has focused on cargo owners and other contacts to ensure a reliable supply of containers.

The authority’s inland terminal, the Appala-chian Regional Port, has seen increased volumes and export commodities coming from Northwest Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. At the Port of Savannah, the port authority increased on-time performance of vessel operations to achieve its best performance in three years.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue, and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5% of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10% of all U.S. containerized exports in fiscal year 2017.
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AFBF Accepting Nominations For 2021 Farm Dog Of The Year

The American Farm Bureau Federation and Nestle Purina PetCare Co. are looking for the best farm dog in the country. Desired attributes for the Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year include helpfulness to the farmer and his/her family, playfulness and obedience.

The grand prize winner — Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year — will win a year’s worth of Purina dry dog food and $5,000 in prize money. The winner will be recognized at a Farm Dog of the Year award ceremony at the AFBF Convention in January. Up to four regional runners-up will win $1,000 each in prize money.

To apply for the 2021 Farm Dog of the Year contest, go to to complete the application. The deadline to enter is Aug. 20 at 4:59 p.m. CDT.

Be prepared to provide written responses to the questions below about your farm dog:

• How does he/she enrich your life and that of your family?

• How does he/she support you, the farmer, in doing your job?

• Does he/she interact with farm animals? Does he/she help to guide farm animals where they need to go or help in other ways?

• What non-farmwork activities do you and your dog do together for recreation?

Describe your commitment to responsible dog ownership (safety practices, current vaccinations, proper nutrition and care, etc.). List any awards your dog has received, and any special skills your dog has, or tricks he/she can perform.

Long-Time Texas A&M Leader, Entomologist Dies

perry adkisson
Perry Adkisson was a former chancellor of the Texas A&M University System — photo courtesy Texas A&M AgriLife

Perry Adkisson, the former leader of the Texas A&M University System and internationally known agricultural scientist in the area of entomology, has died.

Adkisson became a professor of entomology at Texas A&M in 1958 and went on to serve as the chancellor of the Texas A&M University System from 1986 to 1990 before retiring in 1994 as a distinguished professor. During his career at Texas A&M, he also served as deputy chancellor, vice president for agriculture and renewable resources, and head of the Department of Entomology.

“Texas A&M and Texas agriculture are eternally grateful for the contributions Dr. Adkisson made during his years of service,” says Patrick Stover, vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of

Texas A&M AgriLife Research. “His leadership and dedication will serve as an example for all faculty, current and future.”

Adkisson was an early pioneer in developing the concepts for integrated pest management through his research on control of the insect pests of cotton.

He led the development of highly successful integrated control programs for the boll weevil, bollworm and other key cotton pests and saw these programs implemented on millions of acres of Texas cotton. His most important work was toward preventing the spread of the boll weevil in the High Plains of Texas.

Adkisson received many awards, both national and international, and was a leader in many professional groups.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture and master’s degree in agronomy from the University of Arkansas. He earned a doctorate in entomology from Kansas State University in 1956 and did his postdoctoral work at Harvard University.

BASF Recognizes West Texas Farmer’s Ingenuity

joshua bell invention
Joshua Bell was inspired to solve the problem of his chemical tank blocking the tractor headlights at night.

No one knows how to think outside the box and create practical solutions better than a farmer.

Joshua Bell, a cotton grower from West Texas, did exactly that. He submitted his pioneering idea in response to an invitation from BASF for cotton growers to share their best on-farm innovations.

“I took the chemical tank and made a brace to mount on the tractor weight,” Bell says. “I think this could be advantageous to anyone who doesn’t have tanks for every tractor.”

The idea occurred to him when he realized the tank blocked the tractor headlights, making it difficult to work at night. Bell decided to use material he already had on the farm instead of changing the tractor lights.

In addition, the innovation gives him the ability to “grab and go” with a chemical tank — significantly decreasing the time needed to change tanks or using one specific tractor for a particular job.

Bell’s innovation enables him to work faster and more efficiently, allowing any tractor on his operation to apply chemicals with the field cultivator.

“In our business, efficiency is how you make money,” he says.

Bell grows FiberMax and Stoneville cottonseed as well as peanuts, corn and wheat. He also operates a custom harvesting and spraying business.

To enter the contest, growers had to submit a photo or description of an innovation they successfully implemented on their farm. Other submissions included implement modifications and small-scale test plots.

BASF sent Bell and his family a prize package containing a Traeger pellet grill, Yeti cooler and a beef grilling package. Additionally, BASF will recognize Bell in upcoming grower communications.

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