Commodity Classic breaks attendance record

Over 10,400 attendees — farmers as well as exhibitors, industry stakeholders and members of the media — gathered for the 2023 Commodity Classic March 9-11 in Orlando. 

The 2023 event broke the previous Commodity Classic record of 9,770 attendees, which was held in New Orleans in 2016.

“The excitement in Orlando was energizing,” said George Goblish, a Minnesota farmer, ASA member, and co-chair of the 2023 Commodity Classic. “We knew going into the event that registration was up 30% over last year, but to have a record-breaking show just blew us away.”

Kenny Hartman, an Illinois farmer, NCGA member, and fellow 2023 co-chair, said, “There’s nothing like connecting in person, and it just felt like everyone was so excited to come together again to see the best agriculture has to offer. I can’t wait to see everyone again at the 2024 Commodity Classic in Houston.” 

This year’s event featured more than 30 educational sessions, a sold-out trade show with over 400 exhibitors, a keynote address by U.S.… Continue reading

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Artificial intelligence and head scab

A new University of Illinois project is using advanced object recognition technology to keep toxin-contaminated wheat kernels out of the food supply and to help researchers make wheat more resistant to fusarium head blight, or scab disease, the crop’s top nemesis.   

“Fusarium head blight causes a lot of economic losses in wheat, and the associated toxin, deoxynivalenol (DON), can cause issues for human and animal health. The disease has been a big deterrent for people growing wheat in the Eastern U.S. because they could grow a perfectly nice crop, and then take it to the elevator only to have it get docked or rejected. That’s been painful for people. So it’s a big priority to try to increase resistance and reduce DON risk as much as possible,” said Jessica Rutkoski, assistant professor in the Department of Crop Sciences, part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at Illinois.… Continue reading

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Next Generation Fuels Act reintroduced

The Next Generation Fuels Act was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate today, drawing praise from the National Corn Growers Association. The legislation, which has been one of NCGA’s top advocacy priorities, would lower fuel prices, reduce carbon emissions and help shore-up America’s energy security.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led the bipartisan Senate reintroduction along with Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill). 

“We’re very grateful to Sen. Grassley, along with Sens. Klobuchar, Ernst and Duckworth, for taking the lead on this priority legislation for corn growers,” said Tom Haag, NCGA president. “The Next Generation Fuels Act addresses some of the country’s most pressing concerns by providing consumers with more options in the transition to cleaner fuels and vehicles and supporting our long-term energy security.”

The Next Generation Fuels Act would clean up our nation’s fuel supply and transition new vehicles to use cleaner, more efficient fuels that also lower costs for drivers.… Continue reading

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Get a jump on slug issues

By Matt Reese

The increase in cool, wet spring conditions in recent years has created a suite of challenges for planting and establishing early corn and soybean stands, including damage from slugs.

David Brandt has been dealing with slug issues for decades in his long-term no-till and cover crop fields in Fairfield County.

“In the 80s we were the slug capital of the world here on this farm and we’ve learned to delay planting a little bit to get the soil warmed up, get the cover crops growing really well and then plant the corn or the beans. We maybe wait a little bit to terminate the cover crop too. We found that the slugs do not like corn and beans all that much — they’ll eat the rye or the hairy vetch or the crimson clover way before they eat the corn and beans. The only reason they do is we kill everything else,” Brandt said.… Continue reading

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Understanding biologicals

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Biologicals may be the next revolution in farming.  Biologicals are natural products, either living or chemical by-products, that benefit crop production.  Chemical by-products include minerals, organic materials, and plant extracts.  Many snake oil type products exist on the market and it is difficult to separate out good products from bad. 

Dr. Jane Fife, 3 Bar Biologics outlined the use of biologics at the Conservation Tillage Conference.  A number of bio-stimulants and bio-fertilizers decrease many environmental stresses like drought, high or low temperatures, and soils with high salts.  Many products also improve the plant’s ability to recycle soil nutrients and speed up biological processes. 

The problem with many biologicals is that they are not highly regulated yet but bioinsecticides are regulated.  A common example is Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) which is a registered and regulated bioinsecticide.  Other substances can be living or nonliving and have been harder to regulate.… Continue reading

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Coffee and grain markets on April 14

Ohio State University Extension invites Ohio grain producers to grab a cup of coffee and join the next edition of a quarterly grain market conversation with Seungki Lee, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE) from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 14, 2023.

During this webinar held via Zoom, Dr. Lee will provide his insights on the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) crop report.

“These early morning webinars will be a great way for Ohio farmers to learn more about the factors impacting the corn, soybean, and wheat markets,” said David Marrison, Interim Director for OSU Extension’s Farm Financial Management and Policy Institute.  

Producers are encouraged to bring their questions to this early morning conversation.

Click here for the program flyer 

There is no fee to attend this quarterly webinar session. Pre-registration can be made at

Additional sessions will be held on September 15, and November 17, 2023.… Continue reading

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Team Soy highlighted at Commodity Classic

By Dusty Sonnenberg and Matt Reese

While many Commodity Classic discussions revolved around green energy, Crawford County farmer Steve Reinhard spent much of the event wearing green (well ahead of St. Patrick’s Day) to highlight the unity of Team Soy. Reinhard serves as the vice chair of the United Soybean Board (USB).

“The theme this year for our booth was Team Soy. Not only are we expressing what we do here at USB and all of our farmer members that lead the board, we also have our team of other cooperators that we work with within that soy family. We have the American Soybean Association right beside us. We have Clean Fuels America, which is right across the aisle way and we do a lot of biofuel stuff with them. Then we also have the U.S. Soy Export Council and they do all of our foreign market development and then we have the United States Egg and Poultry Association and the U.S.… Continue reading

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Wheat growth stage ID

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

For determining the right timing of winter wheat management decisions, identifying the growth stage of wheat plants is critical. For example, knowing how to identify wheat Feekes Stage 6 is important because this is the cutoff timing for certain herbicides ( i.e. 2,4-D and dicamba) and also the point at which rapid development with increased need for nitrogen occurs. Feekes Stage 6 is also the timing when extreme cold temperatures can cause significant damage to wheat plants. Agronomists and wheat experts recommended that spring applications of N are made prior to Feekes Stage 6 (also known as jointing) when the wheat plant begins a period of rapid growth and will utilize more nitrogen.

How do you identify wheat plants at Feekes Stage 6? The easiest way to tell is to dig up a wheat plant and examine the main stem. If only one node is visible above the soil surface the plant is in Feekes Stage 6.… Continue reading

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Talking ethanol at Commodity Classic

By Dusty Sonnenberg and Matt Reese

John Settlemyre, who farms in Warren County and serves as the current president of Ohio Corn & Wheat, was busy talking, learning about and discussing ethanol at Commodity Classic in Orlando. 

Scientists are finding ways to not only enhance the ethanol but also the byproducts that are coming off of ethanol production, he said. 

“One company in Houston, for example, is taking ethanol and producing ethylene which is going to be used in polyethylene plastics — a huge green source of plastics which are recycled and very important for our environment and a very valuable use for ethanol,” Settlemyre said. “Currently when we produce ethanol, we’re about 42% less greenhouse gas emissions when we use it as a fuel. When we produce ethanol, we also produce about a pound of CO2 for every pound of ethanol, so if we can capture the CO2 out of the reactor vessels and do something with it, it’s a free source of CO2.… Continue reading

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Solutions for actively managing SCN go beyond genetics

By the SCN Coalition

A hot topic at the North Central Soybean Research Program, 2022 National Soybean Nematode Conference was a new genetic tool for managing soybean cyst nematode (SCN) that’s expected to hit the market late this decade. “The new Bt SCN resistance trait developed by BASF will slow the rate of increasing yield loss, but it alone won’t fix the problem,” says Greg Tylka, nematologist at Iowa State University and a leader of The SCN Coalition. The mounting economic toll of parasitic nematodes must not be met with complacency. Barring the unexpected development of a silver bullet, an active, multipronged defense against SCN will be needed.

SCN currently costs farmers 5.5 bushels an acre, equating to roughly $1.5 billion in yield loss each year, estimates Mike McCarville, trait development manager at BASF. By 2030, he expects that yield reduction to grow to “about 10 bushels an acre, amounting to over $2 billion in lost soybean yield each year.”… Continue reading

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Phosphorus BMP Field Day

By Paige Garrabrant, Ohio State University Extension

Nutrient runoff and algal blooms are a growing problem while fertilizer costs are at an all-time high. Best Management Practice (BMP) Field Day is an event to address these problems and offer solutions for farmers, students, and community members interested in attending. BMP Field Day is a full day event to learn more about Phosphorus usage, the environment, and strategies to save on fertilizer. BMP Field Day will be held in-person March 29 at the Secrest Welcome Center at the Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center in Wooster, Ohio. Sign-in starts at 8:00 am, the event starts at 8:30 am, and ends at 4:00 pm.

This event is provided free for farmers, students, and community members because of generous sponsorship from the USDA NIFA and is co-hosted by Virginia Tech and The Ohio State University. Registration includes a free lunch and tour of OARDC field sites.… Continue reading

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Meetings aplenty at Commodity Classic

By Dusty Sonnenberg and Matt Reese

Though travelers visit Orlando every winter to soak in some sunshine, many Commodity Classic attendees typically get more tan lines from the glow of the convention center lighting. Meetings, networking at receptions and trade show conversations keep them indoors for much of their time in sunny Florida.

Months-worth of business is conducted in just a few days as corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmer leaders from around the country gather to set policy, share ideas and learn from each other at Commodity Classic. Ohio is home to many of those farmer leaders.

Early in the event, David Clark from Montgomery County found himself in required attendance at two simultaneous meetings based on his multiple national level roles. Clark serves as the vice president for the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) and vice chair of the Soy Transportation Collation (STC). 

NCSRP takes a broad look at pest and disease issues around the production area while STC looks at transportation infrastructure.… Continue reading

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The Andersons to expand dry fertilizer distribution in Lordstown

The Andersons, Inc., a leading provider of plant nutrients, is pleased to announce the expansion of the Lordstown, Ohio, wholesale fertilizer distribution terminal. The expansion project will include a new 10,000-ton storage building, increasing dry bulk storage by nearly 65%. The project also features enhancements to the receiving system and loadout automation process.

“The Lordstown facility is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. This investment further supports The Andersons commitment to growing with our customers in the northeast Ohio market. We look forward to the positive impact this project will have, supplying key nutrients for agricultural production when and where it matters most, positioning the Lordstown facility to serve the market for the next 25 years,” said Andy Spahr, vice president wholesale for The Andersons. 

According to Operations Manager Josh Kurth, the dry bulk storage capacity will increase from 15,500 to 25,500 tons. The new receiving system will improve unloading capacity from 300 to 500 tons per hour, allowing The Andersons to resupply the warehouse much quicker during periods of high demand.… Continue reading

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NRCS expanding assistance to advance climate mitigation efforts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for Environmental Quality Incentives Program – Inflation Reduction Act (EQIP-IRA) funding. These funds expand financial and technical assistance to landowners and producers advancing conservation practices targeting climate mitigation on their land. Applications must be received by April 28, 2023 to be eligible for Fiscal Year 2023 funding.

Nationally, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides an additional $19.5 billion over five years for climate smart agriculture through several of the conservation programs that NRCS implements. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is NRCS’ flagship conservation program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners integrate conservation into working lands. In Ohio, an additional $3.3 million in financial assistance has been made available to Ohio landowners through EQIP-IRA in Fiscal Year 2023. 

EQIP-IRA is designed to help farmers and private landowners apply conservation measures that focus on carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and soil health.… Continue reading

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Benson Hill offers unique premium opportunities for farmer-partners

Jeff Johnson of Benson Hill talks with Ohio’s Country Journal’s Matt Reese about the unique set up of their vertically integrated soybean business. They are looking for farmers to grow specific crops for specific needs. He says there are still contracts available for Ohio growers, with limited opportunities in 2023 for a $5 premium in northwest Ohio because of the expanding aqua-market

Johnson says the opportunities for more ROI per acre are considerable versus that of a commodity-based soybean. Learn more at… Continue reading

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Early planting doesn’t work out — Do I replant, repair, plant, or leave this pitiful stand?

Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean and Small Grains Specialist, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-06

Soybean plants have a remarkable ability to compensate for open spaces by developing axillary branches that set additional pods. Learn from our Science for Success team of Soybean Extension Specialists how to assess early season damage and make replanting decisions based on crop conditions and economic considerations so you can save your soybean season. Dr. Shawn Conley, Soybean and Small Grain Extension Specialist from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, will lead the discussion and panelists will include: Dr. Laura Lindsey (Ohio State University), Dr. Manni Singh (Michigan State University), and Dr. Jeremy Ross (University of Arkansas). There will be plenty of time for discussion, so bring your questions!

When: Friday, March 17, 2023 at 1:00-2:00 PM (EDT)

Where: Virtual…Register here:

Cost: FREE! CCAs will earn 0.5 CEUs in Crop Management… Continue reading

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