Top 3 Places to Spot an AgNerd at AFBF Convention

An “agnerd” is someone who loves both technology and agriculture. The ranks of agnerds have been growing in recent years and at the AFBF annual convention. And I think this year may be the one where agnerds are the most visible. But for those who aren’t familiar with agnerds, you may wonder where to spot these folks. So this is a list of ways to find an agnerd!

  • agnerd ribbonLook for an agnerd ribbon! You have to know that many agnerds are quite proud of their title and will display it proudly! In fact, some people here pay for ribbons they can wear on their name badge declaring their agnerd status! (Purchasing a ribbon helps support some of the AFBF programs.) I noticed earlier that Michigan fruit farmer Jeff VanderWerff is sporting one!
  • See someone wearing Google Glass?
    Google Glass on the Farm
    Definite AgNerd! A lot of people probably haven’t seen Google Glass, but it is a technology from the folks at Google who are looking for ways to integrate technology into our daily lives. You can take photos without lifting up a camera! While the main sharing at an event like #AFBF14 is Chuck Zimmerman’s photos, there is a lot of potential for field scouting, etc. You can learn more on
  • FieldScriptsAgNerds Loved the Trade Show & some of the sessions! The trade show & educational & exhibitor sessions are already wrapping up but there were lots of opportunities for agnerds to learn more about what various companies were doing. Here’s one example:

Janice AKA JPLovesCotton is Janice Person, a city girl who loves cotton and biotechnology. Her work for Monsanto focuses on social media outreach. A colorful adventure is her personal blog. Follow her on Twitter (@JPLovesCotton) and find her on Facebook.

Drought Tolerance Discussion Draws Farmer Interest at AFBF13

AFBF Seminar on Drought ToleranceOn Sunday, one of the exhibitor seminars drew a big crowd and kept them in their seats the full hour. What topic could lure people away from picking up swag? Easy. Drought tolerance. The topic is especially poignant following a historic drought in many states during 2012.

Mark Edge, the DroughtGard marketing lead for Monsanto, came to the AFBF meeting to talk with farmers about the company’s approach on drought tolerance and the new products that are becoming available.

Edge said water is the biggest topic facing agriculture and it has been for a long time. He remembers growing up on a Midwestern farm where water was frequently the topic of conversation. It is not just a topic of interest due to the drought of 2012.

Edge said managing water is critical on farms and in cities pointing out that the tiny bit of fresh water we have needs to provide for people, crops, animals, etc. and all of those areas need to be more sustainable  He said farmers have long looked for various ways to conserve water and the continued improvements are sought on-farm.

Monsanto is using a systems approach to addressing water use and drought tolerance. The system includes native traits, biotech traits and agronomics to deliver solutions to farmers. He says the company has introduced new DroughtGard hybrids that have been screened closely for performance of native traits and biotech traits. Molecular tools identify native control of drought tolerance in a more precise way than in the past allowing breeders to screen for drought tolerance while maintaining yield, etc Several years of testing has already been conducted in the western corn belt ie Kansas, Colorado & Nebraska.

Edge’s comments that plant is able to perform with less water, sensors test available water in the soil profile. The testing done includes monitoring of water in the soil profile by using soil capacity probes. With DroughtGard, plant survival rates are greater due to water banking.

Earlier technologies have already made a difference in water use on the farm. Two of the technologies to make a difference already are conservation tillage & corn rootworm control.

The crowd got a laugh out of Edge’s comment that “the DroughtGard name does not mean we have turned corn into a cactus.” He pointed out that plants still need water.

For 2013, the introduction of DroughtGard will be limited to selected states with farmers signing stewardship agreements about the grain produced. These agreements require the corn produced be consumed in the US, where the product is fully approved.

Janice AKA JPLovesCotton is Janice Person, a city girl who loves cotton and biotechnology. Her work for Monsanto includes blogging and social media outreach. A colorful adventure is her personal blog. Follow her on Twitter (@JPLovesCotton) and find her on Facebook.