Ag News, August 27, 2013

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Unmanned helicopter puts farming up in the air
Brad Haire – Southwest Farm Press

The miniature, unmanned helicopter looks like a souped-up toy.

But it’s more like a crop scout with special, detailed eyes that can fly, or hover, over a field and report specific recommendations back to a farmer. Not just on the whole field. It can help pin-point what to do in precise locations in the field.

Companies and economic developers want to make Georgia the unmanned aircraft hub for agricultural use, laying the groundwork now to get this new technology up in the air in the next few years.
Read more:

2013 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Robert T. Fraley featured speaker at AgroNomics Vision 2014 – Register Today!

AgroNomics Vision 2014, to be held November 11-15, 2013 at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nev., will host Dr. Fraley and world-renowned agriculture experts. The event provides a unique opportunity for rural asset managers and valuation experts to collaborate and share their vision for a collective future.

Currently, 870 million, or 1 in 8 people, are hungry. Scientific advancements will play a critical role as we face the global challenges of the 21st century of producing more food in a sustainable way, while confronting an increasingly volatile climate. As the world grapples with how to feed the estimated 9 billion people who will inhabit the planet by the year 2050, it will be critical to continue building upon the scientific advancements and revolutionary agricultural discoveries of the 2013 World Food Prize Laureates.

Robert T. Fraley’s passion for helping farmers grow better and higher yielding crops was shaped by his experience growing up on a small Midwestern farm that produced grains and livestock. As a child exploring the world around him in rural Illinois, his interest in the scientific complexities of living organisms developed very early and blossomed during his undergraduate education, graduate training in microbiology and biochemistry, and post-doctoral research in biophysics at the University of California-San Francisco.

He joined Monsanto in 1981 as a senior research associate and in 1983 he and his team announced the creation of the first genetically engineered plants—to give farmers real solutions to critical problems such as the pest and weed infestations that frequently destroyed crops. His early research built upon the discoveries of Mary-Dell Chilton and Marc Van Montagu as he focused on inventing effective methods for gene transfer systems. Since that time, millions of farmers globally have benefitted from this pioneering research in biotechnology and continued focus on the development of advanced breeding technologies.

Coming from a farm, Fraley could see the potential that this emerging science offered to farmers across many countries, many crops, and farms of all sizes. To better understand farmers’ needs regarding the application of biotechnology to agriculture, he often went out into fields to observe local agronomic practices and talk with farmers to ensure that they would be offered solutions that worked better than any alternatives.

In leadership positions at Monsanto—currently as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer—Fraley has played a key role in the company’s choice of research directions that led to viable finished products, and the technical and business strategy that ensured wide availability and benefit to farmers of all sizes around the world. He has especially championed making biotechnology accessible to small-holder farmers.

Join agriculture professionals as they tackle the emergence of agricultural biotechnology and its impacts with engineering crops with novel traits and tolerance to adverse environmental conditions. Hear how this work has made it possible for farmers in 30 countries to improve the yields of their crops, have increased incomes, and feed a growing global population.

“I am deeply humbled by this extraordinary honor in receiving the World Food Prize and joining the ranks of so many accomplished Laureates who have come before me,” Fraley said. “It’s an award I share with the team at Monsanto. I really believe we have just scratched the surface on what is possible in bringing innovation to farmers who deliver food security to consumers around the world. The World Food Prize provides us an important platform to engage in a new global dialogue around enabling farmer access to advanced agriculture tools while ensuring a sustainable food supply for all.”

Effort to save bees being waged on several fronts

As bee populations dwindle further…to hardly more than half their numbers in ’70 or so…
A new save-the-bees offensive is under way. Beekeepers, farmers, conservationists, hobbyists plus public and private agencies are joining together to bolster pollinator habitats and diets in the hopes of making honeybees and wild bees thrive once again.
Copyright 2013, The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Login to Member Resources to download the latest edition:

Would you drink GM wine?
By Chris Bennett in Farm Press Blog

The world’s wine grape vines are dying — falling domino style to the inexorable spread of bug or bacteria or unknown disease agent.
Not true of course — there is no wine grape apocalypse. But what if there were a disease agent sweeping plague-style across the vine world?
Mitch Frank has written a razor sharp column at Wine Spectator: How Would You Stop a Vineyard Apocalypse? He references greening disease, the scourge of the citrus industry, and the possibility of genetically modified fruit as a solution. If a GM orange proves viable, how will the public react to GM orange juice on the breakfast table?
Read more on the Western Farm Press website:

AgProLink Survey – Last Chance

Early next you will be seeing some exciting changes with AgProLink and our database. AgProLink ( which is the ASFMRA members’ online professional community will be getting a make-over. We would love to get your feedback so we can incorporate that into our changes. This is a very quick five question survey that will take you a few minutes. Thank you so much! Here is the link: This survey will close today, Tuesday, August 27th at 12:00am MDT.

New map shows plunge in Paso Robles groundwater levels

By David Sneed – The Tribune, San Luis Obispo County, Calif.  A new map of the Paso Robles groundwater basin shows that aquifer levels in the basin have dropped dramatically in the last four years — meaning that most of the basin has now suffered water drops of at least 70 feet or more since 1997. Read more here:

News from the Appraisal Foundation

AQB To Meet September 13

The next public meeting of the Appraiser Qualifications Board will be September 13th in San Diego. Topics discussed at this meeting include:
•        Implementation of Adopted Revisions to the 2015 Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria
•        Alternative Track to the Current Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria
•        National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examinations
•        Course Approval Program Activity
•        Undergraduate/Graduate Degree in Real Estate Review Program
Individuals who wish to address the AQB regarding any agenda item(s) are asked to submit a written request to the Chair outlining the agenda topic(s) to be addressed. These requests should be forwarded to The Appraisal Foundation, via email to or fax to (202) 347-7727 to the attention of the AQB.

The Appraisal Foundation to Host First Personal Property Roundtable

Minimum Competency Qualifications, Standards and Oversight
Accountability for Personal Property Appraisers
September 24, 2013
Washington, DC
The Appraisal Foundation is pleased to announce its first roundtable discussion for the personal property appraisal profession.  This roundtable will focus on issues of importance to personal property appraisers and users of appraisal services including the topics of minimum qualifications, standards and oversight. The Foundation is facilitating this program in order to promote the public trust among users of appraisal services. Get complete details:

The next public meeting of the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) is approaching. Please take the time to register for this meeting if you plan to attend.
Friday, October 18, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Doubletree by Hilton
1515 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Get complete details:

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