Pork ambassadors sought

The Missouri Pork Association is now accepting applications for the 2018 Youth Pork Ambassador Program, which allows students to actively interact with leaders in Missouri’s pork industry and receive a $1,000 scholarship, payable to any technical school, community college or four-year institution.

As a Youth Pork Ambassador, participants will promote the Missouri Pork Association and the pork industry at various events throughout the year and will learn about pork production, the industry and make life-long connections in the field.

To qualify, applicants must be a high school senior or college freshman or sophomore as of Jan. 1, 2018. Applications and three letters of recommendation are due Dec. 15, 2017. For complete details and an application, visit www.mopork.com/youth/youth-pork-ambassador/.

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Make it count

Farmers and ranchers across the nation soon will start receiving the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which is only conducted once every five years.

Producers can mail completed census forms or respond online via the web questionnaire. The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has extensively revised the online questionnaire to make it more convenient for producers, according to NASS Census and Survey Division Director Barbara Rater.

“The updated online questionnaire is very user-friendly—it can now be used on any electronic device and can be saved and revisited as the producer’s schedule allows,” Rater said. “Responding online saves time and protects data quality. Better data means informed decisions, and that’s why it is so important that every producer respond and be represented.”

New time-saving features of the online questionnaire include automatically calculating totals, skipping sections that do not pertain to the operation, and providing drop-down menus of frequent responses.

The census website will continue to be updated with new information through the census response deadline of Feb. 5, 2018. One recently added feature is a new video from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue reminding all producers to respond when they receive their 2017 Census of Agriculture in the mail this fall.

Revisions and additions to the 2017 Census of Agriculture aim to capture a more detailed account of the industry. Producers will see a new question about military veteran status, expanded questions about food marketing practices, and questions about on-farm decision-making to better capture the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers and others involved in running the business.

The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them and is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the country. The data is used to make decisions that shape American agriculture—from creating and funding farm programs to boosting services for communities and the industry.

For more information, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 800-727-9540.

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Farm broadcaster Armstrong headlines MFA annual meeting

Max Armstrong has said his broadcasting career began at age 11 on his family farm in Indiana’s Wabash River Valley. The youngster strung an antenna wire from his bedroom window to a pole behind the chicken coop, turned on the transmitter he built from a mail-order kit, and WMAX was on the air.

Although WMAX is long gone, Armstrong is still broadcasting, both on the radio and television, more than 50 years later. This award-winning farm broadcaster will share his expertise and insight on our industry as the keynote speaker during MFA Incorporated’s annual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Armstrong now co-hosts This Week in AgriBusiness with Orion Samuelson on RFD-TV and other stations, and the pair team up for The Saturday Morning Show on WGN Radio. He and Samuelson previously covered agriculture’s ups and downs for WGN Radio and TV in Chicago for more than 30 years.

Since 2009, Armstrong has been with the Penton Farm Progress Companies, where his duties include producing and hosting daily reports on Farm Progress America and Max Armstrong’s Midwest Digest. He has originated broadcasts from all 50 states and 30 different foreign nations

A 1975 graduate of Purdue University, he has twice received the Oscar In Agriculture and has been awarded the highest honors by the National Agri-Marketing Association, the American Agricultural Editors Association and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters.

Armstrong and his wife, Linda, now live on a small farm in North Carolina near their grandchildren.

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