Jim Spradlin, Morton, IL, has been named chief executive officer of GROWMARK, Inc. effective September 16. He replaces Jeff Solberg who will retire in September.
In announcing Spradlin as CEO, GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President, John Reifsteck, said: "Selecting a CEO to lead GROWMARK's management team is among the most important and impactful decisions the board can make. Jim has the skills, knowledge, experience and support to successfully lead GROWMARK into the future. The Board has great confidence in him and his ability to lead the multitude of talented employees throughout the GROWMARK System."
Spradlin is a 1982 business administration and economics graduate of Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL. He has held various positions within the GROWMARK System of cooperatives, including controller of Schuyler-Brown FS, regional administrative director, general manager of Piatt Service Company, general manager of Ag-Land FS and region manager (central Illinois), energy division manager, agronomy division manager and vice president of agronomy for GROWMARK. Jim is one of five members of the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture's Industry Advisory Council. He serves on the board of directors for The Fertilizer Institute and is a former local director of Rotary International.
"GROWMARK and its FS member companies have a long-standing reputation as a progressive and reliable supplier of quality products and services, for being easy to do business with, and for its highly-trained employees who operate with integrity," Spradlin said. "It is truly an honor to have the have support of the GROWMARK Board of Directors as we work together to guide the GROWMARK System."
Syngenta held a grand re-opening for its newly expanded Clinton, IL, corn and soybean research and development (R&D) facility. The more than $12 million expansion represents a significant investment in the local economy and builds on the area's reputation as a hub for ag innovation.
Consistent with The Syngenta Good Growth Plan announced last fall, research conducted at Clinton will enable Syngenta to bring innovations to market more quickly and help corn and soybean farmers grow more from less. The expansion has resulted in the addition of up to eight new full-time jobs at the site, which currently employs 60 full-time employees. The Clinton site also employs approximately 125 seasonal workers, an increase of approximately 50 percent due to the expansion.
Syngenta employees were joined at today's ribbon cutting event by state and local government officials and civic and agricultural leaders. Ramtin Ahmadi, head of R&D infrastructure for Syngenta, said the enhanced research and development capability at Clinton demonstrates Syngenta's commitment to R&D innovation and global leadership in corn and soybean product development, and is one example of how Syngenta is bringing its Good Growth Plan to life.
"Syngenta believes it is incumbent on business to play a larger role in fostering a long-term approach to food security," Ahmadi said. "This means using our substantial investment in R&D to advance technologies that not only protect — but also enhance — the environment and benefit rural communities.
"While in the past there was a clear distinction between our seeds, seed treatment and crop protection products, we now take a more holistic approach to helping growers succeed."
The Clinton facility supports approximately 235,000 corn and 144,000 soybean trial plots across 700 acres throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin, annually. The location features 105 acres of nursery for corn and 95 acres of nursery for soybeans. The expansion includes tripling in size of the soybean growth rooms; construction of seed cold storage, a new equipment maintenance shop and a new machinery storage building; and increased overall site capacity.
The use of precision agriculture tools and methods continues to play a growing role in the sustainability and productivity of U.S. farm operations. Recognizing this fact, the American Soybean Association joins the PrecisionAg Institute, an organization focused on advancing precision agriculture technology and its efficiency, stewardship and profitability for farmers.
ASA represents the first farmer-led organization to join the PrecisionAg Institute and will hold a seat on the Institute's advisory council, which sets the policy for the organization's activities and facilitates communication among industry partners and individuals.
As a new partner in the Institute, ASA will also play an integral role in a big data workshop this summer at Iowa State University, as well as future precision agriculture educational efforts, advocacy, research activities and award programs that recognize farmers and other industry leaders for their effective use of this technology.
"Many customers of U.S. soy now want to know that we are using sustainable production practices to grow our soybeans, and precision agriculture technology plays a key part in making this possible," said ASA President Ray Gaesser.
"We welcome ASA's support of the PrecisionAg Institute. As the first farmer organization to join the Institute, we look forward to the insights they will provide on our policies and activities in the future," said PrecisionAg Institute Business Director Daniel Ulrich.
Ray Gaesser will also represent ASA in a special workshop organized by the PrecisionAg Institute this summer titled, "Big Data: Managing Your Farm's Most Elusive Asset." This event will be held Aug. 25, the day before Farm Progress Show, at the Iowa State University Scheman Center. To register for this event, click on the PrecisionAg Data Workshop banner at www.precisionag.com.