John A. Bentley (right), MDS founder and president, with Regional Manager Tharen W. Peterson.

MDS Celebrates 20 Years

Manufacturer’s Diversified Services (MDS), a manufacturers’ representative company based in New Holland, Pa., is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The company focuses on attachments for skid steer loaders, compact tractors and larger construction equipment. There are currently hundreds of MDS dealers in the eastern United States.

Agrochemical Industry Veteran Joins Arysta LifeScience

Dr. David Jones has agreed to serve as non executive chairman of Arysta LifeScience Corporation, the world’s largest privately held crop protection company. In his new position, Jones will chair the Arysta LifeScience board of directors, support shareholders and management in development of company strategy, and monitor strategy implementation for results. Jones served as head of business development at Syngenta and as a member of the company’s executive committee until his retirement in 2007. At Syngenta, Jones was primarily responsible for merger integration and building company strategy. He has more than 30 years of agrochemical industry experience, which also includes serving as strategy and products director for Zeneca Agrochemicals. During his tenure at Zeneca, his roles included leadership of the business in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.‡

NIP Programs Expands Coverage for Growers

NIP Programs, a division of NIP Group, Inc., has partnered with a second insurance carrier to expand and improve its GrowPro insurance program for green industry growers. The expanded program will include broader coverage and more competitive pricing. The GrowPro insurance program is designed specifically for greenhouses, nurseries, independent garden centers and florists across the country. The program offers standard coverages and an array of custom coverages tailored specifically to growers. Custom coverages include damage to greenhouse crops from power failures or equipment breakdown and the ability to tailor coverage limits to seasonal fluctuations of crop and inventory.

MOI Closes $10 Million Financing

Marrone Organic Innovations, Inc. (MOI) has announced  the closing of  a $10 million private round of financing led by Stuart Mill Venture Partners (SMVP) of Falls Church, Va. Lawrence Hough, managing director of Stuart Mill and former president and CEO of Sallie Mae, will join MOI’s board of directors. Co-investing with SMVP is Contrarian Group of Newport Beach, Calif. The financing will enable MOI to fund the development and commercialization of its pipeline of more than six natural pest management products. While building the commercial side of the company, MOI will continue its discovery of natural products for controlling weeds, plant-parasitic nematodes and insects.

ACI Launches Blog

Agri-Cover, Inc. (ACI) has launched a new company blog to provide customers ­information and to create a new way to communicate with their customers. The blog features product information and announcements, contests, videos, tech tips and more. View ACI’s blog at

New VP at New Holland

John Stevenson has been named vice president, sales and marketing, for New Holland Agriculture in North America. The appointment was effective August 1, 2008. Stevenson will maintain his office at the company’s headquarters in New Holland, Pa. His credentials include most recently serving as president and chief executive officer of American LaFrance, a U.S.-based manufacturer of fire, rescue and other emergency response vehicles. Prior to that, he served in senior management positions at Freightliner, Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks. His background also includes proficiencies in organizational management, manufacturing, distribution, purchasing, logistics, product marketing, service and sales. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.

New Consultant at Spectrum

Aaron Johnsen joins Spectrum Technologies, Inc. as the new green industry consultant. Responsibilities will include consulting, educating and promoting research to the company’s turf and greenhouse industry segments. Johnsen holds a master’s degree in applied plant science from the University of Minnesota.

PMA Awards Nunhems’ Tomato

Nunhems Vegetables Seeds’ new Intense tomato received the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Buyer’s Choice Award at the 2008 PMA Foodservice Conference and Exposition. The award, voted on by hundreds of operators, distributors, chefs and wholesalers from around the country, recognized the tomato variety’s foodservice-friendly attributes, including significantly less gel, firmer flesh, and intense red color, that allow it to be easily and uniformly sliced, diced or cut without losing its fresh appearance. This is the tomato’s second major award for product innovation. Earlier this year, it was awarded the Innovation Award at Fruit Logistica, one of Europe’s largest fresh produce trade shows.

Two Growers Win BASF Contest

BASF has announced the winners of its recent Prowl H20 essay and photo/video contest. Tree fruit, tree nut and grape growers were asked to share their Prowl H20 herbicide success stories, and two winning entries were selected, one from each category. Each will be awarded an Arctic Cat Prowler utility vehicle and trailer.    

 LaMora Farms  in Webster, N.Y. and  David Gilcrest  in Visalia, Calif. submitted the winning entries.  LaMora Farms’ essay highlighted their use of the herbicide to control increasing weed pressure that was stifling apple tree growth and compromising fruit size at harvest. Gilcrest, a grower, pest control advisor (PCA) and commercial applicator, submitted a video entry highlighting the herbicide’s use on his farm.

To view the winning entries, visit

Int’l Agri-Center Welcomes New Communications Director

The International Agri-Center staff and volunteers have welcomed Steven Knudsen as the new communications director for the organization. In his position, Knudsen will manage the communications of the World Ag Expo, California Antique Farm Show and the Heritage Complex, as well as communicate the importance of agriculture to consumers worldwide. Knudsen graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in food science and in 2006 with his master’s degree in agriculture marketing and communications. He was formerly employed with the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau as the outreach coordinator and legislative assistant. In his time at the bureau, he was a member of the board of directors for the Central Coast Grown non-profit organization and was instrumental in developing the Central Coast Grown Web site, a free marketing tool for farmers who sell their foods locally.

Gowan Acquires Zoxamide Rights from Dow

Gowan Company has reached an agreement with Dow AgroSciences to acquire the rights to its global zoxamide fungicide business, marketed primarily under the brand names ZOXIUM, GAVEL, ELECTIS, UNIKAT and HARPON.‡

This purchase will further strengthen Gowan’s position in these markets, and allows Dow AgroSciences to focus resources on priority solutions in its chemical and biotechnology portfolios. Under this agreement, Gowan and its subsidiaries throughout the world started selling zoxamide and its formulations on August 1, 2008.‡Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Grape Networks Partners With Leveraging Technology

Grape Networks,  a designer, developer and producer of wireless sensor monitors for vineyard microclimates and fields, has announced a partnership with Leveraging Technology. The partnership of the two companies will work to solve the growing dilemma of collecting real-time data from wireless sensors and utilizing it for business driven results. Using Leveraging Technology’s Anything to Anything Architecture, sensor users will benefit from the ability to apply business rules to the data collected, and will be able to include situation detection, real-time alerting, collaboration frameworks and data fusion in customizable applications. The architecture is adaptable to various industries including the agriculture, defense, medical and energy sectors, which will greatly expand the customer base of both companies.

NGWI Names Peltier President

The National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI) has selected Jean-Mari Peltier as the organization’s first president, effective September 1, 2008. Peltier is presently serving as president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, D.C.‡Her experience spans three decades and includes stints in both the public and private sector, specializing in work on technical and scientific issues impacting agriculture nationally and internationally.‡In her new position, Peltier will be charged with increasing industry and government support for grape and vineyard research in five key areas: understanding, defining and delivering quality; consumer, nutrition and community; production and processing efficiency; sustainability; and extension and education outreach.‡