VirtualOne Hires VP of Business Development for Trace-Back Solution

Charles Briggs was hired as executive vice president of business development for VirtualOne. Briggs will be responsible for all sales and marketing activities of FreshQC, a trace-back and quality control system for shipper/growers.

Briggs brings more than 18 years of produce industry sales and marketing expertise to the position. He previously worked for Dole Fresh Vegetable Co. and Coast to Coast Produce, and he is the founder of Farmer Boy Produce Sales.

Ag Census Data Available by Congressional District

Information from the 2007 Census of Agriculture is now available at the congressional district level in online profiles published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The congressional district profiles show changes in key areas since the last census was taken in 2002. They include data on such things as the number of farms and acres in farmland; the demographics of local farmers; livestock inventory and crop production; and total sales of agricultural products.

The Census of Agriculture, conducted every five years, is a complete count of the nation’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation. For more information about the census and to access the congressional district profiles, visit

Monsanto, BASF Scientists Discover Gene Conferring Drought Tolerance in Corn

Monsanto Co. and BASF scientists unveiled the discovery that a naturally occurring gene can help corn plants combat drought conditions and confer yield stability during periods of inadequate water supplies.

The drought-tolerant corn contains the cspB gene, from Bacillus subtilis. CspB codes for an RNA chaperone, which are commonly occurring protein molecules that bind to RNAs and facilitate their function. In corn, cspB works by helping the plant maintain growth and development during times of inadequate water supply.

Monsanto and BASF noted that the drought-tolerant corn product is targeted for as early as 2012 pending appropriate regulatory approvals.

Potato Growers to Combine Conferences

Following bilateral discussions, organizers of the Washington and Oregon state potato conferences have decided to hold a merged event January 26-28, 2010, at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, Wash.

Both states will have underwriting sponsorships for the Washington Oregon Potato Conference. The two groups committed to maintain the joint conference for three years. Three Oregon representatives will serve with the conference board, and Oregon commissioners will participate in conference duties alongside their Washington counterparts, serving the potato bar luncheon, helping with registration and other functions.