GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Two days of informative seminars, exhibits featuring the latest in ag products, services and equipment, and business meetings for the various commodity groups will highlight this year’s Prairie Grains Conference. The event will be held at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D., on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 11-12.
The first day of the show will include a group of grower and industry meetings, according to Charlie Vogel, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and one of the organizers of the Prairie Grains Conference. The second day will feature a wide variety of informative seminars on the issues facing growers today.
“With the difficult harvest this year, falling numbers in wheat has had a dramatic impact – affecting at least half the crop,” Vogel said. “We do have a falling test overview and demonstration breakout session. This will look at how the test is done and hopefully it will give a better understanding on what the falling numbers mean.”
In regards to falling numbers, there is a survey out right now that looks at such things as area of the state, varieties, planting date and harvest date in correlation to the falling numbers.
“If we get some good response back from that survey we will be able to share some data from across the state on where falling numbers were an issue.”
Wednesday, Dec. 11
Action on the first day begins with the 7th annual On-Farm Research Summit. This will provide updates on this year’s on-farm research results and showgoers will be able to hear first-hand from trial participants. They’ll also be able to participate in group discussion about what the data could mean for wheat and soybean production in the region, as well as research information on precision ag research, cover crops and tillage. The program starts with registration and breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by reports on the various topics mentioned.
In addition, there will be a three-hour meeting on Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction starting at 9 a.m., and the N.D. Barley Council will have their county representative meeting.
The series of meetings continues Wednesday afternoon with a session starting at 1 p.m., which will discuss “The Changing World of Plant Genetics: Gene Editing.” This session will provide an overview of gene editing, how it is different than other technologies and the economics behind it.
Other meetings scheduled for Wednesday afternoon include the Minnesota and North Dakota Malting Barley program, the Minnesota Wheat Research Committee, the MAWG Resolutions Committee meeting, Minnesota Soybean Growers County Association meeting and the N.D. Grain Growers annual meeting.
These will be followed by a pre-conference social, banquet and live auction. The banquet keynote speaker will be Mark Lindquist and his presentation will be “Passion! 8 Steps to Reignite Yours.”
“He is from the area and has ag roots,” Vogel noted. “He is world touring and this is what he does for a living – speaking to companies that range from Microsoft to agricultural groups.”
Thursday, Dec. 12
Action starts on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 a.m., with registration and breakfast. Following will be wheat and soybean research reporting sessions and the welcome to the conference by Thom Petersen, Minnesota Ag Commissioner, at 9 a.m.
The first general session will feature Joe Sowers, regional vice president for U.S. Wheat Associates. He will discuss the Southeast Asia wheat foods industry – a group that accounted for 26 percent of all U.S. wheat sales last year. He will speak at 9:15 a.m.
At 10:05 a.m., John Wheeler, chief meteorologist at WDAY will speak on “A Stormy September and a Tempestuous Debate; Making Sense of Weather and Climate.” Wheeler will address whether or not the recent weather events are a sign of what agriculture can expect in the future.
Those attending the conference will then be able to select one breakout session to attend before the noon lunch break. The sessions begin at 11:15 a.m., ranging from 50-60 minutes in length, and will include the following topics:
- Exploring Agriculture in the Most Biodiverse Country in the World: Ecuador - The 2017 Red River Valley Ag Peer Group trip participants will share their experiences with producers from Ecuador.
- Agriculture & Personal Income Tax Law Updates for 2019 - Greg and Ron Dvergsten, Farm Business Management instructors at NCTC (Northland Community and Technical College) will discuss tax law changes.
- Primary & Alternative Crop Budgets and Market Plan Strategies for 2020 - Betsy Jensen and Jessica Hanson, farm business management instructors NCTC (Northland Community & Technical College) will discuss breakeven costs for the region’s major and alternative crops.
- Falling Numbers Test Overview & Demonstration - Lynn Thomas, field manager, USDA-AMS Federal Grain Inspection Service
- Minnesota Wheat On-Farm Research Network: Past, Present & Future – Melissa Geiszler and Lauren Proulx, On-Farm Research Network coordinators from the Minnesota Wheat Council
- Nutrient Management for Increased Productivity and Environmental Benefits - Warren Formo, executive director, Minnesota Ag Water Resource Center; Jeppe Kjaersgaard, research scientist, Minnesota Department of Ag; and Jerry Nordick, a grower from Breckenridge, Minn.
- 2020 Spring Wheat Variety Selection and New Variety Update - Jim Anderson, spring wheat breeder at the University of Minnesota
- Soybean & Corn Brand Selection and Variety Crossover Lists - Garth Kruger, director of Evaluation Group, LLC
- Resistant Pest Management - Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist at the University of Minnesota
- Herbicides and Cover Crops; Problems and Possibilities - Lee Briese, CPCC-1 and CCA, CENTROL Crop Consulting
- Marketing Your Sunflowers - (morning session) Guy Christensen, Northern Sun ADM; Scott Stinar, D&D; Tim Petry, SunOpta; and Mike Bolz, Scoular; (afternoon session) Reps. Of John Zietz, Cargill; Nick Boll, Red River Commodities; and Neil Biever, CHS Sunflower
- Trade is Complicated: The Devil will be in the Details - Neal Fisher, administrator North Dakota Wheat Commission; Joe Sowers, U.S. Wheat Associates; and Kevin Paap, president of Minnesota Farm Bureau
- What’s New in Production Management of Prairie Grains - Fred Lukens and Rob Jarek, Stoller USA; Jason Snell, Syngenta; Christine Spasoff, Syngenta Canada; and Garrett Grovers, Diacon, will discuss present and future crop protectants for all crops.
Following the buffet lunch at noon, a grain marketing general session titled “Ghosts of Marketing Past, Present and Future” will be held starting at 1:15 p.m., featuring the following panel members: Betsy Jensen from NCTC; Tommy Grisafi, marketing consultant Advance Trading Inc; Kevin Karei, general manager Arthur Companies; Allison Thompson, commodity broker The Money Farm; and Steve Wagner, market analyst at CHS Hedging.
At 2:30 p.m., a repeat of the breakout sessions will be held throughout the rest of the day.
The Prairie Grains Conference is free to all members of MAWG, MBGA, MSRPC, NDGGA, NDBC, MNFB, and NCTC-FBM members. There is a $25 registration fee for non-members to attend the conference. Those non-members may register at the door, but pre-registration is encouraged. For those planning on attending the Wednesday night banquet, an RSVP is required so proper arrangements can be made. An RSVP for the banquet is required by Dec. 4 and non-member banquet tickets are $30 each.
More information is available on line at www.smallgrains.org.