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Published February 13, 2012, 11:44 AM

Big farm show set

Think “Big Iron in the winter” with emphasis on small grains, potatoes, soybeans and dry beans. The 11th annual International Crop Expo will be held Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15-16, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Think “Big Iron in the winter” with emphasis on small grains, potatoes, soybeans and dry beans.

The 11th annual International Crop Expo will be held Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15-16, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.

The show, created years ago by the combination of smaller annual farm events sponsored by small grain, potato and soybean groups, is expected to attract about 5,000 people and 200 companies with exhibits.

The Alerus Center has the space for companies to display, and for producers to view big farm equipment, says Marvin Zutz, executive director of the Minnesota Barley Growers Association and one of the show’s organizers.

He describes the International Crop Expo as “Big Iron in the winter,” a reference to the popular Big Iron farm show held each year in September in West Fargo, N.D.

Zutz also attributes some of the International Crop Expo’s popularity to the Alerus Center. “It’s a great venue. It’s very warm, clean and bright,” he says.

This year’s show also includes its traditional emphasis on presentations geared specifically to small grain, potato, soybean and dry bean production. Most of the presenters are Extension Service scientists or agribusiness representatives.

At 9 a.m. Feb. 15, John Keeling, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Potato Council, will speak. The Washington, D.C.-based organization advocates for the economic well-being of U.S. potato growers on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental and trade issues.

At 1 p.m. Feb. 15, Jay Lehr gives a keynote address on “What Agriculture Can Expect from Washington.” Lehr is an economist and futurist who speaks frequently to farm groups.

At 1 p.m. Feb. 16, Frayne Olson gives a keynote address on how ag producers can be more competitive in land rent negotiations by improving communications with current and perspective landlords. Olson is the crop economist/marketing specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

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