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Published December 10, 2012, 10:37 AM

'Meeting season' kicks off

If you want to learn more about wheat or soybeans — or agriculture in general — seven area ag organizations have a conference for you.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

If you want to learn more about wheat or soybeans — or agriculture in general — seven area ag organizations have a conference for you.

The annual Prairie Grains Conference, the unofficial kick-off of the area’s ag meeting season, will be held Dec. 12 and 13 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D. More than 700 people and 50 exhibitors are expected to attend.

Conference topics will include wheat, soybeans, weather, marketing, precision agriculture, taxes, financial records, a post-election farm bill analysis and crop insurance, among other things.

Conference partners are the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota Barley Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion council, Northland Community & Technical College Farm Business Management and the North Dakota Barley Council.

“We grow so many crops in North Dakota. It’s good to have a conference where you can learn about more than just one crop,” says Brad Thykeson, a Portland, N.D., farmer and president of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

“Working with our fellow farm organizations in Minnesota is another reason we got involved,” he says.

He notes that the conference will be the first in the region’s upcoming meeting season, as farmers and others involved in ag often refer to the many winter ag meetings, seminars and conferences.

The Prairie Grains Conference begins Dec. 12 with grower and industry meetings that are open to everyone.

On Dec. 13, specialized sessions on wheat and soybeans begin at 7:10 a.m. The general program begins at 9:10 a.m. with a welcome by Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner.

Dec. 13 sessions include:

•9:30 a.m. — A look back at 2012 weather and a look ahead at 2013 weather. The presenter is Leon Osborne, president and CEO of Meridian Environmental Technology.

•10 a.m. — A look at how Burlington Northern Santa Fe puts together its demand forecasting model. The presenter is Kevin Kaufman, group vice president for agricultural commodities at BNSF.

•1:30 p.m. — A report on the consolidation of the fertilizer and energy companies and how that will impact input prices, both now and in the future. The presenter is Jay Debertin executive vice president and chief operating officer of energy and foods at CHS Inc.