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Wheat U offers focused educational opportunity

BISMARCK, N.D. — The High Plains Journal, Agweek and BASF brought an educational opportunity for wheat growers to North Dakota for the first time on Jan. 17.

Held at the Bismarck Event Center, Wheat U featured presentations from BASF scientists and North Dakota State University Extension professionals, as well as conversations with wheat growers, wheat users and other industry officials.

Dan Wogsland, executive director of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association, gave the keynote speech at the event on the state of the wheat industry and domestic concerns. He provided attendees with information on what to look for this year at the North Dakota Legislature as well as some information on what his organization does.

Many presentations at Wheat U focused on wheat health, from fertilizer timing to fungicide use to weed and disease control. Frayne Olson, Extension crop economist/marketing specialist, looked at the impacts of tariffs and trade on wheat. To end the day, Mike Frohlich of Laughing Sun Brewery talked about the use of wheat in craft brewing and what breweries are looking for in wheat.

Dan Wogsland speaks at Wheat U in Bismarck, N.D.Growers at the event seemed to like the specialized education it offered. Delane Scherbenske of Lehr, N.D., said he came to learn about marketing, politics and increasing production.

"Right now, there's no room for error. You have to be on top of every aspect of the production side of it, the political, everything," he said.

"Numbers are going to be tight," said Ashley Mutschelknaus of Elgin, N.D.

Adam Bettenhausen of Wishek, N.D., said he learned some lessons that could make improvement to his bottom line, including proper fungicide application timing.

"That could add up to $10, $20 an acre easily," he said.

Agweek and High Plains Journal will bring you more on the presentations at Wheat U in the coming weeks.