Prairie Grains returns to Grand Forks
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A staple of the area farm meeting season is returning, this time with a special first-day addition. The 2017 Prairie Grain Conference -- considered by some to be the unofficial start of the farm meeting season in northeast No...
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - A staple of the area farm meeting season is returning, this time with a special first-day addition.
The 2017 Prairie Grain Conference - considered by some to be the unofficial start of the farm meeting season in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota - will be held Dec. 13-14 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.
About 900 people typically attend the annual two-day event, which crosses state and commodity lines. A blizzard hurt attendance in 2016, especially on the first day. Though some individual sessions were cancelled, the event was still held.
This year, "We think Prairie Grains will be interesting and useful, especially with what we've added on Wednesday (day one)," says David Torgerson, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, one of seven conference partners.
The others are the North Dakota Barley Council, the Minnesota Barley Council, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Northland Community & Technical College, Minnesota Farm Bureau and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.
The conference begins Dec. 13 with grower and industry meetings. Registration and breakfast start at 8 a.m., with research reports and small-group discussions following from 8:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
New this year is the Ag Peer Group Meeting, which runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Dec. 13. The session features several ag group officials who work with the public and policymakers. They'll examine "Investing in Agriculture's Future: Discussions for the Next Generation of Farmers and Ag Professionals."
Though aimed primarily at younger farmers and ag professionals, the event will benefit older producers, too, Torgerson says.
"They (younger producers) will do most of the talking. We (older agriculturalists) will listen and learn from them," he said with a chuckle.
Many of the Prairie Grains sessions involve wheat, barley and soybeans. But the event features a wide range of topics and issues, as the Investing in Ag's Future meeting indicates.
Thursday, Dec. 14 activities begin at 7 a.m. with more research reporting sessions.
Three keynote speeches dominate Thursday morning.
At 9:15 a.m., Daryl Ritchison will speak on the 2018 weather outlook and how this winter and the next growing season will be affected. Ritchison is meteorologist and interim director of the North Dakota State University NDAWN, or North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.
At 9:55 a.m., Don Wick will examine "Agriculture's Dilemma: Changing Public Values around Food and Environment." Wick is a farm broadcaster with the Red River Farm Network.
At 10:05 a.m., Greg Page will speak on "Dealing with a Wicked Problem." The North Dakota native is a retired chairman and CEO of Cargill.
"Since he retired, he's been speaking about some of the challenges that agriculturalists face. We're glad to have him," Torgerson said.
At 1:15 p.m., Dec. 14, the popular panel discussion on "Grain Marketing Actions That Make a Difference" will be held.
Dec. 14 activities include several sessions on canola, a crop generating more interest in northwest Minnesota, Torgerson said.
For more information go to www.smallgrains.org .