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Prairie Grains Conference returns Dec. 9 and 10

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The crop season is over and the meeting season is beginning — which means it’s time for another Prairie Grains Conference.

The annual conference, considered by some to kick off the area’s winter agricultural meeting season, is set for Dec. 9 and 10 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D. More than 700 people and 50 exhibitors are expected to attend.

“We think it should be another good event,” says Doyle Lentz, chairman of the North Dakota Barley Council, one of eight groups involved in the conference, which crosses state and commodity lines. “The agenda looks good, we think.”

The other groups are the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota Barley Council, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Northland Community & Technical College, Minnesota Farm Bureau and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

Lentz and others say the event has become a tradition.

“It’s a chance to relax a little, meet some of my friends in farming I haven’t seen for a while and discuss how things are going,” Lentz says.

Prairie Grains features a number of concurrent sessions, so one person can’t attend everything on the agenda. Lentz says a number of farm couples attend the event, with the two spouses taking in different concurrent sessions.

Providing attendees with multiple choices “is a pretty good sign we’re doing something right,” he says.

The conference begins with grower meetings Dec. 9. The meetings, open to everyone, include sessions on malting barley in North Dakota and Minnesota.

“We’ve really seen a resurgence in malting barley in northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, which is great,” Lentz says.

There will be three sessions on Dec. 9, all open to the public, on finding solutions to Red River Valley water quality.

  • 1 p.m.: Minnesota’s New Buffer Legislation — What’s in Store for Farmers?” with Warren Formo, executive director of the Minnesota Agricultural Resource Center.
  • 1:40 p.m.: “Waters of the U.S. — Is It Jurisdictional? Do I Need a Permit?” with Kale R. Van Bruggen, attorney at Rinke Noonan in St. Cloud, Minn.
  • 2:20 p.m.: “Water Quality in the Red River Basin — How Can We Continue to Improve?” with Chuck Fritz, International Water Institute in Fargo, N.D.

Activities on Dec. 10 — all open to the public — begin at 7 a.m. with research reports aimed at wheat and soybean growers. Other highlights include:

  • 9:20 a.m.: 2016 Weather Outlook with Leon Osborne, University of North Dakota professor.
  • 10 a.m.: The Next Decade of Crop Productivity Gains on Your Farm with Kelby Kleinsasser, vice president of business development for Farmers Business Network.
  • 1:15 p.m.: More Things to Keep You Up at Night — Impacts of the Low-Price Environment with Mike Krueger of The Money Farm.

The conference is free to members of the partner organizations, and $25 for non members. The fee can be paid at the door, but preregistration is preferred.

For more information, visit smallgrains.org.

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