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Montana Grain Growers Association to hold 58th annual convention

If early response is a barometer of success, the Montana Grain Growers Association 2013 Convention and Trade Show will be very successful. Scheduled December 3-5 at the Best Western Heritage Inn in Great Falls, Montana, it is already filled with the best in agriculture. An informative lineup of speakers is set and the trade show booths are all filled.

“It doesn’t take a microscope to see that this year’s convention has heavy leanings towards agricultural research,” said Matt Flikkema, the MGGA vice-president and chairman of this year’s convention.

Flikkema also serves as chairman of MGGA’s research committee and is the organization’s representative on the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station Advisory Council. He has brought his own, unique touch to the convention.

The theme of the convention is “Finding Tomorrow’s Answers Today.” Flikkema and others have put together an agenda that will share the latest research and give farmers answers on how to feed a growing world population.

“Although speakers’ faces change with every MGGA Convention, the wealth of knowledge received by those who attend and hear those speakers is priceless,” said Flikkema.

This year will provide another priceless opportunity to learn from a variety of top-level speakers.

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the convention will open at 8 a.m. with Gary Brester, from MSU. He will discuss “Finanaical management for Beginning Agricultural Producers.”

After a break for lunch, “Montana Ag Live” will begin at 1 p.m. to discuss issues related to wheat and barley production and on the alternative crops becoming more prevalent in Montana cropping rotations. It will be hosted by Jack Riesselman, a plant sciences and plant pathology professor at Montana State University. Questions from the audience will be answered by a hand-picked panel of MSU agriculture research specialist who will be there with Riesselman.

A 3 p.m., industry research experts Rollie Sears, Syngenta, and Jason Cook, WestBred, will discuss the strides being made in wheat and grains research worldwide. They will be followed by Rollin Sears, from Syngenta. He will discuss “Is Wheat Finally Getting Techy?”

On Wednesday, Dec. 4, the day will begin with a breakfast buffet at 7 a.m., followed at 8 a.m. by speaker Jim Bower. He will discuss agricultural commodities market insights based on the most recent analysis of the markets from a global perspective. Bower is president of Bower Trading, Inc.

The trade show will open at 9 a.m. then, at 10 a.m., the discussion will be by the state hail board. Brester will also be back at that time to continue his financial advice.

A lunch will begin at noon and Waded Cruzado, president of MSU, will discuss “MSU’s Million Dollar Milestone.”

“Debunking Ag Myths” is up next with MSU/WSU professor Jude Capper. He will take a scientific, no-nonsense approach to debunk some of the more commonly heard agricultural myths.

At 2 p.m., Mike Hoffman, Ag Day TV’s weatherman, will look back on weather trends and share his thoughts on the future in his presentation entitled, “Wild World of Weather.”

A Montana Agriculture Safety Seminary will begin at 3:30 p.m. Then, at 4 p.m. Anton Bekkerman, from MSU, will discuss the “Economic Impacts of the Wheat Stem Sawfly.” Sawfly has really taken a bite out of Montana producers’ pocketbooks and Bekkerman will share the latest findings.

NAWG president Bing Von Bergen will take the podium at 4:30 p.m. Von Bergen has fought for Montana growers in Washington D.C., and he will be joined by Joe Schultz, Senate Ag Committee chief economist. Schultz has been leading recent Farm Bill negotiations. Both will discuss the 2013 Farm Bill and what it will mean for Montana producers and their operations.

That night, the Wheat Advocacy Auction will begin at 7 p.m.

The last day of the convention will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5 and will start with a breakfast buffet at 7 a.m. At 7:15, Glenn Duff will start the learning. Duff is the interim dean and director of MSU’s College of Ag and is excited about what is happening at Montana’s land-grant college.

At 8:15 there will be a chance for attendees to “Grill the MGGA Officers.” They will be able to ask questions and get answers straight from the MGGA officers.

At 10 a.m., Sterling Liddell will speak. He is president of Rabo AgriFinance and Rabobank International in its Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory Department. He will offer cutting edge information and professional analysis of global trading partners, interest rates, land purchases, crop prices and the strength of the U.S. dollar.

John Deere’s product marketing manager Jarred Karnei will follow at 11 a.m. Karnei is over Region 4, which covers the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Karnei makes it his job to be sure farmers are not sitting on the sidelines while a technological world passes them by. He will share the latest in farm equipment technology that is helping farmers farm more efficiently for their family and for the world.

During the lunch hour, Montana governor Steve Bullock will address the “State of Montana Agriculture.”

Chief legal counsel for the Montana Department of Agriculture, Cort Jensen, will start the afternoon discussions at 1 p.m. Jensen has much to report from the Montana Department of Agriculture. Jenson is the chief legal counsel for the department and will discuss what has happened with the laws passed during the 2013 Montana Legislature. He will also talk about what else is coming in the future for Montana producers.

At 1:30 p.m., Bob Stougaard, superintendent at the Northwestern Agriculture Research Center in Kalispell, will report about the Orange Wheat Blossom Midge. This pest has recently set up home in Montana and is making inroads into the Golden Triangle. Individual management tactics have merit, but it may take a group effort. He will discuss what producers can do to help stop this devastating pest.

Montana crops have become as diversified as its landscape. Pulses, oilseeds and corn dot the farmscape as farmers step away from traditional cereal grains to try growing crops they hope will bring in more of a cash return. To help Montana producers understand this growing opportunity, MGGA will present a panel of Montana producers who have found success in growing corn. The panel discussion will begin at 2:15.

The convention will end with an MSU Reception at 5:30 and a banquet with magical entertainment at 6:30 p.m.

“Some things that don’t change at our annual convention are the enjoyment of visiting with fellow farmers from around the state,” said Flikkem, who also noted that the topics and speakers change each year.

Flikkem also mentioned the resolutions process is another vital component of the convention. “That helps us set your organization’s policy for the coming year. Producers, we need your presence, your input, your votes, to keep our resolutions sound and balanced.” He urged producers to “come hear, come learn and come be a part of the Montana Grain Growers Association 2013 Convention.”

For more information about registration and prices for members and non-members, log onto Three private and six government pesticide applicator credits can be earned at selected sessions during the convention. Registrants can see which sessions qualify at the convention web site.

Source: MGGA and The Prairie Star