Learning Center Sessions
In-depth discussions of current issues and topics that have a direct impact on your farm. Sessions are led by industry experts and fellow farmers. Topics include production, soil health, new uses, policy, the future of farming, marketing, weather and more. Offered on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27
8:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
The Ag Economy Barometer: Lessons from 2017 and Strategies for 2018
Crop budgets and commodity prices in early 2017 were a near repeat of the tough financial conditions producers faced at the beginning of 2016. However, producers were more optimistic in early 2017. From attendance at land auctions to activity at equipment dealerships, anecdotal evidence early in 2017 hinted that producers were hopeful about what 2017, and beyond, had in store.
In this session, a panel of experts from Purdue University and CME Group will share the key lessons from 2017 and help producers plan for the financial realities of 2018. It will feature the latest data from the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, providing an update on producers’ management plans and expectations for 2018.
9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Locking in Your Legacy: What to Anticipate in Ag 2028
Sponsored by Syngenta
Growers have experienced significant changes in their farming operations over the years. From changing pest pressures and unpredictable weather conditions, to precision planting and new technologies, farming today isn’t the same today as it was 10 years ago. Experts who study farming trends and technologies predict even more dramatic changes in agriculture in the next decade. What will the scope of farming look like in the future? This session will explore the factors — like weed resistance, ecological changes and high-tech solutions — and identify the key strategies and transformative technologies in the pipeline that growers can use to ensure their farms are set for a more long-term, successful future.
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
MAIN STAGE: Learning Center Session: Power to the Plant–Set Record Yields For Your Farm
Sponsored by StollerUSA
Panelists: Kris Ehler, Ehler Brothers Company in Thomasboro, Ill.;
Focus on how growers can proactively direct crop development to reach record yields for their farms. Among the diverse group of panelists will be Kris Ehler, of Ehler Brothers Company in Thomasboro, Ill., a pioneer in early planted soybeans who has helped one of his growers achieve 100+ bushel soybeans the past two years; and JR Bollinger, of Sikeston, Mo., who has won six state corn and sorghum yield titles over the past three years. The session will feature audience participation and be moderated by Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Ken Root.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
MAIN STAGE: Learning Center Session: Harnessing the Power of Digital to Solve Agriculture’s Most Complex Challenges
Sponsored by DuPont
Speakers: Sid Gorham, CEO, Granular, Inc. and Digital Agriculture Leader, DuPont; Lane Arthur, Director, Digital Solutions, John Deere;
Discussion of the benefits of data-driven agriculture—connecting growers, input, technology, equipment and service providers, public and private data, and other stakeholders to improve the sustainability, productivity and livelihoods of those who produce food and agricultural products, as well as consumers and users of these products. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the digital landscape and opportunities for engagement.
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Grain Markets and The Hotel California
Sponsored by DTN/The Progressive Farmer
Speaker: Darin Newsom, Senior Analyst, DTN/The Progressive Farmer
Grain markets seem to have checked into someplace they like. A place they can never leave. Increasing global stocks and tentative world trade agreements continue to hold grain prices near multi-year lows, looking for a passage back to the place they were before. Attendees to this session will gain a better understanding of market structure, market types, and how all of this intertwines with standard supply and demand information.
Ag Technology: Shaping the Now and the Future of Farming
Sponsored by WinField United
Ag technology is an investment, but the risk of not adopting it could be more costly. Farmers have access to advancing technology such as in-season satellite imagery, tissue sampling data analysis, forecasting and modeling tools and spray drift monitoring, among other precision agriculture tools. Ag technology gives farmers complete access to a year-round look at their fields to help them develop precise, individualized crop management strategies and make in-season decisions to produce and protect maximum yield potential. This session will provide a state of the ag tech industry update and lend insight into how future innovations will shape the tools available to farmers and their operations.
Leaving a Legacy on Your Farm through the Soil
Sponsored by Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Program; NACHURS; The Fertilizer Institute
The intersection of soil health, 4R (Right fertilizer source, at the Right rate, at the Right time and in the Right place) nutrient management, and conservation practices: learn how these stewardship programs work together as a system. “Just one” is not the answer!
You are not alone in this long-term process of ensuring your farm’s future for generations to come. A Certified Crop Adviser can help you plan and implement the agronomic practices that keep nutrients in your field, improve crop yields, and increase on-farm profit. Learn more about the nutrient management specialty along with some nutrient management strategies. The 2018 recipient of the International Certiﬁed Crop Adviser (ICCA) of the Year Award will be recognized during this session. The award celebrates outstanding individual proﬁciency and industry leadership.
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Hot Topics from Our Nation’s Capital 2018
Sponsored by John Deere
Speakers: Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director of Congressional Affairs, American Farm Bureau Federation;
Moderator: Sara Wyant, President, Agri-Pulse Communications
This panel of DC insiders will discuss what is certain to be a game-changing year in Washington. Will Congress finish the Farm Bill reauthorization before it expires in September? How will low commodity prices affect decision-making? What new issues will emerge and surprise us all? This highly ranked “hot topics” panel will cover all of the issues farmers are talking about and what decision makers are doing about them. Join us to hear about Washington policies that will affect your farming operation in 2018 and beyond!
Practical Approaches for Cover Crops and Soil Health
Sponsored by North Dakota Corn Council; North Dakota Soybean Council; North Dakota Wheat Commission
Panelists: Lee Briese, Independent Crop Consultant with Centrol Ag in North Dakota and 2017 International Certified Crop Advisor of the Year;
Moderator: Dr. Abbey Wick, Assistant Professor of Soil Health-Extension, NDSU
Practical approaches for incorporating soil health building practices need to consider climate, soil type, rotation, herbicide program, fertility, yield, timing and equipment – there is nothing simple about this system! This is why it can be overwhelming to get started with using some of these practices. North Dakota consultants and farmers along with NDSU research and extension will use a panel format to share how we are using these practices along with the thought process behind why we choose specific cover crop mixes or tillage practices. We’ll also talk about ideas for equipment modifications.
Consider Corn Challenge
Sponsored by National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)
Discussion of NCGA’s “Consider Corn Challenge”, an open innovation contest designed to identify new ways to convert corn and/or existing products made from corn into economically viable bio-sustainable chemicals. The contest was open to U.S. and internationally based submissions to identify ideas with the most potential to add future incremental corn grind. NCGA will publicly announce winning submissions for the first time during this session, along with background information on each project. Learn about new and potential growth opportunities for corn within the bio-sustainable chemical industry.
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
What’s a Guy Gotta Do to Get a Drought Around Here?
Sponsored by DTN/The Progressive Farmer
Speaker: Bryce Anderson, Senior Agriculture Meteorologist, DTN/The Progressive Farmer
While some areas had rough weather events in 2017, crop conditions were generally favorable. Will we see a seventh season of generally good weather, and high crop production, in 2018? Come hear the latest expectations for spring planting and the growing season, plus an update on weather conditions for grain production regions around the globe.
Anderson and the DTN weather team build crop forecasts based on public weather and commercially available data and the company’s network of some 5,000 on-farm weather stations. They continue to lead the nation on discerning what early weather pattern signs spell for crop conditions, and market prices, in the U.S. and around the globe.
Around the World With U.S. Soy
Sponsored by U.S. Soybean Export Council
Via video conference: Brent Babb, Regional Director, European Union / Middle East - North Africa, USSEC;
Learn about the importance of U.S. soy exports. What are the tactics and strategies that the U.S. soy industry uses to create a preference for U.S. soy? Sixty percent of the soybean crop goes overseas. This year, more than 68 million metric tons of U.S. soy from our 569,998 soybean farmers will reach international markets. Serving over 80 countries around the world, our customers choose U.S. soy for our exceptional composition, consistent supply, sustainable farming practices, and innovation. Join us on the journey of U.S. soy.
From Farm Field to Capitol Hill: Implementing and Advocating for the Right Practices
Sponsored by The Fertilizer Institute
Whether it is the Farm Bill, state legislation or local watershed plans, as constituents, farmers are the best advocates to ensure the right policies are in place for agriculture. But, to be a good advocate you need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Good advocates take action, both in the field by implementing the right practices and on Capitol Hill by working to educate policymakers. Join us to hear from a panel of experts on how pairing conservation and advocacy through 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right fertilizer source, at the Right rate, at the Right time and in the Right place) can benefit your entire bottom line.
Thursday, March 1
8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
The Rise of Rural America: What’s on the Horizon
Sponsored by Farm Credit
Speakers: Brian Cavey, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, CoBank;
The 2016 election shined a light on Rural America and the issues affecting it. What’s it going to take to rebuild Rural America? How do we address the economic divide? This session will address how policy and public/private funding efforts can affect rural America now, while securing the future for agriculture and the rural communities it calls home. Our speakers will bring a unique perspective not only on policy, but also how rural America is impacting the future for young and beginning farmers. The session will focus on solutions and ways to impact the future of agriculture and rural America.
The Ultimate Watch List for 2018 Grain Marketing
Sponsored by Stewart-Peterson
Speaker: Naomi Blohm, Senior Market Analyst, Stewart-Peterson
Join veteran Senior Market Analyst Naomi Blohm as she explains the nine grain marketing fundamentals you need to watch as you prepare to price your corn, soybeans, sorghum and wheat. She’ll incorporate various futures and options strategies you can use (and understand) to supplement your marketing plan, leaving you more confident than ever before regardless of which grain marketing scenarios unfold.
The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund: How Growers Can Support Honeybee Health and Monarch Recovery
Sponsored by National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)
Speaker: Peter Berthelsen, President at Conservation Blueprint, LLC and Partnership Coordinator for the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund
NCGA is working with The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund to recruit growers into conservation programs aimed at increasing habitat for pollinators and Monarchs—and helping mitigate criticism of production agriculture as an influence on colony collapse disorder and declines in Monarch populations. Early results of the Honey Bee Health Coalition’s “Bee Integrated” program will be shared. Growers will learn about eligibility for pollinator pilot programs to enhance their Conservation Reserve Program.
Six Secrets to Producing High Yielding Soybeans
Sponsored by Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program
Speaker: Fred Below, Ph.D., Professor of Plant Physiology & Principal Investigator, University of Illinois
Dr. Fred Below will present research results on “The Six Secrets of Soybean Success”, a concept focused on identifying strategies for producing high-yield soybeans. The results come from research he has conducted since 2012 with funding from the Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program and other industry partners. The Six Secrets approach demonstrates how growers can bring together technologies and management practices for increasing soybean yields based on which combinations deliver the greatest yield and return on investment. Additionally, Dr. Below will share key insights on variety selection and supplemental nitrogen application on soybeans.
10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
MAIN STAGE: Learning Center Session: Take Action on Pesticide Resistance – Management Strategies for 2018 and Beyond
Sponsored by United Soybean Board
Take Action is a farmer-focused education platform designed to help farmers manage herbicide, fungicide and insecticide resistance. Hear from the Take Action program on the latest strategies for technology stewardship and managing resistance development to herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Closing Learning Center Session
Learn From the Masters
Sponsored by AgriGold
Speakers: Randy Dowdy, Farmer from Ga., and NCGA Corn Yield Champion & current
Dan Luepkes, Farmer from IIl., and NCGA Corn Yield Champion;
Perry Galloway, Farmer from Ark., and NCGA Corn and Soybean Yield Champion;
Terry Vissing, Farmer from Ind. and NCGA Corn and Sorghum Yield Champion
The most successful growers have more in common than just the high-yielding seed they use. That’s because they all know maximizing their acres is a team effort. That it takes a combination of the best genetics, know-how, and true partnership to be a Yield Master. If you are interested and committed to trying something new and willing to be a student of the crop, you are invited to attend this Yield Master panel and learn from some of the nation’s top growers and their approach to growing high-yielding crops. Join us for this Closing Learning Center Session that will leave you inspired, informed and ready to Grow Beyond!