Whether you are a beginning farmer, an experienced farmer or someone with hopes of farming in the future, the 2012 Beginning Farmers Conference is for you. Scheduled for February 11, this year's conference will again be held at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.
The annual conference is hosted by the Beginning Farmers Network, a student organization aimed at providing practical knowledge and experiences that will help young adults who are looking to pursue a career in production agriculture. More importantly, the BFN provides a way for these young people to meet and be encouraged by others with similar interests. Once out of college, the network provides members with a group of individuals to correspond with about issues they are facing as young farmers.
Conference isn't just for beginners, established farmers also attend
"Our annual conference provides a time and place for both beginning and experienced farmers to learn about and discuss current issues in farming and agriculture," says Tyler Reimers, chairman of the BFN. Reimers is an ISU ag student from Denison and is one of the organizers of this year's conference. "You don't have to be a beginning farmer to attend. Established farmers also come to this annual conference," he notes.
This year's conference has a lineup of very relevant and practical topics, presented by knowledgeable speakers. "After a light breakfast, we are excited to start the day by hearing from Don Van Houweling, president of Van Wall Group," says Reimers.
Next is a breakout session offering three topics: The CSR2 System, presented by ISU agronomy professor Lee Burras; Entrepreneurship in Agriculture discussed by Kevin Kimle, who heads the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative in the department of economics at ISU; and Opportunities in Livestock Production will be presented by a representative of the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers. The morning's second breakout session will repeat the first one, giving conference attendees a chance to listen to all of the morning speakers and topics.
Number of practical, timely topics covered by knowledgeable speakers
Lunch will be served at the conference. There will be time during the lunch period and during the morning and afternoon breaks between sessions for conference attendees to network with each other and talk to speakers and visit with exhibitors at the exhibits.
For the afternoon breakout session you'll have two topics to choose from: Financing programs for beginning farmers, presented by Jeff Ward, director of the Iowa Ag Development Authority; and Brian Gossling, farm loan program director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa. The second topic is a commodity market outlook with ISU Extension economist Chad Hart.
The day's events will close by hearing from Wendy Wintersteen, Dean of ISU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Mark your calendar, and register now to reserve your place
The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. Lunch is provided courtesy of Syngenta. Registration cost is only $40 or $25 for students, if you register on or before February 1. Registration fees include all conference materials, breakfast and lunch. All registrations submitted after February 1 will be charged an additional $10. Registration at the door is $50.
Visit www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/beginningfarmer/home.html to register online and to see a complete schedule, view directions and get more information. Registration and information is also available by phone at 515-294-6222.
Source: Beginning Farmers Network
The 2012 Beginning Farmers Conference schedule is as follows:
9:00 Keynote speaker
9:45 Networking opportunity
10:00 Breakout Session 1: CSR2 system, entrepreneurship in agriculture, opportunities in livestock production
10:45 Networking opportunity
11:00 Breakout Session 2: CSR2 system, entrepreneurship in agriculture, opportunities in livestock production
1:15 Breakout Session 3: Commodity market outlook, financing programs for beginning farmers
2:00 Networking opportunity
2:15 Keynote speaker
3:00 Closing comments