Iowa Beginning Farmer Network Conference is Feb. 6 at Ames

Iowa Beginning Farmer Network Conference is Feb. 6 at Ames

Annual event is for want-to-be farmers as well as experienced farmers to come together, network and share ideas.

Whether you are a beginning farmer, an experienced farmer or someone with hopes of farming in the future, the 2016 Beginning Farmers Conference is for you. Scheduled for Feb. 6, this year’s conference will again be held at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. And Wallaces Farmer magazine is a long-time supporter of this annual event.

GETTING STARTED: The Beginning Farmers Network is a student-run organization at ISU that supports students and others interested in a career in production agriculture, including those intending to return to the home farm someday or perhaps work for a farmer to gain experience.

The 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, BFN provides a way for these young people to meet and be encouraged by others with similar interests. Once the student BFN members graduate from college, the organization provides these members with a network of individuals to correspond with and talk to about issues they are facing as young farmers.

Sessions and topics are also of interest to established farmers

“The Beginning Farmers Conference is geared specifically toward beginning farmers, but this year’s conference has sessions valuable to established farmers as well,” says Jared Wellik, an ISU ag student from Woden and one of the organizers. This year’s conference has a line-up of relevant topics and interesting speakers.

The Saturday, Feb. 6 event begins with registration from 8:30 to 9 a.m. Keynote speaker David Kruse of CommStock, a commodity marketing advisory service, is first on the program, speaking from 9:15 to 10 a.m. Two breakout sessions are next on the morning program. Lunch is at noon, followed by a third breakout session from 1 to 1:45 p.m., and then the conference concludes.

Topics include transitioning the farm to the next generation

Breakout session speakers and topics for this year’s conference include: ISU Extension economist Chad Hart, grain marketing; ISU Extension economist Lee Schulz, livestock marketing; a representative of Flint Hills Resources, ethanol and renewable fuels; ISU Extension farm management specialist Steve Johnson, managing financial risk; David Baker, ISU Beginning Farmer Center, transitioning the next generation.

“Making the transition of a farm from one generation to the next requires a good team, good teamwork and a solid plan,” says Baker. “There are a lot of things to consider and, including a systematic transfer of assets from the farm owner to the successor.”

He works with farmers of all ages in establishing farm succession plans through the Ag Link program, which matches non-related parties involved in business succession. Baker helps match retiring farmers who are looking to pass along the farm to young farmers. The program works with farmers who might not have family members to take over the farm.

Building a team of advisers and setting a solid plan are key

Putting together a team of advisers and establishing a solid succession plan are key steps to take in successfully transferring a farming operation from one generation to the next. “Family issues need to be addressed,” says Baker. “The key to a good succession plan is being able to distinguish between the two.” Baker will discuss that topic and more during his presentation at the upcoming 2016 BFN Conference.

Cost to attend the BFN conference Feb. 6 at Ames is $40 for adults, $20 for students (includes lunch). If you have questions, contact Jared Wellik at [email protected], 515-928-7665; or Tim Riessen at [email protected], 712-790-1838.

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