Central Plains Ag Services


Big Iron: Education a focus at 35th annual festival

WEST FARGO, N.D. — The Big Iron Farm Show is known for the informal education in the aisles, but also more structured education from experts in the North Dakota State University Extension Service and other big thinkers, brought in by agricultural news media.

Field demonstrations from Sept. 15 to 17 at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo are held daily from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., near the grandstand.

NDSU speakers will be featured in the first half hour of the field demonstrations, and will be available in the Hartl Ag Building entryway, in booths AL 10 to AL12. Displays are open Sept. 15 and Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Specialists are from various disciplines.

Storage, weeds

Ken Hellevang, agricultural engineer, again will be available to discuss the feasibility of alternative grain storage facilities. Producers will need to address numerous factors this year, and Hellevang will be available for questions and consultation Sept. 15 and 16.

Another presenter of special interest this year is likely to be Tom Peters, sugar beet agronomist for NDSU and the University of Minnesota. He’ll offer input about weed management issues in the age of herbicide resistance.

“It’s part of a continued effort to create awareness,” Peters says. “The first part of a weeds management strategy is to come to grips with and realize, ‘I have to make a change; I have to do something different.’ ”

He says the issue is broader than herbicide-resistant waterhemp, which has jumped 90 miles north of Fargo to the Grafton, N.D., area in the Red River Valley.

“It’s also kochia and common ragweed, too,” he says.

Other experts on tap include:

  • Andrew Swenson, farm and family resource management specialist, and Dwight Aakre, farm management specialist, will be available to answer questions based on their analysis of 2014 farm program choices.

  • Esther McGinnis, an extension horticulturist, and other extension agents, will answer questions about their specialties.

  • An NDSU Extension Service program called Design Your Succession Plan will have a display and will answer questions.

  • David Lehman, a manufacturing specialist, will demonstrate three-dimensional printing and talk about its applications in business and industry, including agriculture.

  • Soil health and unmanned aircraft system experts from the university will discuss applications.

Seminar topics

A separate set of educational seminars is coordinated by the Red River Farm Network, at its Issues and Events Center tent in the middle of the Big Iron grounds between the Commercial Building and Agriculture Building. The day-by-day program includes:

Sept. 15

  • 10:30 a.m. — The Perspective from USDA: This seminar originally featured Val Dolcini, Farm Service Agency administrator, but a conflict might require a replacement, perhaps with Mike Schmidt, deputy administrator for farm programs, according to FSA sources. The presenter likely will focus on answering questions regarding timing of farm program support, and how payments are triggered for various program options.

  • 1:30 p.m. — Market Seminar, featuring Kent Beadle, Russell Consulting Group; Christian Mayer, Northstar Commodity; and Bret Oelke, Innovus Agra.

  • 2:30 p.m. — Land Values Seminar.

Sept. 16

  • 10:30 a.m. — Agricultural Weather Outlook: This seminar features Leon Osborne from the University of North Dakota, who will likely discuss the implications of the El Nino climate phenomenon on the region’s 2016 cropping season.

  • 1:30 p.m. — Market Seminar: Experts include Bryan Doherty, Stewart Peterson; Craig Haugaard, North Central Farmers Elevator; Tommy Grisafi, Advance Trading.

  • 2:30 p.m. — Land Values Seminar.

Sept. 17

  • 10:30 a.m. — Strategies for Tighter Margins: Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo; Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University.

  • 1:30 p.m. — Market Outlook: Ted Selfried, Zaner Ag Hedge; Phillip Claussen, FCStone; Ed Usset, University of Minnesota. 

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