Beginning Farmers Conference Feb. 7 at Ames

Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.

Published on: Jan 23, 2009

An agenda of timely topics will be featured at the 2009 Beginning Farmers Conference to be held Feb. 7 at Iowa State University in Ames. This fourth annual conference is sponsored by the Beginning Farmers Network at ISU.

The day-long event will be at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center. Registration runs from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and there will be three educational sessions throughout the day. Several breaks during the day will provide networking opportunities. Lunch is provided.

"You can select from a variety of topics presented at the different breakout sessions," says Correy Rahn, an ISU ag student and BFN member who is helping coordinate this year's event. "All of the topics to be covered are very important to farmers and agriculture in 2009. With dramatic rises in production costs and the high-risk environment we have today, risk management has taken on even greater importance and our topics and speakers will focus on that."

* Breakout session #1: Topics are: Livestock Marketing, with ISU economist Dr. John Lawrence, director of the Iowa Beef Center; Value Added Agriculture opportunities will be presented by Paul Mugge of Practical Farmers of Iowa; Technology - How much is too much? - will be covered by Mark Hanna, ISU Extension ag engineer.

* Breakout session #2: Topics are: To Expand or Maintain the Farm Operation? - by Eric Walhof, chair of the Iowa Ag Committee; Livestock Marketing with John Lawrence; Cutting N, P & K Fertilizer Rates - Is it really worth it? - by Dr. Antonio Mallarino, ISU soil fertility and nutrient management specialist.
* Breakout session #3: Topics are: Grain Marketing by Chad Hart, ISU Extension economist who also works with the Center for Ag and Rural Development at ISU. Tax Management will be covered by Dr. Roger McEowen of the Center of Agricultural Law and Taxation at ISU. Cutting N, P & K Fertilizer Rates - Is it really worth it? - by Antonio Mallarino.

Also on the afternoon program, after the final breakout session, is Brian Gossling, farm loan program director for USDA. He'll discuss Beginning Farmer Loans and the Farm Bill. The conference is scheduled to adjourn at 4 p.m.

Please pre-register online for the conference

You can register online at or call 515-294-6222. The registration fee is $35 if you register on or before February 2. The fee covers all conference materials, lunch and networking breaks. All registrations submitted after February 2, 2009 will be charged an additional $10 late fee.

The purpose of the Beginning Farmer Network at ISU is to assist young people in getting started in farming today. BFN is a club that holds educational meetings on campus and works closely with the Beginning Farmer Center, also located at ISU. The center assists beginning farmers throughout Iowa in several ways. For example, the Beginning Farmer Center has a program to try to get young people who want to farm connected with older, retiring farmers.

"Many young people today don't have access to land or don't have a family opportunity to get involved in farming," notes Mike Duffy, an ISU Extension farm economist and director of the Beginning Farmer Center. "Our program aims to link the beginning farmers with older farmers who are looking for someone to work with them and eventually, possibly take over the operation and carry it on in the future." Duffy is also the faculty adviser for the BFN at ISU.