Beginning Farmers Conference Set For Feb. 3 Iowa Secretary of Ag Bill Northey will keynote beginning farmer event at Ames. Published on: Jan 30, 2007 Tweet Post to Your Wall. Email Story RSS Permalink Print Iowa's new Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey will deliver the keynote address Feb. 3 at the second Beginning Farmers Conference. The first conference was held at Iowa State University a year ago. The Beginning Farmers Network at ISU will host the conference in the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center. Northey will discuss pressing issues affecting beginning farmers, as well as his goals and vision for Iowa agriculture. The conference offers information and updates for all farmers, not just those starting out. Steve Fales, associate director of ISU's Office of Biorenewables Program, will present "The Bioeconomy's Impact on the Future of Agriculture in Iowa." Participants also will hear a panel discussion with beginning farmers from around Iowa sharing their experiences as they started farming. They will comment on successes and pitfalls, as well as opportunities they see in ag. Timely topics will be covered Breakout sessions will cover a variety of topics. Some specific sessions aimed at beginning farmers includes the Farm Service Agency's Beginning Farmer Loan Program and multigenerational farm planning. Another session of potential interest to producers is "Being a Good Neighbor." A list of all the conference topics and speakers is available at the Beginning Farmer Center website: www.extension.iastate.edu/bfc. The conference offers many opportunities for networking among peers, BFN's main goal when it was formed nearly five years ago. The cost of the conference, which includes sessions, materials, breaks and lunch, is $25 before Jan. 26, and $35 after that date or at the door. BFN is a student-run organization that offers students who plan to pursue a career in production agriculture a network of beginning farmers and experts who can share their ideas and concerns.