Michigan State University Extension expo offers long-term view for farmers, ag professionals

The Michigan Ag Commodities Educational Expo will take place on Jan. 26, 2012, at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich.

Whether you’re talking about the weather or government regulations, agriculture’s changing climate continues to challenge Michigan farmers. That’s why Michigan State University (MSU) Extension is bringing farmers and agriculture professionals with interests in various, major agricultural commodities together to learn more about the changes on the horizon. The Michigan Ag Commodities Educational Expo will take place on Jan. 26, 2012, at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich.

“We are looking forward to having knowledgeable speakers presenting to such a diverse agriculture audience,” said Dale Rozeboom, MSU professor and MSU Extension specialist. “So often we have great speakers at our individual winter commodity meetings. This expo allows people from all ag sectors to come together in one setting, hear the very best speakers and get the latest information on a variety of important topics.”

At the expo, MSU economists and MSU Extension specialists Jim Hilker and Chris Wolf will be discussing market outlook for grains, meat, milk, hay and eggs. Hilker and Wolf, who also has MSU AgBioResearch funding, have previously been speakers atMSU agricultural economics events. The two professors will be explaining the key factors affecting the future of agriculture. Kurt Thelen, MSU professor and MSU AgBioResearch scientist, will lead a producer panel in a discussion of lessons learned from the 2011 planting season. Thelen has conducted research at MSU on the quality of various bioenergy resources and has published articles explaining how biofuels are safer for our environment than traditional fuel sources.

Sally Shaver, a former employee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who worked at the agency for more than 30 years, will talk about the impact new air regulations may have on food prices and farm incomes. Shaver has spoken on numerous occasions regarding new EPA policies.

Representatives of Sen. Debbie Stabenow will be discussing the new federal farm bill, which provides funding to farmers.

Curtis Talley, MSU Extension educator, will draw from real-world experiences to explain all of the negotiations and calculations that go into oil and gas leasing.

“We hope to provide those who attend with critical information to help prepare for years to come,” said Rozeboom. “It can be easy to focus on immediate production practices, but with the expo, we want to have a venue where Michigan agriculture gets a view from the mountaintop and together evaluates broad perspectives: economic, governmental, environmental, nutritional and social strategies for the future. If we stay aware of what is coming, then we will able to be able to make smoother transitions in our business plans.”

The presentations will be beneficial for agriculture decision makers including owners of Michigan farms, business consultants for farms and farm executives. These agriculture professionals will gain insight on the future of the agriculture industry, including business management, reducing carbon footprint and more.

The Michigan Ag Commodity Educational Expo takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The registration fee is $90. Those who register before Jan. 1 get a discounted rate of $75. You can register electronically by visiting http://bit.ly/MACEE, or you can register by contacting Megghan Honke at honkemeg@msu.edu or 517-353-3175, ext. 229. 

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