2014 Growing Michigan Agriculture Agenda

June 6, 2013

2014 Growing Michigan Agriculture Agenda

The Growing Michigan Agriculture Conference is a multi-commodity conference hosted by Michigan State University Extension, which aims to disseminate cutting-edge information addressing significant issues that will impact Michigan farmers.

On March 5, 2014, farm owners, agribusiness professionals, agricultural decision makers and farm commodity executives, representing livestock, dairy, poultry, field and specialty crops, will gather in East Lansing for the third annual conference. In 2014, the Growing Michigan Agriculture Conference is being conducted jointly with Michigan Farm Bureau’s Winter Commodity and Marketing Conference. Leading experts will address topics that are important for the future of agriculture:

8:30      Registration and networking

9:00      Global Economic Outlook and Impacts on AgricultureBryan Dierlam, Director, Government Affairs, Cargill, will discuss national and international trends that impact agriculture’s future. Global demand for food increases with population growth, economic growth and changing consumer demands their wealth increases. Along with scientific and technical improvements, many policy initiatives must be advanced so food can get from where it is best grown to where it will be consumed. Understanding how trends impact the future of agriculture will help establish a favorable policy and consumer environment that will allow us to meet the food needs of future.

9:45      Antibiotic Use and Resistance – How do We Keep Michigan Agriculture Resilient so it Continues to Grow in the Future?Jim Tiedje, MSU Distinguished Professor, Center for Microbial Ecology.

10:30   Break

10:45   Predicting Availability of Water Resources and Challenges Posed by Changes in Climate and Land UseDavid Hyndman, MSU Department of Geological Sciences, will give an overview on how human activities have a significant impact on regional water resources. This presentation will highlight how the impact of past and projected future activities utilizing water resources are quantified. Predicting those impacts using projected changes in climate and land cover requires methods that characterize variability in subsurface moisture along with models that can simulate hydrology. These predictions will provide critical information for farms with irrigated cropland.

11:30   Farm land is a valuable farm asset – where is the value?Dennis Stein, MSU Extension, will give insight on what seems to have driven farm land prices higher in some areas so quickly while other farming communities have seen only modest increases in farm land values? This presentation will focus on farm land and the value as an investment, as a farm production resource and as an income generating part of the farm portfolio. Current farm land rental rates, where they may be headed and what factors have an impact on changing them in the future will also be discussed.

12:15   Lunch and networking; update from Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)

1:15      Breakout sessionsAnimal, Field Crop and Specialty Crop

  • Animal 
    • Employee Management and Communication Gaps : A New Reality for Dairy Producers – Dr. Ron Erskine, MSU Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, will talk about how the therapy of mastitis is also the single most common reason for antimicrobial use in dairy cattle in North America. In the past quarter century, the average farm has increased reliance on hired labor. English is not the primary language for much of the labor pool. Many dairy producers have evolved their human resource skills to reflect the labor dynamics. The potential role for an improved management culture on dairy farms will be presented in relation to reducing mastitis and antibiotic use. 

    • Michigan Emergency Preparedness Planning Dr. Mike Neault, MDARD, will discuss how the state of Michigan is planning to share revised “Mass Carcass Management” plans for emergency events involving farm animals, including the development of business continuity plans for milk, eggs and live animals in the event of trans-boundary disease. Look to learn more about protecting and maintaining Michigan’s animal industries when faced with serious challenges.

    • Changes to Michigan Feed Law – April Hunt or Tim Lyons, MDARD, will give an overview of the efforts Michigan recently undertook to update its 38-year old Feed Law.  At the end of 2013, proposed changes were being considered by the Legislative Services Bureau and movement to the House of Representatives is anticipated in the future. Proposed changes focus on improved food safety through improved feed safety.

  • Field Crop – From Data to Drones: Precision agriculture applications, trends and use of data. Matt Erikson, Economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, will discuss how precision agriculture technologies in agriculture have created a large volume of information commonly referred to as “big data” from variable rate application of inputs, soil mapping, real time weather data and yield information. The ability to analyze data to make informed management decisions, utilize the cloud for data sharing, paired with the rapid increase of communication options have created both opportunities and challenges for producers.  This session will provide an overview of current and future technology applications, along with some discussion on issues surrounding ownership, access and use of individual farm level data.

    Bruno Basso, MSU Department of Geological Sciences, will explore the application of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and crop models in agriculture during the second half of the session. Learn how MSU’s first drone is being used to gather specific data about crops and how that information can help farmers make more informed decisions about crop management.  This session will highlight research in the use of drones integrated with crop modeling to increase farmers' profitability and reduce environmental impact. The project is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

  • Specialty Crop - Food safety and labor focus
    • Food Safety Modernization Act and You -  Phil Tocco, MSU Extension, will discuss what growers may need to do to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on their farms. Participants will learn if they need to change parts of their operations and which farm operations are causes for concern.
    • Rethinking Your Labor Relationships? Craig Anderson, Michigan Farm Bureau, will discuss how Michigan fruit and vegetable growers can secure a reliable seasonal workforce. Hear several examples of real-world programs currently in place on farms across Mchigan. What are some possible long and short term solutions to insure Michigan growers enough seasonal farm labor, especially critical harvest labor. From the spring asparagus harvest to the fall apple harvest, there is a need for a skilled mobile workforce that growers can easily access and use.

2:45      Break

3:00      MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Update - Dr. Fred Poston, Dean, CANR, MSU

3:15     Modeling Farming System Strategies to Optimize Water, Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling - Bruno Basso, MSU Department of Geological Sciences, will discuss process oriented crop simulation models integrate the effects of multiple stress interactions on crop growth under varying environmental and management conditions. Bruno will illustrate an integrated approach that links precision agriculture techniques with calibrated process based models to simulate the impact of Nitrogen management on yield and nitrate leaching at field scale.

3:45    State and National Legislative UpdateRyan Findlay and Matt Smego, Michigan Farm Bureau.

4:15    Farm Bill Update - Dave Schweikhardt, MSU Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics

4:45    Evaluation and wrap-up

5:00      Adjourn


5:30      MFB Statewide Commodity & Marketing Conference – Kellogg Center

Thursday, March 6, 2014

           MFB Statewide Commodity & Marketing Conference – Kellogg Center


Tags: agriculture

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