Grain convention focuses on production
Pacific Northwest wheat farmers will talk production and genetically modified crops during their annual meeting.
The Tri-State Grain Growers Convention begins at 1 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Davenport Hotel, 10 S. Post St., in Spokane. The convention runs through Nov. 16.
Ryan Kregger, president of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, said the convention allows the wheat industries of Idaho, Oregon and Washington to learn from one another.
Kregger expects the USDA’s investigation into the discovery of GM wheat in an Oregon field during the summer to be a hot topic, including how things went and what could have been done better.
The investigation is still ongoing, said Ed Curlett, spokesman for USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The Oregon wheat industry will review the situation during a committee panel at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 14. A panel discussion on biotechnology in the Pacific Northwest will begin at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 16.
Instead of covering general topics, the convention has shifted to a theme-based approach, Kregger said. It will offer a marketing, policy or production focus, alternating topics each year.
“We’re going to have the things that are popular for the farmers, but we’re also trying to make it more of a production base this year,” he said.
Kregger pointed to a good turnout at WAWG’s Wheat University over the summer, and requests from farmers for more continuing education.
Speakers include Creighton University weatherman Art Douglas, U.S. Farm Report host John Phipps, Top Third Ag Marketing managing partner Mark Gold and the Hefty Brothers, hosts of the television show “AgPhD,” who will broadcast their keynote presentation live from the convention.
“That should be fun,” Kregger said. “We’re going to be part of the live studio audience. It will be interesting.”
A wheat breeding panel will take place during the Washington State program from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Nov 14.
Kregger hopes to have private and public wheat breeders from Limagrain, Monsanto, Sygenta and Washington State University talk about where the industry is going, how they are addressing farmer needs and impacts of the GM issue on their breeding programs.
Speakers from the agricultural consulting firm Agri-Trend were some of the most popular last year, and are back by popular demand.
Agri-Trend topics include water use efficiency and micronutrient management.
“I find them fascinating,” Kregger said. “It’s stuff I learned in college and I’ve maybe forgotten some of it. It gives you a new way of thinking about how your soil interacts with your wheat and how the microbes interact with the soil.”