Spokane celebrates Ag Expo, Farm Forum

of the Spokane Ag Expo Equipment and implements of every size and type are on display at the Spokane Ag Expo.

The Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum are the centerpieces of the 2015 Ag Week celebration.

Each year the Spokane Ag Expo organizers and Visit Spokane designate “Ag Week in Spokane.” This year it is planned for Feb. 1-7.

The Expo, now in its 38th year, will be based in the newly expanded Spokane Convention Center, while the forum, in its 61st year, holds agriculture-related presentations and seminars in the nearby Spokane DoubleTree Hotel.

“As we continue celebrating agriculture in Spokane, highlighting the importance of agriculture in our region, we are very excited for the expanded exhibit space, allowing us to bring more exhibits and events for attendees,” said Myrna O’Leary, director of the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

Others events that are part of Ag Week include:

• The second annual Excellence in Agriculture Award will be presented at the Pacific Northwest Farm Forum opening session on Tuesday, Feb. 3, in the DoubleTree Hotel Ballroom. The award was developed to recognize an individual, business or organization that has had significant, positive impacts on the agricultural industry in the Inland Northwest during 2014.

• With the expansion of the convention center, rooms directly off the show floor allow exhibitors to offer an array of workshops on topics important to farmers.

• The Expo will offer a career fair for high school students, increasing awareness of the career opportunities available to them. Students and parents are encouraged to attend the event, which will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5.

• The Expo offers a “Big Data” panel discussion from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, to help farmers consider how the data revolution could impact them, including questions about farmer-generated data, how it’s gathered by service providers, who owns farmer-generated data and potential risks. Panelists include Kirk A. Wesley, national and key accounts manager for CNH Industrial, NAFTA; Elizabeth Tellessen, attorney with Winston & Cashatt in Spokane; and Barrie Robison, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho and associate director of the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies.

• Expo attendees will again be able to donate canned food and make monetary donations to the annual Dump for Hunger food drive sponsored by Western States Equipment. This is the sixth year of this anti-hunger drive at the during the Expo. All food and money collected is donated to Second Harvest Food Bank and distributed throughout the Inland Northwest.

• The Pacific Northwest Farm Forum will present a full slate of seminars and top speakers. Weatherman Art Douglas, emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences at Creighton University, and Washington State University small grains agricultural economics professor Randy Fortenbery speak at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, in the DoubleTree Hotel.

AgDirection founder and president Kevin Van Trump is back by popular demand with his agriculture economic forecast at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the DoubleTree Ballroom, hosted by the AgriBusiness Council of Greater Spokane Incorporated.

WSU agriculture technology and production management adviser James Durfey will speak to FFA members about career opportunities using precision agriculture from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, at the DoubleTree.

For further details, visit the Spokane Ag Expo website at www.agshow.org.

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