Annual Emerging Producer Program Brings Producers Together in Manhattan

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2/22/2017 7:13:06 PM

The Emerging Producers Program strives to bring current topics to producers as well as build a learning environment for the next generation of the cooperative. Producers mingle with one another and MKC and TMA employees sharing their successes and challenges while listening to experts share vital information.

This year, more than 130 producers, guests and employees attended the Emerging Producers Program held in Manhattan. Over 75 percent of the attendees were back for a second, third or fourth year. Darren Nelson, a producer in Reno County, attended the program for a second year.

“I like meeting the other young producers,” Nelson said. “It’s a great opportunity to meet peers, and I typically learn new things when I attend I can apply to my operation.”

The Emerging Producers program provides multiple occasions for producers to speak with other producers about problems they are facing on their farm. This year, the popular topic was low grain prices and how they could ride out the low prices until they increase.

A central Kansas producer, Jarod Oatney shared it is always a good thing to get together with people in your industry and exchange ideas.

“Whether it’s a friend or someone that works for MKC, I think it can be a good way of catching up and talking about agriculture,” Oatney said. “One of the many things that makes the Emerging Producers Program so successful in my mind is the intention from MKC to bring like producers and spouses together. Most organizations don't offer this opportunity and it is something my spouse and I value.”

Since starting the program four years ago, MKC has provided a forum for farm couples to work together and listen to new speakers each year. This year, the Emerging Producers program featured six topics: global supply chain, technology, sustainable growth, resiliency, fungicides and politics.

Attendees heard from John Griffith with CHS about global commodities and feeding a growing world. Griffith connected individual decisions by a Kansas farmer to a global marketplace.

Teddy Bekele of Winfield-United, shared how Winfield-United is working with local cooperatives, such as MKC, to develop mobile technology for producers and develop different technologies that work together in one system. In addition, Bekele taught producers how they can use technology currently available to them, in their operations.

CoBank's Lynn Scherler discussed today's challenging ag landscape and shared the 3 T's of Differentiated and Sustainable Growth. The 3 T's are talent, technology adoption and avoiding train wrecks.

Keynote speaker Jim Davidson shared with young producers about his climb on Mount Rainier and story of resilience. Jim reminded producers to think about where their resilience comes from and who will look to you for their resilience.

Bayer Crop Science Fungicide Product Manager Randy Myers spoke to how to use current technology to increase crop yield and decrease resistance. The top three most important parts of using fungicide include timing, application quality and product choice. Myers stated if the first two things are completed right, the third does not matter.

 “In talking with Randy, he encapsulated what is beneficial on our farm and articulated the reasons why we can do different things to improve fungicide treatment,” Oatney said. “For us, early treatment fungicides on our corn is hard to justify the further south you go. The further north, the more wet and humid the climate is, so applying a fungicide is more of an every year thing. The economic benefit for the regions is not the same.”

One of the most important parts of using chemicals is determining how to decrease weed resistance. Myers stated to help reduce resistance and have more effective applications, sprayers must be more cognizant of how companies recommend applying the fungicide.

The last speaker for our 2017 program was Matt Caswell with Ag Processing Inc. Matt spoke on the topic of policy issues for 2016 and beyond, President Trump's administration, the new farm bill and more.

Willie Swartz, MKC master agronomy advisor and EPP committee member, says the challenges in the industry also provide opportunity. MKC wants to help growers be more successful every day by providing the best speakers possible. The new information helps enable producers to gather information and sharpen their ax.

“The Emerging Producers Program sets us apart in the industry by providing an environment our producers can learn together,” Swartz said. “Our goal is to help our producers be successful every day, right back to our tagline: Shared Growth, Shared Success. By enabling out producers to gather information, hopefully, they can take it back and grow their operation, which grows their business with us and makes us both successful.”
 
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