This week, students attending the New Century Farmer conference will be blogging about the lessons they’re learning and the friends they’re making there. The conference is taking place on the Pioneer campus in Des Moines, Iowa. Topics covered include the global agricultural marketplace, farm financing, demographic trends and risk management.
Today was a very informative and exciting day for those of us that have the privilege of being at the New Century Farmer Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. We started the day off with an excellent presentation by Farm Credit Services representative Gary Matteson, followed up by a very intense round of discussion.
The information Gary Matteson provided us with was excellent. It related perfectly to the situations most of the attendants are dealing with. Basically, he explained to us the different opportunities there are for young and beginning farmers to borrow money for farm investments and expenses. One thing that was really amazing was the amount of young people in the room who have already successfully borrowed substantial amounts of money for their operations.
Following him was Dr. Ron Hanson, who spoke very personally and passionately with us about farm succession. Farm Succession can be a very serious and touchy topic to speak about, but his passion to truly help us showed in his presentation. When he finished, everyone there was deep in thought about how their operation is going to be affected by succession.
After lunch we broke up into our small groups where we had the opportunity to work on our visions.
After that we took a bus ride out to Case IH Information Center, where we got to see the latest in their livestock and crop products, as well as learn about the new Tier 4 technology that helps reduce emissions. We had an excellent speaker that guided us through their options in hay production, and even got to see a new and exciting piece of machinery. The final presentation was over precision agriculture, specifically on GPS and how it can advance our production operations. They fed us an excellent dinner of bone-in pork chops and baked potatoes, with a presentation on Tier 4 technology, and how it is making the tractors we use environmentally friendly.
We finished the evening with some friendly competition. Kayla Solum won the pedal tractor competition, and Skylar Stewart won the backhoe competition.
We returned to the hotels for some final group work. The rest of the group is now laying their heads full of bright new ideas down for a well-deserved night’s rest.
We are truly looking forward to the presentations we will set through tomorrow. Everyone here will be sad to see the conference come to an end. I have seen an inkling of contact information being exchanged already, and expect to see a mad flurry of numbers and heartfelt goodbyes being given out. After the quality of the speakers, facilitators, and sponsors of this conference I know everyone here will be departing with a new dream and the ability to implement it.
The New Century Farmer program is sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business; Case IH; CSX Corporation; and Farm Credit; with media partner Successful Farming as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. The program is designed to provide participants with valuable skills and knowledge applicable to their own farming operations. In addition, they will build a network of colleagues that will benefit them throughout their careers.