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big iron education

Various Extension education booths will be set up at the entrance of the Hartl Ag Building.

WEST FARGO, N.D. – A smorgasbord of educational programming has always been an important part of the Big Iron Farm Show schedule, and the 39th annual show is no exception. Topics this year will range from the new Farm Bill and the tariff assistance package to the latest in marketing trends, as well cover crops, ideas on farm succession and how to cope with farm stress.

Field demonstration program

Precision spraying will be the major focus of the Big Iron Field Demo this year. The demonstration will open in a class-room type setting with discussion on what some of the experts at NDSU are doing in terms of weed identification using imagery obtained by UAS’s flying over a field. Action will take to the field for the remainder of the demonstration as several spraying equipment companies will show their particular machine’s ability to spray specific areas using boom and/or nozzle control. Finally, drones will take to the air and show how spray applications can be made in a small area of the field.

The field demonstrations will start each day at 1 p.m., in the field demo area south of the fairgrounds and are sponsored by Farm & Ranch Guide. A more detailed article on the field demonstrations can be found in a separate article in our Big Iron Special Pull Out Edition.

Issues and Events Center

Red River Farm Network’s Issues and Events Center will feature a wide variety of information during the three-day run of Big Iron. The center is located in the middle area of the Big Iron grounds, next to the Acme Tool Crib, according to Don Wick, president of the Red River Farm Network.

The sessions start off with a bang on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 10:30 a.m., with what is being termed as “A Conversation with USDA Leadership.” This conversation will feature Richard Fordyce, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administrator, and Martin Barbre, USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) administrator.

“Having the federal administrators of both FSA and RMA in a rare joint appearance is one of the highlights of this year’s show,” Wick said.  “We are excited to have these two individuals join us at Big Iron and there will be no shortage of issues to discuss.”

Following is the day-by-day schedule of programming at the Issues and Events Center:

Tuesday, Sept. 10

10:30 a.m., “A Conversation with USDA Leadership,” featuring Richard Fordyce-USDA FSA administrator

and Martin Barbre, USDA RMA administrator

1:30 p.m., “Market Outlook Seminar,” featuring Mike Zuzolo, Global Commodity Analytics and

Consulting; Tommy Grisafi, Advance Trading; and Betsy Jensen, Northland Farm Business Management

2:30 p.m., “Land Values Seminar”

Wednesday, Sept. 11

10:30 a.m., “Managing Costs, Maximizing Opportunities,” with Frayne Olson, NDSU Extension grain

marketing specialist, and Bret Oelke of Innovus Agra

1:30 p.m., “Market Outlook Seminar,” featuring Don Roose of U.S. Commodities, Ray Grabanski of

Progressive Ag Marketing and Kristi Van Ahn-Kjeseth of Van Ahn & Company

2:30 p.m., “Land Values Seminar”

Thursday, Sept. 12

10:30 a.m., “Weather Outlook,” with Drew Lerner of World Weather

1:30 p.m., “Market Outlook Seminar,” with Naomi Blohm of Stewart-Peterson, Luke Swenson of The

Money Farm and Steve Wagner of CHS Hedging

NDSU Extension Education Center

Several different topics will be highlighted at the NSU Extension Education Center, although different aspects of precision farming will be the focus, according to Tom Scherer, NDSU Extension ag engineer and coordinator of the Extension education center. The area’s hours of operation will mirror the Big Iron schedule and will be located in the front lobby of the Hartl Agriculture Building.

For the first time this fall, the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department will be offering a degree in Precision Ag, and they will be highlighting this program at the Extension education center in hopes of getting more students enrolled. As part of that, they will have a cart on display that will contain some of the sophisticated cameras that are used for crop imagery.

“We will have what I call a ‘wheeled robot’ with some very high caliber cameras on it,” Scherer explained. “This is set up in our booth, along with some plants in pots, to demonstrate the different capabilities of this technology.”

The growing season this year has indicated there could be a large amount of grain drying needed this fall for the late season crops, and Ken Hellevang, Extension ag engineer, will be there to answer questions growers may have on drying crops.

Ways to market that crop will be explained by Bryon Parman, Extension ag finance specialist. He will discuss the MFP payments – how the rates were developed and he possibly have a map of the state indicating the rate for each county.  

Finally, Lindsay Pease, a soil scientist from the Northwest Research and Outreach Center at Crookston, Minn., is expected to highlight drainage and reducing phosphates in the water being drained from farmland that is going into the lakes and streams.

Individual exhibitors

Finally, many of the exhibitors at the Big Iron Farm Show will have some type of educational material as part of their booth display that the public is open to take part in. For those displays requiring more space, the area surrounding the field demonstration will be open, by appointment, to exhibitors wishing to provide some demonstrations and informational material on a “in the field” type arrangement.

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