Tri-State Grain Growers Convention is a success
November 28, 2012
Attendees of the Tri-State Grain Growers Convention no doubt left with an earful of information. From biotechnology to coal trains, there was a lot that both young and notso- young farmers could gather insights and information from during the three-day event held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The days were filled with educational seminars, topical panels and keynote addresses. Michael Scuse, USDA’s undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, addressed a crowd of more than 300 farmers, staff and farm service providers. He said the USDA will move quickly to implement a farm bill once Congress approves one.
The USDA has declared more than half of the counties in the U.S. disaster areas, Scuse said, but some disaster programs in the old farm bill expired last fall and others expired more than a year ago. Programs important to the wheat industry like the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program are only continuing due to a carryover of 2012 money and are expected to run out in January, Scuse said. If Congress doesn’t pass a bill, the programs cease to exist and cooperators in foreign countries will have to close their offices. “For every dollar we spend in these programs, there is a $35 return on investment,” he said. “I don’t know where you can spend the money to get that kind of return on investment anywhere.”
They also heard from well-known environmentalist and farm subsidy critic, Ken Cook, of the Environmental Working Group, and weatherman Art Douglas. Douglas predicted that the Pacific Northwest will receive adequate amounts of moisture this winter, but will see drier conditions next spring and summer. Growers also had a rare opportunity to witness four experts of various opinions discuss GMOs on stage (read more on page 22).
Individual workshops included a coal and rail capacity discussion and informational speakers discussing social media, crop insurance, marketing, bookkeeping, plant nutrients, barley, estate planning and yield mapping among others. The Idaho and Washington state conservationists also participated in a breakout session, explaining their thoughts on future NRCS programs and issues.
The national grain policy and marketing groups, U.S. Wheat Associates, National Association of Wheat Growers, U.S. Grains Council and National Barley Growers Association, had representatives who also updated the crowd on what 2013 may hold in store.
The 2013 Tri-State Grain Growers Convention will be held Nov. 14-16 at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane.