By MICHELE F. MIHALJEVICH
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The Fort Wayne Farm Show is more than just an opportunity for visitors to kick the tires on a new piece of equipment. The educational seminars have become increasingly important to the show’s success, according to organizers.
This year’s show is Jan. 15-17 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. As in its previous 23 years, the seminars will offer agricultural outlooks and information on current research and technology, said Gonzalee Martin, Purdue University extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Allen County.
The seminars are provided by Purdue extension and the Northeastern Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs).
“Visitors do come because of the educational sessions,” Martin said. “They need to make sure they’re keeping up with the latest research, equipment and technology. Anymore, they’re not just farmers but businessmen, as well.”
In the show’s early years, the seminars were held off to the side of the main entrance in a curtained area that had room for 30-40 people, Martin remembers. They were later moved to a larger banquet hall.
“That (curtained) area was fine for the small sessions, but the outlook meetings may draw 150 to 225 people,” he said. “That was one of the reasons for the relocation – to hold more people.”
While the outlook sessions remain the show’s more popular seminars, other presentations may have 45-110 people in attendance, Martin said. Officials from Purdue extension, area SWCDs and natural resources meet to discuss potential seminar themes, he explained. The goal is to provide information on hot topics that will draw interest from visitors.
Purdue has been a good partner for show organizers over the years, said Fred Cline, a show director with Tradexpos, which produces the Fort Wayne show.
“We’re fortunate to have Purdue doing the seminars; they’re good-quality seminars,” he said. “This show isn’t just a tourist attraction. We’re a working farm show for working farmers. Just like any profession, we offer continuing education programming.”
The seminars will be daily, and each day of the show will also feature a market outlook session. At 10 a.m. Jan. 15, David Kohli of Allendale, Inc. and Jon Cavanaugh of Central States Enterprises will offer their annual grain outlook.
Dr. Chris Hurt, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue, will present his grain and livestock outlook at 1 p.m. Jan. 16. Brent Gloy, an associate professor of agricultural economics at Purdue, will discuss the outlook for land values and rents at 10 a.m. Jan. 17.
Hurt and a Farm Bureau representative will talk about the impact of federal policy on agriculture during a lunch session beginning at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 16. Lunch is free, with 200 meals available on a first come, first serve basis.
A session on crop insurance and marketing options, featuring agents from Williamson Crop Insurance, is set for 11 a.m. Jan. 15. Afternoon sessions that day will be a 1 p.m. discussion on cover crops and a 2 p.m. seminar on nutrient and pesticide stewardship.
Before the lunch program on Jan. 16, Tracy Blackmer of the Iowa Soybean Assoc. will discuss on-farm networks. Later that day, Private Applicator Recertification Program, or PARP, credits will be available to those who attend sessions on farming and safety on the road and Indiana’s new fertilizer rule. A $10 fee will be charged for the credits.
Evening sessions on Jan. 16 will be on farm-to-fork and estate planning.
An 11 a.m. presentation on beekeeping is planned for Jan. 17, as is an afternoon farmer panel on agritourism. The panel will feature representatives from Steele Farms in Decatur, Ind., Cook’s Bison Ranch in Wolcottville and Kelsay Farms in Whiteland.
Learn more about the schedule on page 20S of this supplement, and online at www.tradexpos.com/ftwayne