MONTE VISTA — Learning never stops for modern-day agriculture producers. And the challenges and learning curve for farmers and ranchers keeps getting steeper. The Southern Rocky Mountain Agriculture Conference and Trade Show is unique among farm shows because it is a major educational event — with a trade show attached.
The three-day conference is Feb. 7-9, in Monte Vista, at the beautiful, new Outcalt Conference and Event Center at SLV Ski Hi Complex. This is a hallmark event for delivering relevant information to ag producers because the program is planned jointly by a committee of producers, industry representatives, CSU Research professionals and CSU Extension.
The trade show is planned by a similar agribusiness committee working through the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce.
Participants can register for a single day or for the full three days.
“Our core cause in CSU Extension is to continually provide these critical learning opportunities, and everything we do in SLV Area Extension is designed to foster healthy youth and families, prosperous farms, ranches, and businesses, and strong, resilient, proud communities”, explains Larry Brown, SLV Area Extension Ag Business Agent and Director, and Ag Conference co-chair. The theme of the conference this year is “Surviving and Thriving – A Conference on Resilience and Sustainability.”
The educational program covers a wide variety of topics for potato, livestock, and alfalfa producers, as well as alternative crops research, and soil and water management.
The sessions begin Feb. 7 with legislative, industry, marketing, and pesticide applicator updates by professionals from Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union, National Potato Council, and Potatoes USA.
They continue with sessions on potato production practices, varieties, and disease control by researchers and educators from Colorado State University and Oregon State University.
There will also be demonstrations of potato equipment by a local dealer, and breakout sessions on estate and succession planning, and Ag Producer health.
Feb. 8 is a day for soil health featuring Jimmy Emmons as the keynote speaker, a crop and livestock producer from Oklahoma who has seen his production and profitability improve significantly since implementing practices to rebuild his soil health.
It also features Oregon State Associate Professor Kenneth Frost discussing SCRI Soil Health practices for potato fields, and a panel of producers, consultants and scientists on building soil health using cover crops without grazing, and forage crops with grazing.
The afternoon sessions continue with cow-calf and ewe nutrition, calving and lambing workshop, and a livestock market outlook update for ranchers. Simultaneously there will be sessions for farmers on raising Camelina, rye, millet, dry beans, and other low water use alternative crops, and the economics of two versus three alfalfa cuttings in the face of limited water and high-water costs.
In addition, the Monte Vista Co-op will be demonstrating their drones, and there will be a demonstration on virtual livestock fencing.
Feb. 9 will begin with a weed control panel and a livestock vaccination panel. It will continue with a water theme including a 20-year review of river flows and climate on the upper Rio Grande, an update on the Aquifer Recovery Bill by Sen. Cleave Simpson and culminate with a panel of producers who have successfully implemented production practices resulting in water savings.
There will be private applicator training in the afternoon taught by a private consultant.
And then there is the trade show, featuring nearly 100 vendors offering a multitude of products and services to farmers and ranchers alike. Several of the vendors are also sponsors of the conference at various levels, and a complete list of these sponsors will be published when they are finalized and will be recognized at the conference.
Two hours’ time is allowed each morning prior to the educational sessions for producers to visit the trade show vendors, as well as several break times throughout the day.
Breakfast and lunch are served to participants and vendors all three days, and a social hour the first two evenings. These meals are sponsored by local banks and businesses, which will also be recognized individually as their sponsorships are finalized.
For information on registering for the educational sessions, call or email Larry Brown, SLV Area Extension at 719-852-7381 or [email protected].
For information on registering as a trade show vendor or becoming a sponsor, call or email the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce at 719-852-2731, [email protected] or Kay Harmon, Conference Co-chair at 719-852-5638 or [email protected]
Up to date conference information and registration for both the educational conference and trade show can also be found on the official website, www.agconferencesrm.com.