MONTE VISTA — The 40th annual Southern Rocky Mountain Agriculture Conference and Trade Show started its three-day run Tuesday, Feb. 1, with hundreds of people inside the newly christened Outcalt Event and Conference at SLV Ski Hi Complex.
The conference is sponsored by the Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Ag Experiment Station. Paid registration is required to attend the sessions. The free-to-the-public trade show is sponsored by the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to welcoming people back, this was the official maiden event of the Outcalt Event and Conference at SLV Ski Hi Complex. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building was scheduled for Feb. 25.
It was the first time in the past two years that the conference was held completely in person. Due to the COVID pandemic, the conference moved the multiple sessions to Zoom but continued to have a socially distanced trade show on the grounds.
CSU San Luis Valley Extension Director Larry Brown opened the conference with some welcoming remarks. He said they always try to give everyone a relevant program, by picking the right topics for the conference and making sure that they obtain quality speakers.
Brown said it takes a lot of work to do this, and it also takes some feedback from the people who attend the conference. Brown encouraged everyone who attended to fill out surveys that were being given out at the conference.
As an incentive, Brown said they were handing out $50 certificates to people who filled out the surveys.
After Brown spoke, the opening day's sessions began at 8:30 and continued to 4:30 p.m. inside the conference rooms of the new building. A social hour at 5 p.m. with gourmet cooking concluded the day. Day two followed the same schedule as the first. The conference concludes with just morning sessions on Feb. 3.
The new building boasts a main conference room that can accommodate more than 400 people on the north side of the building. The south side of the building was broken up into a couple of conference rooms — one for VIPs and sponsors, and two others that were used for sessions. A spacious hallway separates the north and south conference rooms that are in the east half of the building.
Demonstrations were scheduled for all three days inside the McMullen Building.
The trade show and its 93 vendors occupied the cavernous west side of the building.
Local farmer Ted Davis said he attends every year with his brother, and he appreciates all the up-to-date information he receives from the conference. He uses it to keep his property, farm and ranch, motivated and moving forward.
“I am very impressed with the new Ski Hi building,” Davis said. “You can tell that a lot of hard work was put in here, and I think that a lot more farmers and ranchers are going to want to attend, once they see how nice this place came out, it's a real shiny showroom floor in here.”
For more information on the conference, visit www.agconferencesrm.com.