‘An event you won’t want to miss’: 2024 MN Ag Expo preview

Once again, the annual MN Ag Expo has every corner of the the agriculture field covered.

Join the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) for the 2024 MN Ag Expo Jan. 17-18 at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato for two days of learning sessions, meeting, networking and a sold-out trade show floor. This year’s Expo also features a special guest who is sure to put the farming community in position to succeed in the year ahead.

Corn and soybean leaders are excited to welcome University of Minnesota Gophers head football coach P.J. Fleck as the keynote speaker during the Wednesday evening dinner.

“We are very excited to ‘Row the Boat’ with Coach Fleck at this year’s MN Ag Expo,” said MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek. “As we join our industry partners and friends at Minnesota Corn to meet and plan our goals for 2024, we’re looking forward to hearing his uplifting message of leadership, teamwork and resiliency.”

Expo After Hours

MSGA is holding its annual social fundraising event, Expo After Hours, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Loose Moose Saloon. For only $25, attendees can support MSGA’s advocacy efforts by visiting with directors, industry leaders and bidding on silent auction items. Tickets are available at the door or online.

“The ‘After Hours’ event has become one of our favorite parts of Expo,” MSGA Vice President Darin Johnson said. “It’s a chance for all of us to relax and get to know each other better outside of a business environment, and it’s for a good cause.”

MSGA is also holding its annual meeting on Wednesday, when delegates from across the state will vote on the organization’s 2024 policy resolutions. On Thursday, MSGA will also auction off a custom 2023 Polaris Ranger Crew 1000 Premium. For just $100, Expo attendees can enter for a chance to win (attendance at Expo isn’t necessary to win). Only 500 tickets are available and can be purchased by contacting the Minnesota Soybean office at 507-3881635. MSGA directors will also be selling tickets throughout MN Ag Expo.

Agriculture is a dynamic industry and MN Ag Expo, which is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, is the one-stop shop to remain up to date on the latest industry trends. Visit with Council leaders in Booth 28 and engage with augmented reality, play soy checkoff trivia, win prizes and learn how checkoff investments plant seeds for success.

“Ag Expo is a highly anticipated event, bringing together key stakeholders in agriculture,” MSGA President Bob Worth said. “It’s an ideal chance to visit with my peers, learn about what’s happening within the industry and explain the timely state and national legislative updates that are important to Minnesota farmers. It’s an event you won’t want to miss.”

Legislative leaders, including Gov. Tim Walz, have been invited to attend. Minnesota Department of Agriculture Thom Petersen is also expected to attend.

Registration for MN Ag Expo is now open, but the window closes Jan. 12. On-site registration will also be available.

2024 MN Ag Expo agenda highlights

Learning Session 1

Coping with Stress and Taking Care of Your Mental Health

Presenter: Shannah Mulvihill, MA, CFRE – Executive Director, Mental Health Minnesota

Jan. 17 @ 8 a.m. in Room 245A

We all struggle sometimes. Finding ways to cope with stress and take care of your mental health is incredibly important for the overall health and well-being of yourself and your family, but too often we minimize concerns until they reach a point of crisis. In this presentation, we will talk about ways to cope with stress and how to proactively prevent mental health concerns. This session will walk through warning signs that might indicate someone you know is struggling with their mental health or is thinking about suicide, and what you can do if you are concerned about someone. Those attending the session will also learn about free and anonymous mental health resources and support that are available across Minnesota.

Learning Session 2

Diversity Options and Opportunities for Farming

Presenter: Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance

Jan. 17 @ 10 a.m. in Room 245

Identity preserved and other specialty crops can benefit your farm and your bottom line. SSGA, the identity preserved alliance, will lead a farmer panel for an open discussion of different farming practices, variety trial results and agronomic challenges and solutions.

Learning Session 3

Nitrogen in MN Waters

Featured Speaker: MPCA Assistant Commissioner Dana Vanderbosch

Jan. 17 @ 1:00 PM in Room 245A

Contrary to federal regulatory beliefs, Minnesota is very active in preventing nitrate contamination in our state’s waters. Learn from on-ground experts about what farmers and state leaders are doing to protect Minnesota’s waters for generations to come.

Learning Session 4: Crop and Livestock Trade Panel

Presenter: Thomas H. D’Alfonso,USSEC Director Animal & Aquaculture.

Jan. 18 @ 10 a.m. in Room 247

Minnesota agriculture grows through building relationships with international partners. In turn, Minnesota farmers help feed the world. Dr. Thomas D’Alfonso is responsible for providing oversight, marketing skills, and critical strategic direction to USSEC’s Animal and Aquaculture Programs. He has over 30 years of international business management experience with global animal health and nutrition companies and holds advanced degrees in agricultural engineering, statistics and animal nutrition. Before joining USSEC, Tom consulted with feed mills and animal producers in the areas of health and nutrition, natural resource management, supply chain and operations, and biosecurity.

Learning Session 5: Biofuels Panel

Moderated by Brian Werner, Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association Executive Director

Jan. 18 @ 2 p.m. on the HTS Commodities Trade Show Stage

The world of biofuels is changing at a breakneck pace. This panel will tackle everything you need to know about the current and future market conditions for biodiesel, from the rise in sustainable aviation fuel to the decarbonization of biodiesel. Moderator Brian Werner will be joined by one of the nation’s leading exports on biodiesel – Matt Herman, chief officer of advocacy and demand for the Iowa Soybean Association.

Breakout – First Aid Training on the Farm

Presenter: Becky Griebel, Customized Training Representative – Health Care, South Central College

Jan. 17 @ 9 a.m. in Room 247; Jan. 18 @ 8:45 a.m. in Room 247

This demonstration will discuss the injuries that could happen on a farm and how to treat basic first aid for cuts, injuries with bones, and medical care that could help in the time it takes for an ambulance or other first responders to get to the farm. Tips and tricks to helping keep wounds clean to prevent infection, along with environmental emergencies and prevention. This session will also discuss the basic first aid training differences between adults and kids.

Breakout – Hands-on-Learning Session MN Ag in the Classroom

Jan. 17 @ 10 a.m. in Room 245B; Jan. 18 @ 10 a.m. in Room 245B

Discover how you can help Minnesota’s K-12 students gain knowledge and understanding about agriculture! Meet the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) Team and learn about the Program’s mission: Agriculture is valued by all. Participants will complete hands-on activities that can be immediately implemented in K-12 educational settings. These activities will serve as a starting point for participants to brainstorm opportunities to grow agricultural literacy in their community. Attendees will receive FREE resources from the MAITC program to share with educators in their community. Access to FREE standards-based lessons, activities, videos and more will be shared.

Wednesday Afternoon Keynote – Animal Ag: Prop 12 & Beyond

Jan. 17 @ 2:30

Minnesota is the nation’s second-largest pork producer. But the impact of California’s Proposition 12, which goes into effect in 2024, has put the livestock industry in flux. This keynote will be led by attorney Elizabeth Rumley from the National Agricultural Law Center. During her presentation, Elizabeth will take a closer look at Prop 12 and the next steps for livestock producers.

Dinner Keynote – University of Minnesota head football coach P.J. Fleck

Jan. 17 @ 5 p.m. in the C & B Equipment Banquet Hall

P.J. Fleck was named head football coach at Minnesota in January 2017. In seven years, Fleck has established himself as one of the most successful coaches ever to lead the Minnesota program and is fifth in program history for overall wins (50), Big Ten wins (29) and games coached (83). Off the field, Fleck and his team can often be found supporting the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and host an annual diaper drive during training camp and turkey drive during Thanksgiving. In the classroom, Minnesota has posted program record GPAs under Fleck. In 2021, Fleck also became a best-selling author when his Row The Boat book peaked at No. 2 on the list in June. Fleck and his wife, Heather, have four children, Gavin, Carter, Paisley (P.J.) and Harper.

Breakout – At the Root of it All: Presented by Beck’s Hybrid Seeds

Jan. 17 @ 10 a.m. in the Reception Hall; Jan. 18 @ 9 a.m. in the Reception Hall

Agriculture is changing. This is not an earth-shattering statement, but as agriculture changes, it’s imperative that we adapt to the changes. Sometimes, industries and businesses have a common set of prevailing assumptions, and because of those assumptions, we get stuck in a rut and are unwilling to change how we operate. However, Beck’s is not afraid to challenge those assumptions and think differently.

These changes may point us to different realities in the future. If we do change row width and population, band fertility, and/or strip-till, one thing to consider is how these changes may impact roots and root growth. Join this session to learn more about Beck’s initiatives to study the factors at the root of it all.

Breakout – Riding the Waves: Navigating Market Volatility in Corn, Soybeans and the Macro Markets

Presenter: HTS Commodities Senior Commodities Strategist Walter Kunisch

Jan. 18 @ 11 a.m. in Room 247

What’s in store for markets in 2024? Walter Kunisch has it covered. The commodities strategist is a commodity analyst whose expertise includes fundamental and quantitative research for grains, oilseeds and livestock with an emphasis on financial market hedging and proprietary trading activities.

Lunch Keynote – Tim Gabrielson

Jan. 18 @ 12 p.m. in the C & B Equipment Banquet Hall

For over 30 years, Tim Gabrielson – who was raised on a Minnesota farm – has busted guts with laughter and dropped jaws with his magic, but his show is much more purposeful than pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The real trick up his sleeve and the perfect punchline in his performance comes from his impactful message on how we eliminate bad days by recognizing bad moments and turning lemons into laughs. Tim’s keynote is a perfect blend of jaw-dropping magic, face-hurting laughter and mind-blowing insight! His presentation is specifically designed to grab attendees by the face and not let them go until the end.

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