MN AG EXPO 2020: Driving innovation

Change is the only constant, and the agriculture industry is no different. In 2020, we’re switching things up a bit while looking to drive innovation.

MN AG EXPO will take place Jan. 22 and 23 at the Mankato Civic Center. Hosted by the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, there is something for everyone at this free two-day educational event and trade show.

With exhibitors representing every facet of the agriculture industry, from meat exports to seed selection to farm business management education, there is plenty to learn from MN AG EXPO’s extensive list of exhibitors.

MSGA will be holding its annual evening fundraiser again the Wednesday night of EXPO, but this year will feature a ‘carnival’ twist at a new location – the Loose Moose Saloon in downtown Mankato.

Here are a few of the highlights from the slate of speakers and breakout sessions:

Wednesday afternoon on the Trade Show Stage (1:45 to 2:45 p.m.): Solar Energy Panel sponsored by Blue Horizon Energy

This panel will highlight the numerous benefits of solar energy. Minnesota-based Blue Horizon Energy has specialized in providing turn-key solar energy for nearly a decade. They deliver high-quality, full-service solar energy solutions to homes and businesses and have expanded their operation in recent years by investing in the company’s talent and infrastructure. BHE’s team encompasses system designers, licensed electricians and factory-trained installation technicians with decades of collective experience.

Blue Horizon Energy is a longtime MN AG EXPO supporter.

Today, Blue Horizon’s team of more than 15 professionals encompasses NABCEP-certified system designers, licensed electricians, factory-trained installation technicians, and administrative and finance staff with decades of collective experience and business expertise in the solar industry and beyond.

Wednesday evening: MSGA Carnival fundraiser (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) Loose Moose Saloon

MSGA decided to close up the card tables on its annual “Beano Vino” casino, at least for a year. For 2020, MSGA will be hosting a Carnival at a new venue –  the Loose Moose Saloon –  complete with carnival games, silent auction prizes, and food and drinks. Admission is $25, with all proceeds going toward funding MSGA’s advocacy efforts in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. 500 Club members can also grab exclusive offers and benefits; funds from the 500 Club are directed toward MSGA’s Political Action Committee (PAC).

Thursday morning (8:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.) on the Trade Show Stage: Positioning for Success in the Economic Reset with Dr. David Kohl sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council

David Kohl, a writer for Corn and Soybean Digest and other ag lending publications, received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. For 25 years, Kohl was professor of agricultural finance and small business management and entrepreneurship in the department of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. He was on special leave with the Royal Bank of Canada working on advanced initiatives for two years, and also assisted in the launch of the successful entrepreneurship program at Cornell University. Kohl is professor emeritus in the agricultural and applied economics department at Virginia Tech.

Kohl has traveled more than 9 million miles throughout his professional career. He has conducted more than 6,500 workshops and seminars for agricultural groups. He has published four books and more than 2,250 articles on financial and business-related topics in journals, extension, and other popular publications.

Dr. David Kohl’s presentation is sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.

Kohl is a two-time recipient of the prestigious American Agricultural Economics Association’s Outstanding Teaching Award. Kohl is one of only five professors in the 100-year history of the Association to receive the award twice. He received the Governor’s award for his distinguished service to Virginia agriculture, the youngest recipient to receive this award. Kohl was recognized as one of 30 leaders who are the brains behind innovative business management and economic information that agriculture uses today.

As facilitator of the United States Farm Financial Standards Task Force and member of the Canadian Agricultural Financial Standards Task Force, Dr. Kohl was one of the leaders in establishing guidelines for the standardized reporting and analysis of agricultural producers’ financial information on a national and international basis. The Kohl Agribusiness Centre has been established in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech in honor of his long-term commitment to practical teaching, research, and extension. In 2017, Kohl was inducted into the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Hall of Fame.

Thursday morning (10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.) in Meeting Room #245. Session: Estate and Succession Planning with Kaitlin Pals

As a partner at Gislason Hunter, Kaitlin Pals’ practice focuses on assisting clients with tax and estate planning and business succession planning for individuals, families and family owned businesses in industry with a special emphasis in agriculture.

Through her experience in working with matters for family farms to large corporations, Pals has a broad tax and estate planning practice. She helps her clients plan for and manage tax-efficient transfers of wealth that meet each client’s unique goals, including health care directives, estate and gift tax planning, simple and complex trusts and guardianships. She also helps families through the process of administering estates and trusts after a family member’s death.

Pals writes columns on a regular basis for agriculture and business publications and teaches continuing educations courses for her peers. Her vast knowledge of estate planning and tax law combined with her personal attention to detail is acknowledged and appreciated by her clients.

In addition to estate planning, Pals works with corporate law issues and real estate as well as family law issues regarding adoption.

Thursday morning (11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.) in Meeting Room #247. Session: Houston Engineering Learning Session

Ever read a news headline that states that 40% or more of water in Minnesota is impaired? Ever wonder what this means? This session will share checkoff-supported research and information on what these headlines mean and on how farmers are beginning to engage and lead local efforts around clean water.

Since joining Houston Engineering Inc. in early 2014, Drew Kessler has been an integral member of Houston Engineering’s water quality team, helping to conceptualize the PTMApp and bring the project to reality. He has also helped clients in the agribusiness sector and with projects related to Minnesota’ buffer law. Kessler supports Minnesota Pollution Control Agency projects related to TMDLs and WRAPS and has also played notable roles with the development of the Root River One Watershed, One Plan in southeast Minnesota and providing desktop analysis and mapping to help clients target and implement best management practices (BMPs).

Jeremiah Jazdzewski is a licensed professional engineer with Houston Engineering, Inc. He has a B.A. in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College and a M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota. He has more 15 years of engineering and research experience, including research at the Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory and private consulting in both environmental remediation and water resources engineering. His experience includes a wide variety of projects in geoprocessing, data management, monitoring design, modeling, software development, water quality analysis, and watershed planning. He specializes in developing creative and novel ways of using up-and-coming technologies to collect, analyze, and convey engineering data and ideas.

Follow The Conversation