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Convention breakouts cover big decisions

—By Mindy Reef
Public Relations Team

Indiana Farm Bureau’s annual state convention is only a couple months away, and every year breakout sessions top the list of reasons why people attend.

This year’s sessions cover a variety of topics, from production ag issues to the November elections, but helping farmers tackle immediate challenges is the underlying theme.

“Big and immediate decisions, such as family healthcare, profitability of operation, or the ability to affect legislation that affects a farm’s bottom line, are what these sessions focus on,” said Chris Fenner, IFB’s field services director and this year’s convention breakout session chair. “It’s hands-on information that a person can take home and share with their farm partners or spouse to help make decisions for their operations.”

The first round of breakouts is planned for Friday, Dec. 7, from 10 to 11 a.m. That round includes:

Understanding Fertilizer Use Regulations

Fred Whitford, Purdue Pesticide Programs, and Matt Pearson, Office of Indiana State Chemist, will provide an overview of fertilizer use regulations and how compliance with the rule will protect farmers from violating other laws and regulations.

Retail Ag

Get a brief overview of retail agriculture – selling direct, agritourism, value-added products and more – and what it encompasses. Pick up tips on how to get started and other aspects of your potential business.

Who’s In, Who’s Out and Who’s Got Clout

Former Republican State Chairman Mike McDaniel and former Democrat State Chairman Robin Winston discuss the outcome of the November 2012 election and give their insights into the coming legislative sessions.

Another round of breakouts runs from 2:30-3:30 p.m. That round includes:

Getting the Most from Crop Insurance Tools

A discussion on the 2012 drought and the importance of using Farm Bureau’s Growers Edge and Crop Pro website to calculate your 2012 crop insurance indemnities. Your crop claim questions regarding aflatoxin, large claim audits, and other crop claim issues will be answered at this breakout session.

County Budget Issues

Funding county government has been on a rollercoaster ride over the last few years. Learn what challenges your county officials face as they weigh which services get priority and which ones might face the chopping block. This session will also take a look at the dilemma of how to fund county roads and other infrastructure.

A session on nutrient management will also run in this time slot.

For those who want to wake up early Saturday for commodity information, a marketing session will be held from 7-8 a.m.

The final round of breakouts will run on Saturday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. They are:

USFRA and IFoF Update

Just over a year ago the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance was formed to start a conversation with America about the people and practices involved in today’s food production. USFRA general manager Hugh Whaley will share some of the organization’s activities and successes and take a look at what this national ag coalition has in store for 2013.

National Health Care Law

Learn how health care reform impacts farmers and what you can expect from the changes.

Water Usage and Planning

Jack Wittman from Layne Hydro will discuss Indiana’s need for water resource planning to ensure agriculture’s access to limited ground water supplies.

A session returning from prior years, Gaining Ground on Arthritis, will run during the first hour of the delegate session.

State convention is Dec. 7 and 8 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. For more information or register for the convention, visit www.infarmbureau.org/convention or call 800-FARM-BUR.

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