Ag specialists to speak at Soils and Crops Conference next week

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Producers in the Marshall area will have a chance to learn about the latest crop technologies and question University of Missouri scientists at the Soils and Crops Conference Wednesday, Jan. 14, in Marshall.

"Usually they talk about crop diseases, insect problems, any kind of break-throughs on hybrids, grain marketing and conservation," said Steve Wooden, Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist for Saline County.

Although Saline County hasn't had such a conference in the last few years, Wooden said the talks have been an annual event for several decades.

Scheduled to talk in half-hour sessions this year at the free conference, to be held in the multipurpose building at the Saline County Fairground, are seven agriculture specialists, five during morning sessions and two in the afternoon.

Speakers, topics

After introductions and opening remarks by conference sponsors, Peter Scharf, University Outreach and Extension soils specialist, will speak at 8:55 a.m. about fall-applied nitrogen, soil tests and variable rate lime and nitrogen. Kevin Bradley, Extension weed specialist, is set to talk at 9:25 a.m. on weed control, herbicide-resistant weeds and new herbicide products for 2004. After a scheduled break, Extension pathologist Laura Sweets will speak at 10:10 a.m., focusing on plant diseases. Bill Wiebold, a corn and soybeans cropping specialist, will speak about biotechnology at 10:40 a.m. and ending the morning sessions with his talk on winter wheat and winter annual weed interactions is cropping specialist Shawn Conley.

Everette Wood, Farm Service Agency executive director, will lead the two afternoon sessions at 1 p.m. with his talk on FSA programs. After a scheduled break, Pam Wiggins, an ag business specialist with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, will end the sessions with a talk on agritourism.

Loos' tales

Those wishing to eat lunch and listen to keynote speaker Trent Loos, a sixth-generation Nebraska farmer who talks about rural life on his radio program "Loos Tales," must pay $10. Loos will address current issues such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (commonly called mad cow disease) and will refute ABC News anchor Peter Jennings' special report on how corn subsidies supposedly lead to American obesity.

Loos will focus on how consumers perceive farmers based on stereotypes created by mass media and activists and will ask farmers to play a more active role in shaping public awareness in his talk, "Returning the Human Element." Loos is scheduled to talk at 11:40 a.m.

Those wishing to hear the keynote speaker must purchase tickets through the Marshall Chamber of Commerce, located at 214 N. Lafayette Ave., by Monday, Jan. 12. Preregistration for the conference is also requested.

"We encourage everyone to come for the entire day," said Joyce Williams, chamber executive director. She said those who can only come for a short while are also welcome.

Wayne Crook, an Extension agronomist, said the Soils and Crops Conference provides a chance for producers to visit with neighbors, discuss ideas and get answers to any questions they have. Traditionally, agricultural businesses attend the luncheon to interact with farmers, offer advice and discuss products.

The conference is presented by the Marshall Chamber of Commerce and University Outreach and Extension and the keynote speaker is sponsored by Central Missouri AgriService, Excel Corporation, KMMO Radio and The Marshall Democrat-News. Registration begins at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 14, at the Saline County Fairground.

Contact Jenny Bryers at

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