By Stan Ashbee
Westwind Weekly News
Farm management is the focus of the upcoming Farming Smarter conference at Lethbridge’s Exhibition Park in the North Pavilion Dec. 12-13.
“We focus a lot on agronomy, but we bring in speakers on marketing, management, and technology,” said Jamie Puchinger, assistant manager at Farming Smarter.
Puchinger noted the event kicks off with a keynote presentation Wednesday morning. “This year, our first keynote is Kevin Folta from the University of Florida. He’s going to talk about communication between farm folks and non-farm folks and how to break through that divide,” she explained. The keynote address is entitled, “Calling Across the Divide: Connecting with Non-Farm Audiences.”
There will also be project updates from Farming Smarter. “Ken Coles, our general manager, is going to talk about our hail study,” she added.
A facilitated networking session will also be included at the conference.
“We’re going to encourage the crowd — not only to learn from the presenters, but also from each other. So, making those introductions and sort of forcing them to meet other people,” she joked.
Other speakers will include Kelly Turkington and Hector Carcamo from AAFC with a presentation on cereal disease management and flea beetles.
According to Puchinger, 4-H members attend the event to give short presentations after lunch both days. “They’re typically the speech winners,” she said.
A silent and live auction will also be held to help raise funds for the southern region 4-H.
At the end of the day Wednesday, Puchinger said, conference organizers want to work towards a world record attempt.
“From 4-6 p.m., we’re going to encourage everyone to stick around and give us a hand for our world record attempt. It’s the most amount of wheat hand-threshed in one minute. We’re going to get everyone to participate and start threshing the heads and get the clean seed in to buckets and see how much weight-wise we can get,” she noted.
Other topics of discussion will include new opportunities in cannabis, management practices that support healthy soil microbiome, and weather impacts and what to watch out for in 2019.
Next week’s conference has grown into an annual event, Puchinger said.
“We’ve been hosting it in Lethbridge for the last few years.”