IT'S WINTER. Now is your chance to learn about the latest farm products, technologies and research that can help boost profits in the year to come. To help you in your homework, Farm Industry News compiled a list of events that cover everything from combating fuel costs to expanding your operation.

University of Missouri Crop Management Conference

December 14 and 15
Holiday Inn Select
Columbia, MO

Registration fee: $150, which includes meals, handouts and pest identification manuals

Although crop diseases, insects and weeds are still the main focus of this conference, rising fuel and fertilizer costs have expanded the agenda. New sessions will include Nitrogen Management in Uncertain Times and Energy-efficient Crop Production. Other topics will include biofuels, weather information software, and energy use. Scientists and agribusiness and government agency representatives will discuss changing crop management practices.

For more information, contact Bill Wiebold at University of Missouri Extension, 214 Waters Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, 573/882-2801, or wieboldw@missouri.edu.

National No-Tillage Conference

January 11 through 14
St. Louis Pavilion, a Hilton Hotel
St. Louis, MO
Price: $199, which includes all sessions, one lunch and one banquet

The theme of this 14th annual conference is “No-till: Your best chance for success. Profit and yields for lower cost.” Designed for veteran no-tillers, attendees will have the chance to network and choose from 81 sessions that include 12 no-till classrooms.

Topics covered will include managing costs in light of higher energy prices; controlling waterhemp and other troublesome weeds; using strip-till in wet, cold soils; proper use of nitrogen stabilizers; and new no-till products. In addition, Richard Mulvaney, University of Illinois soil scientist, will speak on how to keep yields up while cutting back on fertilizer, and a farmer from Australia will discuss how he has no-tilled in drought conditions.

For more information, contact Frank Lessiter at No-Till Farmer, Box 624, Brookfield, WI 53008, 262/782-4480, or visit www.no-tillfarmer.com.

Farming Together Workshop

January 27 and 28
Stewart Center, Room 314
Purdue University
Lafayette, IN 47907
Price: $80 per farm

Whether you are bringing a relative into the business, merging your business with your neighbors or preparing the next generation of managers for your farm, this workshop offers you a starting point. It focuses on developing a business relationship and building a plan and offers an opportunity to work on the plan's different elements with your future partners. The first day's focus is communications, resources and strategy. Technical issues follow on the second day, such as how to bring new people into your existing business, how to share in ownership and profitability, and what types of business entities are suitable for your situation. The program closes with a peer interview. This gives participants an opportunity to hear how other farmers have dealt with the challenges of working with a partner.

For more information, contact Alan Miller at Agricultural Economics Dept., Purdue University, 403 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907, 765/494-4203, or millerwa@purdue.edu.

No Till on the Plains Conference

January 30 and 31
Bicentennial Center
Salina, KS
Price: $75 for preregistration, which includes workbook of abstracts of speakers and magazine subscription

This conference is designed for farmers who want to perfect their current no-till system, offering information for those in every stage of no-till. While the conference's main focus is always how to show profit based on the best agronomic system available, this year's added theme is “Myths vs. reality: Dispelling the myths of no-till.”

More than 40 general sessions will feature experts, producers and speakers from all over the world. Thirty breakout sessions will run concurrently. Some 65 exhibitors will offer no-till-related equipment and software.

Preregistration is strongly recommended, because up to 1,500 attendees are expected. For more information and to register online, go to www.notill.org. Or contact Brian Lindley at No-Till on the Plains, Box 379, Wamego, KS 66547, 888/330-5142, or info@notill.org.

2006 Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo

February 1 and 2
Ramkota Hotel
Sioux Falls, SD
Price: $100, which includes a reception, breakfast and lunch

Unlike many no-till conferences that deal strictly with no-till farming, the Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo covers all forms of conservation tillage, including strip-till, ridge-till and mulch-till. This year the conference focuses on using conservation tillage strategies to improve return on investment. “One thing that is on top of farmers' minds right now is high energy costs,” says Greg Lamp, editor of The Corn and Soybean Digest, a conference sponsor. “With correct conservation tillage practices, farmers can keep those costs in check.”

Presenters are farmers who are using conservation tillage and experts from universities and the USDA. Growers can receive continuing education credits for attending. Farm Industry News cosponsors the event.

To register, visit www.cornandsoybeandigest.com and click on “Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo” or call 800/722-5334, ext. 14698, or 952/851-4698.

Ag Technology Conference

February 1 and 2
Midtown Holiday Inn
Grand Island, NE
Price: Around $85

The Ag Technology Conference is cosponsored by Nebraska Ag Technology Association and University of Nebraska — Lincoln Extension. Producers, ag businesses and educators will share their knowledge about emerging ag technologies. A main focus of this year's conference is how ag technology can be used for water management. Also discussed will be how wireless technologies and robotics can assist on the farm. The University of Nebraska — Lincoln will share findings from its four-year study on variable-rate nitrogen.

For more information, contact Dave Varner at 1206 W. 23rd St., Freemont, NE 68025, 420/720-2275, or dvarner1@unl.edu.

The National Farm Machinery Show

February 15 through 18
Kentucky Fair and Exhibition Center
Louisville, KY
Price: Free

Sponsored in part by Farm Industry News, The National Farm Machinery Show is the biggest indoor farm show in the Midwest with the largest collection of new equipment. More than 800 exhibitors will show their wares. Farmers will get a hands-on look at almost every major brand available and have the chance to talk directly to company representatives. More than 300,000 people are expected to attend. Each evening and Saturday afternoon, Syngenta will sponsor a ticketed tractor-pull event, featuring drivers from all over the U.S. and Canada.

For more information, call 502/367-5180 or visit www.farmmachinery show.org.

Ag Drainage Water Management & Design Workshop

February 21 and 22
Courtyard by Mariott, Moorhead, MN
Price: Approximately $75/day
March 7 through 9
Best Western Hotel & Conference
Center, North Mankato, MN
Price: Approximately $75/day

This workshop features a comprehensive look at ag drainage. Participants will learn about the importance of water management decisions and how design in drainage works. Hands-on exercises will reinforce the principles of design. Other topics will include the economics of drainage, alternatives to drainage, and environmental impacts. The event is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension Service, along with the extension agencies in North Dakota and Iowa, and industry partners.

For more information, contact Gary Sands at 1390 Eckles Ave., Room 209, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, 612/625-4756; Jerry Wright at 320/589-1711; or visit the University of Minnesota Extension Web site at www.extension.umn.edu or the Drainage Outlet site at d-outlet.coafes.umn.edu.

The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference

February 23 and 24
MacIntosh Center
Ohio Northern University
Ada, OH
Price with early registration is $25 per day or $40 for both days. Registration after February 18 is $35 a day or $50 for both days.

This conference provides information about new methods of conservation tillage. Its main focus this year is precision farming, manure management, drainage and water quality.

Alfred Blackmer, a professor at Iowa State University, who is better known as “Dr. Nitrogen,” will discuss maximizing your nitrogen dollars. Purdue Professor Eileen Kladivko will talk about the beneficial effects of cover crops on water quality for no-till. Mike Plumer, professor at the University of Illinois, will speak on raising annual grass as a winter cover crop. Elwynn Taylor, agricultural climatologist at Iowa State University, will lecture on managing risk based on weather patterns. Harold Van Es, professor at Cornell University, will discuss soil quality and increasing yield. The conference also includes a trade show. Crop advisors can receive up to 12 CCA credits.

For more information, contact Gary Wilson at 419/422-3851 or visit the conference Web site at www.ctc.osu.edu.

The 17th Annual Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference

February 23 through 25
La Crosse Center
La Crosse, WI
Price: $140 for pre-conference Organic University; $160 for main two-day conference, which includes breakfast, lunch and breaks

Whether you are currently practicing organic farming or just considering it, the Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference provides resources and tools on the topic. It is the largest organic farming conference by farmers and for farmers, with 148 exhibitors, 48 workshops and 2,000 expected attendees. Workshop topics include organic weed management, alternative feed crops, and growing organic seed for commercial sale.

The pre-conference event, put on by Organic University, offers courses on production and marketing of organic crops and livestock. Evening entertainment will include organic beer, live entertainment and a folk music contest.

For more information, contact UMOFC, Box 339, Spring Valley, WI 54767, 715/772-3153, or info@mosesorganic.org.

U.S. Custom Harvesters 2006 Annual Convention

March 2 through 4
Kansas Expo Center
Topeka, KS
Price: $100, including food

Custom harvesters learn how to fine-tune harvest machinery for peak efficiency and find out how state and national legislative changes will affect them. Machinery safety clinics and a trade show also are featured. The event's major sponsors are John Deere, AGCO, Lexion, Case IH, and New Holland.

For more information, contact U.S. Custom Harvesters, 1600 N. Lorraine, Suite 204, Hutchinson, KS 67501, 620/664-6297, or manager@ushci.com.

2006 Commodity Classic

March 2 through 4
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, CA

This is the 10th anniversary of the annual convention and trade show of the American Soybean Association and the National Corn Growers Association. Nearly 4,000 people are expected to attend this year's three-day event. Growers can network, learn about new products, and get the latest information on issues affecting their bottom line.

This year's general session will focus on renewable fuels and positively positioning agriculture with American consumers. The Learning Centers will cover such topics as how to master the markets; implementation of the renewable fuels standard; expanding global markets for America's ag products; controlling rust through new technology; equipment sharing; and herbicide-resistant weeds. The conference includes a trade show. Evening entertainment will feature country music star Lorrie Morgan.

For registration and more information, contact Kristi Burmeister at Commodity Classic, 632 Cepi Dr., Chesterfield, MO 63005, 636/922-5551, or commodityclassic@charter.net. View the conference agenda at www.commodityclassic.com.

Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference

March 7 and 8
Denver, CO
Price: $130

The Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference is designed to promote the interaction of crop consultants, soil consultants, researchers, farmers and extension agents on the topics of soil fertility and crop production. Presentations will cover nutrient management of specialty crops, fertilizer and soil testing, crop nutrient management, nitrogen and phosphorous management, and cropping systems. Certified crop advisor credits are offered.

Included in the conference is the Great Plains Leadership Award Ceremony, honoring a person or group that has made innovations or advances in soil fertility. Volunteers organize this self-supported, two-day event.

For more information, contact Phyllis Pates at 772 22nd Ave. S., Brookings, SD 57006, 605/692-6280, or Alan Schlegel at 620/376-4761, or visit their Web site at www.ppi-ppic.org/gpsfc.

Midwest Hay Business Conference and Expo

March 14 and 15
Best Western Ramkota Hotel
Sioux Falls, SD
Price: $150/person, $125 for each additional person in the same operation

This is the second year that the Midwest Hay Business Conference and Expo will be held. Hay & Forage Grower magazine started the conference to help growers market their hay. “University meetings talk about growing and harvesting the crop, but little is covered on marketing it,” says Neil Tietz, editor of Hay & Forage Grower. “This conference focuses on the marketing of hay.” Topics include new approaches to hay marketing, developing new markets, and new concepts in hay packaging.

For more information, contact Cindy Kramer at 952/851-4698 or visit www.hayconference.com.