Farm Bureau sponsors grain drying, storage and marketing seminar

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Town Crier News Staff

Mississippi County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers sponsored a grain drying, storage and marketing seminar on Wednesday, March 5, at the Northeast Research and Extension Center in Keiser.

The informative meeting and luncheon was attended by area farmers. Mississippi County Farm Bureau President Justin Wildy welcomed guests with Heath Adkisson, Young Farmers and Ranchers Chair, making opening comments.

Gene Martin, senior marketing analyst with Arkansas Farm Bureau, talked on index funds, markets, record wheat production, demand, grain and cotton prices, acreages planted, projected acreages, exports, imports, costs, and more.

"We moved to a new level of prices," he said.

He encouraged the producers to learn how to use options.

"You have to be willing to pull the trigger and not look back," he said. "Use the pencil and yellow tablet. Don't let past history influence your decisions. I will be willing to talk to you when you call or you can check out the information on our website."

Dave Freeze, County Extension Chair, introduced Dennis Gardisser, Ph.D., P.E., professor and associate department head, Extension Engineer Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department with the University of Arkansas.

Dr. Gardisser offered information on grain drying using psychrometric and moisture equilibrium charts as guides discussing conventional storage, preparing and care of storage bins from year to year, temperatures, air flow, tools, fan efficiency, procedures, shrinkage, moisture levels, etc.

He gave pros and cons of using the field bags for storage. Gardisser and his staff worked with the county Extension staff monitoring the bags checking temperatures to keep a chart on the moisture inside the bag. He also talked about placement, problems with animals, birds, drainage, and pinholes.

"We will continue to study it and gaining experience as we go along," Gardisser said. "Arkansas is not the only state looking at it. We will share experiences."

He said the key word to storage options is "monitor, monitor, and monitor."

After a lunch catered by Razorback Catering, Stanley Reed, president of Arkansas Farm Bureau spoke on issues facing Arkansas farmers.

"Without the Farm Bureau voice, we would not be near as effective," Reed said, "If farmers do not speak for ourselves, someone else will talk for us. If we are not there, someone else will be there and they may not understand the complexity of farmers. We are competing with world issues. We have heard the numbers of two million farms in America. Half of those sell less than $10,000 each year. Still, half of them are part-time farmers. About one fourth of a million farmers produce 90 percent of our products.

"Our main power is in rooms like these. Farm Bureau represents the grass roots. Farm Bureau gets the attention of policy makers and gets involved at the county and state level. Farm Bureau makes things happen."

Adkisson thanked everyone for attending.

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