March 7, 2012

Commodity Classic 2012

This year’s Commodity Classic, which was held in Nashville, Tennessee, was definitely a classic as it broke both the attendance record and trade show exhibitor record. There were over 6,000 people that attended and the trade show had over 250 displays. It was also a time for the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and the National Sorghum Producers to meet with their members and go over policies that they would like to support or oppose this upcoming year.

The most talked about issue at this year’s Commodity Classic was the upcoming Farm Bill. All four commodity groups agreed that the Farm Bill needs to be passed this year. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, also agreed with the associations as he gave a keynote address during the general session. Secretary Vilsack said the Farm Bill needs to get done now and not be put off any longer. He also mentioned that the new Farm Bill must be equitable and needs to include a safety net. Almost everyone agreed that direct payments will be left out of the next Farm Bill and that there will be more focus on a stronger crop insurance program.

When looking at other issues that many farmers will face this next year, National Corn Growers Association President, Garry Niemeyer, said that the biggest challenge corn farmers will face is the volatility in the markets. He said it will be important for corn farmers to manage their risks as we might see tighter profit margins this coming year in the corn market. However, Mr. Niemeyer noted that corn farmers have a bright future, especially with new technology coming out. He said the National Corn Growers Association is also partnering with groups to help educate consumers on today’s agricultural practices, such as working with the Corn Farmers Coalition, CommonGround, American Ethanol, and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

Another highlight of Commodity Classic was the trade show that featured all of the new technology available to farmers. This new technology ranged from new seed traits to newer equipment. Many exhibitors also showed off their new software programs that can be used on cell phones and tablets. This software ranged from helping make marketing decisions to receiving information from your equipment, such as fuel efficiency. If attendees weren’t in the tradeshow, it is likely they could have been found in one of the many different learning sessions that ranged from advocating about agriculture to how to increase yields.

Overall, this year’s Commodity Classic highlighted the many innovations that are being made by America’s farmers. It also was a great opportunity for farmers to network with other farmers from different parts of the U.S. While another Commodity Classic has come and gone, the information learned at this year’s Commodity Classic will live on helping our farmers continue to produce the safest and healthiest food for our growing world population.

Commodity Classic pictures can be seen on Flickr!

No comments:

Post a Comment