Growers Meet at Kansas Commodity Classic

By: DeEtta Bohling, Communications Specialist

Policy, markets and weather were the topics covered by speakers at the 2012 Kansas Commodity Classic this week. Growers gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport Hotel on Tuesday for the event.

Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman kicked off the day’s program with an update from the Kansas Department of Agriculture. He reported that Kansas agriculture is focused on growth and that he believes that U.S. agriculturists are more attuned to the world markets and are some of the nation’s top entrepreneurs.

Mike Smith, meteorologist and CEO of Wichita-based Weather Data Services reported on near and long-term weather. Though Kansas experienced a mild winter, that was not the case for most parts of the world, as world temperatures in January were slightly colder than normal. Smith informed growers that corn and bean planting should be ahead of schedule this year. Smith predicts an enhanced tornado risk for Eastern Kansas and northern Kansas should above average temperatures this summer.

Senator Jerry Moran, the keynote speaker, addressed issues in Washington, D.C., and how they affect Kansas agriculture. Moran says that constant education about farming is needed in Congress, especially how it pertains to urban growth. “We need to figure out a way to tell an urban world what it is farmers do,” stated Moran. “My colleagues have little appreciation for the place we call home.”

Moran also stressed the importance of keeping families farming and spoke his concerns regarding the Department of Labor’s proposed rules that will prevent children working on a farm or ranch. Moran is in his first term as a U.S. Senator representing Kansas. He serves on several Senate committees including the Banking, Appropriations, and Homeland Security and Government Affairs committees.

Also on Tuesday, Kansas Soybean, Corn, Grain Sorghum and Wheat took the opportunity to present Aaron Popelka with a Distinguished Service Award for his work as the chief counsel for Senator Jerry Moran. Popelka is now the vice president of legal and government affairs for the Kansas Livestock Association.

Joe Prusacki, USDA’s Director of Statistics and Farm Futures Grain Analyst Arlan Suderman took the stage to speak about USDA crop reports and the markets before the growers enjoyed the Commodity Classic Luncheon. In the afternoon, National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett; National Sorghum Producers Executive Director Tim Lust, and Dan Maltby, Dan Maltby Risk Management Group gave commodity updates for wheat, grain sorghum and corn.

The 2012 Kansas Commodity Classic was sponsored by the Kansas Agriculture Network, Kansas Corn Growers Association, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association.

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