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    Education and networking highlighted at 2016 Farmland Forum

    Education and networking highlighted at 2016 Farmland Forum

    Providing relevant information about agriculture and opportunities for networking are goals of The Chicago Farmers’ Farmland Forum, and the 2016 Forum did not disappoint attendees with its offerings.

    “I learned important information about leases in the first seminar session I attended,” said Jay French, whose family has a 100 acre farm in Rock Island County. “This is the first time I have attended the Forum and I found it worthwhile.”

    Melody Clouser, member relations manager for Sagamore Ag Source in Lafayette, Indiana, was a first time exhibitor and she was happy with the day’s outcome. “I thought it was a good event. This was a different audience for our group. Usually I meet with farmers, but today I had the opportunity to talk with investors. I was able to get our name out to a different arena.”

    Jay’s and Melody’s experiences are what the Forum’s planners aim to achieve. Forum planning committee chairman Mat Rund and committee members Jeff Martin, Rich Schell and Chicago Farmers’ Board of Directors developed topics and sought speakers and exhibitors that reflect current trends in agriculture and provide attendees with tools that makes them smarter about agriculture.

    “The Farmland Fair (as the Forum was previously known) has changed with the times and it continues to offer a lot of information and connections,” said Evan Lemenager, of Land Sales Bulletin, who has been attending the fairs since they were held at Pheasant Run Resort in the 1990s.

    Randy Aberle’s booth FlyingAg highlighted the changes in agriculture. Randy is in the drone business. The unmanned aircraft are valuable instruments in allowing farmers to see aerial views of the farthest reaches of their acreage. “The drone market is growing exponentially,” said Randy. “People are realizing the value of seeing their fields from a remote location. I’ve had a lot of good conversations today with people.”

    The March 19 event at Joliet Junior College’s Weitendorf Agricultural Education Center provided seminars on managing nitrogen and phosphorous losses, grain storage management, the pros and cons of conventional and organic farming, farmland values and leasing trends, the evolution of farms involved in sudden transfers, 1031 Exchanges, accumulating helpful data from farm fields, increasing profits, legal insights for agtech ventures, Multifunctional Perennial Cropping Systems, roof gardens, agricultural leadership, grain market outlook, and thoughts on insurance and risk management. In addition to the seminars, 36 exhibitors shared information on a variety of topics that connected attendees with sellers and buyers of farmland and offered insights on how to be better stewards of the land.

    If you missed this year’s event, plan to attend the 2017 Farmland Forum.