Farm Show to offer training and outlook sessions at Coliseum event

January 10th, 2018

By Doug LeDuc | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

With the current farm bill expiring this year, a presentation on national agricultural policy will be up there with dicamba application training and industry outlook sessions as far as crowd appeal goes at the 2018 Fort Wayne Farm Show.

The free event is among the biggest shows at the Memorial Coliseum each year. “It’s in the 29th year; we’re expecting 30,000 people,” said Fred Cline, show director for the annual event’s producer, Tradexpos.

“There’s going to be 11,000 booths this year representing over 450 companies,” he said. “One of the highlights this year we’re expecting is going to be the seminar on the farm bill; that takes place Jan. 17.”

The show dates are Jan. 16-18 and it starts each day at 9 a.m. Educational programs will be presented at the event each day by representatives of northeast Indiana Soil and Water Conservation districts and by Purdue University’s Cooperative Extension Service.

The Farm Bill presentation has been scheduled as an 11:30 a.m. luncheon program in the Coliseum’s Appleseed Room B. It will be offered by Bob White, director of national government relations for the Indiana Farm Bureau.

The dicamba application training will be offered in the afternoons of Jan. 16 and 17 by Purdue Extension for $10.

Private applicator recertification program credit for private applicators will be offered both days and continuing certification hour program credit for commercial applicators will accompany related training offered the first day.

Dicamba herbicide damages most broadleaf plants and can now be used with Monsanto’s new Xtend variety of soybeans.

Last summer, a surge of complaints in Arkansas and Missouri concerning dicamba spray drift caused those states to impose temporary bans on some formulations of the product. According to the complaints, it was causing unintended damage to valued crops and plants near sprayed fields.

Last month, the office of Indiana State Chemist announced it would require certification and make training available to earn it for private and commercial use of certain types of dicamba products.

The website for the office showed it had received 257 drift complaints for 2017 as of Oct. 27, and 129 of them were alleged to involve a dicamba product.

“The objective of the training is to prepare the applicator for the regulatory and practical rigors of applying these three products safely and effectively so we can maintain the availability of this weed control option in the future,” David Scott, state pesticide administrator, said in the announcement.

“Starting Jan. 1, all training will be run through the existing continuing certification hour program for commercial applicators and private applicator recertification program for private applicators,” he said.

“Every 2018 training program for private applicators will include dicamba training. Likewise, many Category 1 CCH training sessions for commercial applicators will include the required dicamba training.”

Engenia, FeXapan, XtendiMax and other products containing at least 6.5 percent dicamba recently were classified as restricted-use pesticides in the state, which means farmers will not be able to apply them on their fields without a license for that purpose, said Steve Engleking, an agriculture and natural resources educator with Purdue Extension’s LaGrange County office.

With some RUPs, a farmer with a private applicator license can supervise spraying of the products by others, but that is not the case in Indiana with the new dicamba products, he said.

“That’s a step down a more stringent path,” Engleking said. “A lot of folks are saying they are not going to use it.”

Weather outlook presentations will be offered every day of the farm show, as will grain market outlook presentations. The first program of the show, a grain outlook presentation by ag commodities analysts Jon Cavanaugh and David Kohli, traditionally has been its best attended session.

Among other presentations scheduled for the show, Engleking is looking forward to the one on Wednesday morning about the science of GMOs with Peter Goldsbrough, said Engleking, who will be helping with the educational sessions.

Goldsbrough, a professor with Purdue’s department of botany and plant pathology, will talk about the science behind genetically modified organisms as well as why we have them and what they do for humankind, Engleking said.

The subject is of particular interest in LaGrange County, he said, because it is the biggest county in the state for the production and sale of organic agricultural products.

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