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LANSING, MI -- The Michigan Wheat Program’s 5th Annual Winter Grower Meeting is now open for registration.

The March 14 event has several interesting speakers, including keynote presentations by Ohio-based farm risk consultant Mike Mock, and Minneapolis ag sustainability expert, farmer and former General Mills grain executive Steven Peterson.

This year’s Annual Winter Grower Meeting is set for 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14, in the Composer Room, Bavarian Inn Lodge, 1 Covered Bridge Lane, Frankenmuth.  Registration is now live at miwheat.org at the top of the “What’s Hot” column on the left edge of the page.

There are two main topics the board wanted to look at during this year’s annual meeting. Dave Milligan, chairman of the Michigan Wheat Program and a Cass City farmer, said “Risk management is important, through both risk control tools and crop diversity. It was important for us to get a speaker who could help growers understand how to minimize risk on their farms.”

Mike Mock, principle in Mock Consulting, Inc., of Swanson, Ohio, has enjoyed a 40-year career with The Andersons, most recently as a grain merchandiser.  He is particularly well-versed in helping growers develop risk management plans that blend high-quality crop insurance tools with a diversified marketing approach.

“Growers need to be focused on the marketing horizon and it will certainly be affected by this “sustainability” buzzword,” Jody Pollok-Newsom, Michigan Wheat Program Executive Director said.  “What does sustainability really mean?  Does it matter to or will it affect wheat farmers in Michigan?  And how will growers be able to meet market needs that are driven by consumers and corporations rather than science and regulations?”

Steven Peterson grew up on a farm and is a farmer himself, in addition to having worked for General Mills. He understands both sides of the sustainability discussion and will enlighten listeners as he explains this new buzzword and what it really means for those involved in the food system.

The Annual Winter Grower Meeting will also have …

• A welcome by Milligan;

• A variety of industry displays in a trade show;

• A presentation on “Maximizing Profitability by Selecting the Best Wheat Genetics for Your Farm,” by MSU wheat researcher Dr. Eric Olson;

• A presentation on the disease challenges growers faced in 2016 by Martin Nagelkirk and Dr. Marty Chilvers;

• A grower panel discussion by winners in the National Wheat Yield Contest on how they broke yield records;

• Dennis Pennington’s survey of grower needs and focuses for 2017; and

• A presentation on “MI Wheat Program Disease Control Work” and an update on the wheat check-off program by Michigan Wheat Program executive director Jody Pollok-Newsom.

There is no cost to attend the Michigan Wheat Program’s 2017 Annual Winter Grower Meeting, but advance registration is required to ensure the lunch count, and adequate seating and handouts.  Last year about 300 people attended the event.

Register online at www.miwheat.org under “What’s Hot.”  Or by phone by calling:  888-WHEAT01 (888-943-2801).

The Michigan Wheat Program is funded by nearly 8,000 farmers who grow wheat in 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties. The Michigan Wheat Program board seeks to promote the state’s wheat industry by funding and supporting the strategic priorities of wheat farmers working with input suppliers, seed producers, millers, end users and consumers.  Research on wheat production practices and grower education has been an early priority for the organization.

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