Illinois Farm Bureau members, staff and agriculture industry professionals are invited to attend the 2018 Farm Income and Innovation Conference, held July 31 and Aug. 1, 2018 at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

The conference kicks off with a bridge event Tuesday evening, July 31, featuring Dr. Joe Glauber, senior fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. Glauber will talk all things trade, covering what is at stake for U.S. agriculture in the current trade conflicts.

Wednesday, Aug. 1, three general sessions and six breakout sessions will help farmers analyze and adapt to today’s complicated trade landscape, as well as efficiently manage their farms even as profit margins continue to erode.

“For Illinois farmers, and farmers across the country, a difficult situation in the depressed farm economy has gotten more complicated with escalating trade tensions,†said Mike Doherty, senior economist, Illinois Farm Bureau. “General sessions and breakout sessions at this year’s conference are designed to help farmers survive the rough seas they’re experiencing. We’re bringing in excellent speakers on financial management, farmland values, trade policy and more to help farmers put a plan in place and act on those plans.â€

First general session speaker Jim Wiesemeyer, a Washington policy analyst at ProFarmer, will speak about farm and trade policy in volatile times. Participants will then have an opportunity to choose two breakout sessions from five possible topics. Breakout sessions include:

  • Adding value to farm income with specialty grains, Ken Dallmier, president and COO, Clarkson Grain Co.;
  • Whole farm and family financial management, Paul Stoddard, lecturer in Agribusiness at the University of Illinois College of ACES;
  • Situation and outlook for crop prices for 2018 and 2019, Todd Hubbs, assistant professor, Agricultural Commodity Markets, Department of ACES, University of Illinois;
  • Illinois farmland values and lease trends, Dan Patten, regional manager, Farm Management and Brokerage, Soy Capital Ag Services; and
  • How meat exports enhance the bottom line, Greg Hanes, vice president, International Marketing and Programs, U.S. Meat Export Federation

The second general session will focus on growing season weather risks in agriculture, presented by Eric Snodgrass from Agrible. Finally, Dr. Ron Hanson, professor emeritus, Harlan Agribusiness at the University of Nebraska will tackle farm succession and ways to keep the farm in the family for future generations.

“Farming always has been a risky endeavor, but as farm income forecasts are revised lower and lower, it’s more important than ever for farmers to adopt new ideas and strategies,†Doherty said. “This conference should provide an abundance of both.â€

Those wishing to attend the conference may register now through July 25 by contacting their local county Farm Bureau, or by registering online at On-site registration will be available the day of the conference. Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader and Collegiate Farm Bureau members may receive a complimentary registration through July 19; free registration does not apply for on-site registration.

Additionally, a special guest room rate of $134 per night, plus tax, is available for Tuesday July 31. The special rate is available only until July 9; after July 9, the block of rooms will be released and rooms will be sold at the market rate. To make reservations, call 309-862-9000.