High Plains Journal’s Farmer U & Trade Show to debut in August, speakers announced

After a year of shutdowns and canceled plans, High Plains Journal is pleased to present a new event called Farmer U & Trade Show, which will take place Aug. 18 to 19 in Mulvane, Kansas, at the Kansas Star Event Center.

The two day, in-person event will include keynote addresses, educational breakout sessions, panel discussions, an evening social event and a trade show full of vendors. The education will focus on soil health, irrigation, soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum, alfalfa and cotton.

The event will open with a keynote from Michelle Miller, also known as the Farm Babe on social media platforms. Miller, who now lives in Florida, is an internationally known speaker, writer, social media influencer and agriculture “mythbuster” who strives to tell agriculture’s story to the world. Her keynote address, “Bridging the gap between farmers and consumers,” will discuss the misinformation that is spread about agriculture and how farmers and ranchers can use their voice to stand up for agriculture and educate consumers.

The closing keynote will be Rob Sharkey, also known as The SharkFarmer. Sharkey is a fifth-generation farmer from Illinois who started hosting the “SharkFarmer Podcast” in 2017. He also hosts a radio show on Sirius XM with his co-host and wife, Emily. In 2020 he launched a new television show on RFDTV called “SharkFarmer TV.” Much of Sharkey’s media ventures center around spotlighting people in agriculture and providing a platform for their stories. Sharkey’s keynote, called “Turn…Engage…Hit Resume,” will focus on his unconventional journey to becoming a disrupter in the agriculture industry by taking steering his future toward success.

Panels and education sessions

Along with the all-star keynote speakers, Farmer U will include two panel discussions during general sessions. Closing out the first day of the event will be the ever-popular farmer panel, which will include: Ki Gamble, Travis Schnaithman, Jimmy Frederick and Jeremy Brown. Gamble is a fourth-generation farmer from Greensburg, Kansas, who farms irrigated and dryland alfalfa, corn, sunflowers, soybeans, sorghum and wheat and has won the National Sorghum Producer’s Grain Sorghum Yield Contest 10 times. Schnaithman, a past National FFA Star Farmer of America, is a fifth-generation farmer from Garber, Oklahoma, who raises wheat, soybeans, sorghum and corn with his father and brother. Frederick of Rulo, Nebraska, farms 3,000 acres of mostly non-irrigated ground alongside his father. Frederick is the world record holder for dryland soybeans at 148.8 bushels per acre. Jeremy Brown operates a 4,000-acre farming operation called Broadview Agriculture near Lubbock, Texas, using regenerative farming practices to raise cotton.

The Farmer U women’s panel will kick off day two with the Farm Babe serving as moderator for a line-up that will include Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma’s first female Secretary of Agriculture; Whitney Larson, a city girl turned Kansas farm wife, agricultural blogger and podcaster; fifth-generation Nebraska farmer Sarah Greer; and Colorado Farmer Bureau state officer and agriculturist Roxi McCormick.

The educational breakout session will cover a variety of commodities and topics. Brent Bean, director of agronomy for the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, will present a session on new herbicide technologies for sorghum. Schnaithman will use his firsthand knowledge of on-farm storage and wheat marketing in his presentation called “Marketing wheat to extract additional value.” Bruce Anderson, Extension forage specialist emeritus at the University of Nebraska, will give a breakout session detailing the benefits of alfalfa in crop rotations. Frederick will give a presentation on decreasing soybean plant populations while also improving plant health increasing yield. Seth Byrd, Oklahoma State University Extension cotton specialist, is slated to present a session on cotton stand establishment and seed quality in the Great Plains.

Trisha Jackson, director of regenerative agriculture at PrairieFood, will provide a soil health breakdown about how taking care of the soil takes care of crops. Sarah Lancaster, Kansas State University assistant professor of agronomy and Extension specialist, will share the secrets of managing weeds—specifically pigweed—in corn in her breakout session. Scott Staggenborg, sorghum product marketing director at S&W Seed, will provide an analysis of new technologies on the rise in sorghum and how sorghum can become a more important crop rotation. Kurt Grimm, owner of NutraDrip Irrigation Systems, will use his session to explain how producers can get the most from their irrigation water. For a complete list of speakers and topics, visit www.farmeru.net/attend/speakers/.

Farmer U awards and registration

The Farmer U & Trade Show event will also include the Farmer U Awards, including 2021 Woman of the Year Award and 2021 Farmer of the Year Awards, which are given in the categories of alfalfa, corn, cotton, soil health, sorghum, soybeans and wheat. Individuals can be nominated by visiting www.farmeru.net and filling out an online form. If selected, the recipient will be notified in advance and will receive two free registrations to attend the event, a one year subscription to High Plains Journal, editorial coverage in the publication and recognition during the awards ceremony at Farmer U. Nominations are due July 19.

To learn more about the speakers, trade show or to register, visit www.farmeru.net. Pre-registration is $100 per person and onsite registration is $125 per person. HPJ subscribers receive a $25 discount at pre-registration and onsite registration pricing, check your current HPJ issue for the discount code. HPJ will be in compliance with all local and state pandemic precautions at the time of the event; however, facemasks and COVID-19 vaccinations will not be required. We encourage attendees to social distance whenever possible and our staff will strive to make the event as safe as possible. Questions about Farmer U can be directed to the event manager, Kylie Reiss, who can be reached at 785-346-4067 or [email protected].

Lacey Newlin can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].