Alfalfa U 2024

Feb. 27, 2024 │ Alfalfa U

Event location: Boot Hill Casino & Resort Conference Center, 4100 W Comanche, Dodge City, KS 67801

Sponsorship opportunities: Contact Jason Koenig, [email protected] or 314-873-3125

Hotel Reservations: Contact the Hampton Inn & Suites, Dodge City at 620-225-0000

Sponsor Rules and Regulations: View Here


8:00 AM – Registration

8:30 – Welcome Remarks and Industry Panel

9:40 – Break

10:00 – Breakout 1

  • Kelly Seuhs, Alfalfa Pest Management: A Look at New Challenges and Strategies for Alfalfa Insect Control
  • Jessica Williamson, Optimizing Forage Quality During Harvest

11:00 – Breakout 2

  • Dan Putnam, Technology and Its Importance to Alfalfa’s Future in a Changing Climate
  • Romulo Lollato, Management Practices for High-Yielding Alfalfa

12:00 PM – Lunch

  • Kim Nettleton, Kansas Hay Market 2023 Year in Review

1:15 – Break

1:35 – Breakout 3

  • Dan Putnam, When You Just Don’t Have Enough: Coping with Highly Variable Water Supplies with Alfalfa
  • Dwight Scholl, Basic Alfalfa 101+

2:35 – Closing Keynote – Jeff Hutton, Plains Weather Review and Seasonal Outlook


Kelly  Suehs, Associate Extension Specialist, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University

Bio: Kelly Seuhs is an Oklahoma State University Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. He specializes in alfalfa and pecan, providing industry partners and stakeholders with timely research-based information and programs on current issues and management strategies for arthropods. His current research focuses on alfalfa weevil insecticide resistance and biological strategies for pecan weevil control. As a member of the departmental field and row crops team, Seuhs has collaborated in numerous research trials related to insect management in row crops including sorghum, soybean, and corn.

Session Title: Alfalfa Pest Management: A Look at New Challenges and Strategies for Alfalfa Insect Control

Session Description: This session will discuss major insect pests associated with alfalfa production in the central and southern Great Plains taking a closer look at alfalfa weevil insecticide resistance, its challenges, and strategies for control.

Dr. Romulo P. Lollato, Associate Professor, Wheat and Forage Extension Specialist, Kansas State University

Bio: Romulo Lollato is an associate professor of agronomy, Extension wheat and forage specialist, at Kansas State University. Lollato grew up on his family’s farm in southern Brazil, where his passion for agriculture started. In his current role, he provides leadership for an interdisciplinary team of students working on a number of research projects related to minimizing wheat and alfalfa yield gaps through improved management practices, as well as crop interaction with the environment, i.e., crop ecology.

Session Title: Management Practices for High-Yielding Alfalfa

Session Description: Lollato will present the results from recent studies performed by his group investigating alfalfa management in Kansas. Studies include an on-farm survey of management practices adopted in commercial Kansas alfalfa fields and their relation to alfalfa yield, fertility management, and water use efficiency.

Jeff Hutton, Meteorologist and Owner, Hutton Weather Futures, LLC

Bio: Jeff Hutton is an independent consulting meteorologist based out of Kingman, Kansas. A native of Dodge City, Hutton knew exactly what he wanted to do in life at an early age. He developed a passion for weather after a tornado struck Garden City in 1967. He earned a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and began his professional career in weather in 1983. Hutton joined the National Weather Service in 1989. He retired from that agency in Dodge City in December 2022 and formed Hutton Weather Futures, providing detailed long-range weather outlooks for crop and livestock producers. As a professional meteorologist, Hutton has a vast amount of knowledge on global weather patterns and utilizes innovative strategies and technology applications to support long range forecasts and monthly and seasonal outlooks.

Session Title: Plains Weather Review and Seasonal Outlook

Session Description: Beginning with a review of 2023’s weather, a discussion of the plains climate, weather and climate variability, and challenges of dynamic weather prediction will  follow. The session will end with an outlook for 2024.

Dwight Scholl, Lakin Manager, Tri Rotor Crop Services, LLC

Bio: Dwight Scholl was raised on a small crop and livestock farm in north central Kansas. He started as a floater operator in the fertilizer business in 1973. He was worked predominantly in southwest Kansas and has been with Tri Rotor Crop Services, LLC for 25 years.

Session Title: Basic Alfalfa 101 +

Session Description: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With that in mind, Scholl will encourage producers to analyze the previous year to anticipate potential issues in the future. Scholl wants his customers to prevent or minimize as many of those problems as possible before they appear.

Dan Putnam, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Davis 

Bio: Dr. Daniel H. Putnam is professor emeritus in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California Davis where he has conducted research and extension activities on alfalfa, forage and other agronomic crops in California for the past 31 years. He is from southern Ohio and received his bachelor’s degree from Wilmington College and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Putnam works closely with farmers and industry members to address agronomic practices, conduct research on varieties, irrigation, laboratory measurements of quality, development of unique traits, harvesting schedules, and the economics of alfalfa and various forages.  He is a board member of the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance, a founding member of the California Alfalfa & Forage Association, chair of the Western & California Alfalfa Symposium, and former chair of the World Alfalfa Congress (2022). Putnam has consulted worldwide.

Session Title: When You Just Don’t Have Enough: Coping with Highly Variable Water Supplies with Alfalfa

Session Description: While alfalfa has been frequently criticized for its high water footprint, the water story for alfalfa is actually quite positive. It has many important biological features that enable this crop to be grown under highly variable water supplies. Among these are its very high water-use efficiency, deep rooting patterns, perennialism, growth patterns which enable the crop to be grown with residual moisture, and the frequent harvests which enable at least some production when water supplies are low. A key aspect is its flexibility and ability to be ‘dried down’ when water supplies are short. Strategies for deficit irrigation practices will be discussed.   

Session Title: Technology and Its Importance to Alfalfa’s Future in a Changing Climate

Session Description: How do we cope with the future? We live in an ever changing world of technology, and many climate models predict important changes in coming years. This reality is superimposed on economic and population dynamics, supply and demand for food as well as resources– with the world approaching 9 billion souls. What does this mean for humble crops such as alfalfa? Are there key technological innovations that might be important for alfalfa’s future? These might include genetic, engineering, utilization (value added), and management practice innovations – some are mundane and some are more technologically complex. What are the key elements that would allow alfalfa to thrive in a challenging future?

Kim Nettleton, Kansas Hay Market Reporter, Kansas Department of Agriculture

Bio: Kim Nettleton is the hay market reporter for the Kansas Department of Agriculture and has been with the agency for almost 9 years. In this position, Nettleton reports on all hay types on a weekly basis. These reports support those dependent on knowing the price of hay for their agricultural operations, as well as help the agency’s mission of providing an environment that enhances and encourages economic growth through statistical reporting. Her report is published every Tuesday through the USDA’s Agricultural Market Service and The High Plains Journal.

Prior to joining the Department of Agriculture, Nettleton was the environmental and sustainability lead at Mars Chocolate in Topeka. She resides on a farm in North Lyon County with her husband, Todd, and son, Rider, where they have a small cow/calf operation. She enjoys being hiking, fishing and gardening.    

Session Title: Kansas Hay Market 2023 Year in Review

Session Description: This session will offer a review of the 2023 hay market and offer an explanation of today’s pricing structure.

Jessica Williamson, Marketing Manager, Massey Ferguson North America

Bio: Jessica Williamson earned her doctorate from the University of Kentucky in Forage Management, focusing on the plant-animal interaction. Previously she worked in global product management at AGCO, evaluating features and technologies of hay machines. Currently she serves as marketing manager of hay machines for Massey Ferguson North America.

Session Title: Optimizing Forage Quality During Harvest

Session Description:  The forage harvesting process has the potential to incur immense quality and yield losses. Learn about several key factors that can help reduce losses during harvest.

Katelyn McCullock, Director, Livestock Marketing Information Center

Bio: Katelyn McCullock has been the director and senior agricultural economist at the Livestock Marketing Information Center since 2018. She covers the market analysis and outlook for cattle, dairy, corn and hay for the LMIC. McCullock is a dynamic presenter, specializing in breaking down economic concepts for producers and allied industries. She has experience presenting internationally and to diverse audiences domestically. She has published in academic journals, LMIC publications, regionally online. McCullock regularly participates on KSU radio and has been featured on Brownfield Ag New and RFD-TV, among others.

Before joining LMIC, she worked in the policy space for the American Farm Bureau Federation and the banking sector through the Farm Credit System. She has a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. 

Katelyn McCullock will be participating in the Industry Panel.

Dr. John Holman, Professor of Agronomy, Kansas State University

Bio: Dr. John Holman is a professor in the Agronomy Department at Kansas State University and serves as the cropping systems and forage agronomist in western Kansas. Dr. Holman earned a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy and Agriculture Business and a master’s degree in Weed Science from Montana State University, and a PhD in Plant Science from the University of Idaho. From 2002 to 2006, he worked as a research and extension scientist for the University of Idaho. He joined Kansas State University in 2006. Dr. Holman’s research program is focused on integrated crop/livestock cropping systems, dryland crop production, cover crops and increasing water use efficiency to improve sustainability and profitability.

Dr. John Holman will be participating in the Industry Panel.

Kevin Melvin, Partner, Morning Star Farms

Bio: Kevin Melvin is a partner at Morning Star Farms in Greensburg, Kansas. A native of northeastern Tennessee,  Melvin developed a passion for agriculture at an early age. He specializes in forage production and marketing and has been with Morning Star Farms for over 20 years.

Kevin Melvin will be participating in the Industry Panel.

Charlie Bezona, Co-Owner & Trader, Reinert Hay and Commodities

Bio: Charlie Bezona was raised in smalltown Holly, Colorado. In 2008, he moved to Texas to attend West Texas A&M University. In 2009, alongside lifelong friend and business partner, Heath Reinert,  Reinert Hay and Commodities began as a small feedstore type operation and has since grown into one of the largest hay suppliers in the United States, focusing on markets in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. Reinert Hay and Commodities supplies feed ingredients to feedlots, dairies and ranchers, and specializes  in baled and ground hay. Bezona operates the business and handles trades and sales at the main office and 800-acre hay facility located in Hereford, Texas.

Charlie Bezona will be participating in the Industry Panel.

Adam Robertson, Sales and Production Manager, Bestifor Farms

Bio: Born and raised in Belleville, Kansas, Adam Robertson graduated from Kansas State University in 2009 with a degree in marketing. He started working for Bestifor as a production foreman, raking, baling, grinding, loading and delivering hay. In 2011, Robertson took over a logistics role and started working into sales. He is very community oriented and has been the mayor of Belleville for 5 years.

Adam Robertson will be participating in the Industry Panel.

Alfalfa U Content