Montana Farmers Union to hold 101st annual convention

Drone technology, pulse crops and water rights are among the highlights of the 2016 Montana Farmers Union Annual Meeting and Convention to be held Oct. 21-22 in Great Falls at the Best Western Heritage Inn.

This year’s convention theme is “Cultivating Healthy Communities.” Attendees will have a variety of workshops and presentations to choose from during the two-day event. Dr. Joe Outlaw, a lead Ag economist with Texas A and M University, will be the Friday luncheon keynote speaker.

Friday afternoon will feature a panel comprised of MFU members with value added agriculture businesses including Mission Mountain Food Enterprise and Timeless Seeds. Live music will be provided by the Plowed Under Band that evening.

Saturday, Robert Blair, referred to as the “unmanned farmer,” will talk about drones in agriculture, followed by a panel on pulse crops with several experts in the field including: Kim Murray, Chair of the Montana Pulse Advisory Committee; Chen Chengci with Montana State University; Ted Rowland with BNSF and Jeff Rumney with the Northern Pulse Growers Association.

At Saturday’s youth luncheon, retired Marine Eric Mcelvenny will share his inspirational story. Eric deployed three times to Afghanistan. On his final tour he was wounded after stepping on an IED and suffered the amputation of his right leg below the knee. He is now training for a triathlon. Saturday’s luncheon will also recognize MFU youth leaders for their contributions to the organization.

Following the luncheon Saturday there will be a panel on water rights with panelists Krista Lee Evans of Blake Creek Project Management, Inc., Tim Davis with the DNRC and Brad Hamlett, Chair of the Interim Water Committee. A third panel will focus on the use, certification requirements and management of pesticides. Participating on this panel is: Krista Lee Evans, executive director, Montana Agricultural Business Association; Donna Rise, from the Montana Department of Agriculture; Dr. Cecil Tharp; Montana State University.

Saturday night will conclude with a members’ banquet featuring NFU President Roger Johnson. Johnson will address potential components of the next farm bill. Centennial farm and ranch honors will also be awarded to two Montana families.

A full conference agenda and online registration can be found on our website. To register visit: http://montanafarmersunion.com/annual-convention-2016/. For sponsorship opportunities, call the state office at 406-452-6406. We hope to see you there.

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