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Kansas Wheat Conference allows farmers to weigh-in on policy

Wheat farmers from across the state will descend upon The Hotel at Old Town in Wichita on July 30-31, for the 2009 Kansas Wheat Conference. The conference, which centers on the annual meetings for both the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Wheat Commission, will act as a forum for wheat producers to weigh in on key policy issues--such as the highly divisive Congressional debate over climate change that affect the Kansas wheat industry.

"EPA is moving forward with the threat of greenhouse gas regulation as the Obama administration pushes Congressional action," said Dana Peterson, producer policy specialist at Kansas Wheat. "There is yet to be a complete economic analysis of the House-passed bill; nor have we seen any details of potential input cost increases or direct benefits to farmers should the legislation pass. This analysis needs to come forward."

A recent KAWG membership survey indicated that members are concerned about the relationship of fuel and fertilizer input prices to profitability.

"We will continue to work forward through this national debate with the interests of Kansas wheat growers in the forefront," Peterson says.

While state and federal agricultural policy will take shape at the annual Kansas Wheat Conference, many other topics and presentations will help wheat farmers and industry understand the exciting future of wheat production in Kansas.

"We've got a great lineup of speakers and topics, including an address from Al Ambrose, vice president of risk management for CHS, whose topic, 'The Luckiest Generation' tells us how fortunate we are to be living in this exciting time," said Aaron Harries, director of marketing, Kansas Wheat.

According to Harries, attendees will gain a greater understanding of new technology coming to the wheat industry, plus a world wheat marketing perspective.

Following Ambrose's address, which kicks off the meeting at 1:30 p.m. on July 30, David Baltensperger, a professor in the Norman Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M will present his topic: "The Next Green Revolution in Wheat."

"It's been almost 40 years since Dr. Norman Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize for leading The Green Revolution with wheat. We thought it would be interesting to see if biotechnology represents the next green revolution for the crop," Harries said.

The event's keynote speaker is Vince Peterson, from U.S. Wheat Associates, who will focus on the perception of U.S. wheat farmers around the world. Also, the Kansas Wheat Distinguished Service Awards also will be presented.

A full schedule is available on the Kansas Wheat Web site, www.kansaswheat.org.

Conference co-sponsors include Kansas Wheat, Manhattan; KFSA, Hutchinson; Korol Financial Group, Derby and BASF.

Cost to attend the Kansas Wheat Conference is $80 prior to July 24; $100 thereafter and at the door. Farmers can call 1-866-75-WHEAT to reserve their seat. All meals are included; however, hotel is not. Call the Hotel at Old Town at 1-877-265-3869 for reservations.

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