In an effort to deliver a better program to Missouri agriculture, three of the state's ag associations have agreed to merge their winter events into a single trade show and conference, the Show-Me Ag Classic.

The organizations hosting this new program will be the Missouri Ag Industries Council, the Missouri Corn Growers Association and the Missouri Soybean Association. The event is scheduled Jan. 16 and 17, 2001, at the Hearnes Center, on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.

"This event is going to be an energy boost for the entire industry, and a tremendous opportunity to build stronger ties within the ag community," said MO-AG Chairman Ron Utterback. "Our goal is to elevate important ag issues to a higher profile, while keeping the identity of each organization intact."

The Show-Me Ag Classic includes a trade show that features cutting-edge ag technology and a chance to visit with the company representatives who supply services and equipment to the farming industry. The Missouri Soybean Association has agreed to bring the activities of its annual Missouri Soybean Conference to the event. The Missouri Corn Board is taking this opportunity to offer a whole new program to its members and supporters. Both commodity groups are bringing their yield contest award ceremonies to the program.

A line-up of quality speakers will provide an innovative and exciting opportunity for those who attend to learn about their industry. Hosts of the event will be inviting presenters from around the nation to address issues of interest to farmers and agribusiness. These speakers are expected to address topics including: emerging technologies and e-commece, risk management planning, identity preservation of grains and how farmers can add value to their product through new generation cooperatives. Courses offering Continuing Education Units for certified crop advisors will be available for the benefit of advisors and farmers. An economic outlook for Missouri's future and an overview of trends in agriculture will bring the Tuesday seminar to an end. In addition, sessions geared to the interests of ag retailers will be presented Wednesday morning.

The meeting will not be all business. Organizers of the event are offering an evening meal featuring the bounty of AgriMissouri's harvests and a casino night to enliven the proceedings.

Nationwide, mergers of agricultural trade shows and conferences are not unusual. "Each year, we look at what we can do to add value to our own program. We believe this move will do that," said Dale R. Ludwig, Missouri Soybean Association executive director and chief executive officer.

Gary Marshall, MCGA chief executive officer, believes this could be the beginning of a great partnership. "Nationally, merging the National Corn Growers and American Soybean Association programs has been wildly successful, drawing thousands of farm and agribusiness professionals to the annual Commodity Classic," said Marshall. "With the new Show-Me Ag Classic, we are combining the strengths of three important Missouri ag associations. We look forward to having Missouri farmers and agribusiness professionals join us in January."

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