Kansas Association of Wheat Growers officials are using the word "successful" in describing the Producer Business Development Series.

The KAWG initiated the series, with three conferences across Kansas delving into the issue of farm labor.

Janet McPherson, KAWG director of market development, said, "The information presented was outstanding. Attendees were pleased with the ideas they were able to talk away with, and the new tools they gained." The two featured speakers at the conferences, in Colby, Dodge City and Hutchinson, were Sarah Fogleman, Kansas State University Department of Ag Economics; and Juan Marinez, assistant director for outreach, with the Julian Samora Research Institute, at Michigan State University.

KAWG Vice President John Thaemert, who farms near Sylvan Grove, in Lincoln County, said the conference he attended was very good and beneficial to his farm manager and himself. Thaemert said he had "invited his manager to attend, because it is a good idea to show appreciation, and show that the employee is part of the organization." He said the conference was very informative on a number of key issues, not the least of which was the interview process, including what to ask and what not to ask.

McPherson said that not only wheat producers and KAWG members attended, but farmers growing other grains and some livestock producers attended the conferences. She commented that the presentations not only had beneficial knowledge for farmers, but also was pertinent to rural businesses of all kinds. Interaction between attendees and presenters was very strong.

McPherson visited with many of the attendees, in an attempt to get ideas for topics that might be covered in later conferences, and the suggestions included production contracts, estate planning, communications and technology and advanced labor issues going past what was included in this week's conferences. Thaemert seconded the idea of a more advanced conference on the farm labor issue later, which should include discussions on structuring employee benefit plans.

McPherson said information on additional conferences in the Producer Business Development Series will be available in a few weeks.

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