Kansas soybean farmers and their industry partners will gather Jan. 8, 2020, in Topeka for the Kansas Soybean Expo. The Kansas Soybean Association organizes the annual event, with checkoff funding from the Kansas Soybean Commission, to coincide with the Topeka Farm Show.

The free event returns to the Capitol Plaza Hotel’s Maner Conference Center at the Stormont Vail Events Center, formerly the Kansas Expocentre. Registration and exhibits open at 8:30 a.m., with the program scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A reception with KSA and KSC leaders will follow.

The welcome will come from KSA President Dwight Meyer, Hiawatha, and KSC Chairman Bob Haselwood, Berryton. The opening session will offer checkoff-partner updates. The first will be from Shelby Watson, allied-industry relations manager for the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. Next will be Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications for the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

This year’s keynote speaker, Leslie Norris Townsend, left behind a promising acting career to create a better life for her children. In the classic fish-out-of-water tale, she moved from Hollywood, California, to rural Ohio to live and work on her husband’s 100-year-old family farm. That only added new material to her already-hilarious routines.

Besides being a proud mother, Townsend also is a successful businesswoman. She co-owns Townsend Productions, a 15,000-square-foot recording facility in Celina, Ohio. She brings the same skills to business that have served her well in life—letting go of ego, making the best of any situation and working hard. Backed by more than 20 years of experience, she is one of the most entertaining comediennes working today. Her 30-plus TV appearances include Comedy Central, A&E’s An Evening at the Improv and sketches on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.

Steve Scott, a farm broadcaster for KKOW-AM 860 in Pittsburg, will be master of ceremonies at the luncheon. Former U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins Katzfey will be the featured speaker there. KSA and KSC then will present awards and recognitions, including the Friend of Soy, Meritorious Service Award and 2020 Young Leaders. Next, Meyer will preside over the association’s annual meeting, which will include the approval of policy resolutions and director elections.

Following lunch, KSA will announce the Kansas Soybean Yield and Value Contests winners. The next three presentations will come from K-State Research and Extension. Chris Little, Ph.D., associate professor of plant pathology, will offer “Getting to the Root of the Problem: Managing Sudden Death Syndrome in Kansas.” Sarah Lancaster, Ph.D., weed-science specialist, will lead “Cover Crops for Integrated Weed Management.” Allen Featherstone, Ph.D., head of agricultural economics, will present his “Kansas Farm Finance Update.”

The day’s program will conclude with David Schemm, Sharon Springs, state executive director of the federal Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency. He will provide a special update about its programs related to commodities and disasters, natural-resources conservation, and agricultural credit.

A complete, detailed agenda and the preregistration form are available at https://KansasSoybeans.org/expo on the web or by calling 877-KS-SOYBEAN (877-577-6923). Those who preregister by Dec. 31 will have guaranteed seats at the luncheon and be eligible for the early-bird prize drawing.

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