Monday, 03 December 2012 06:03

Foraging the Future 7 should bring in hundreds of producers

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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For the past seven years, local producers have had the opportunity to learn more about their industry at the Foraging Into the Future conference in Swift Current. This year’s event goes Dec. 12 -13 at the Sky Centre.

While the conference has an emphasis on forage, which includes pasture and grazing, it features a strong livestock component, as well. Organizer Trevor Lennox, with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, noted their target audience is producers who either raise forage or have livestock.
“Our main focus is southwest Saskatchewan, but we do have people who come in from Regina or Saskatoon, so it makes for a pretty big circle of producers and industry people,” he explained. “This year, we also saw a lot of interest from trade booths and sponsors, which is encouraging to see. It means that there is money in the industry, and they are interested in getting involved and supporting the event.”
He thinks part of the conference’s success has been the quality of the event, and the name it has managed to build over the past seven years. Many producers have been attending the conference regularly.
“I think there is a lot to be said for people getting to know of an event, when they’ve been in other years and it caters to what they are interested in,” said Lennox. “A lot of our patrons are repeat participants, and when they see that we are having another, they are quick to sign up.”
Information will be available on a variety of topics, including maximizing soil and forage health; economics and cost of production; consumer confidence and optimism in agriculture; invasive species; holistic approaches to grazing; herd health and wintering site management.
Lennox explained this year’s event will demonstrate more of an interest in youth in agriculture, as well as helping producers find ways to reduce their costs of production. The conference will also feature a producer panel where speakers will discuss different winter-feeding strategies.
Lennox noted he is hoping for another good turnout for this year’s event, adding he anticipates about 100 participants. Some years bring out more people than others, but since they aim to focus on producers and keep costs low, they usually see a large crowd.
“Our reach has grown, and we do have more people travelling to attend,” he said. “We start our advertising in the spring, and really start with mailouts and stuff in the fall. We’ve got some momentum going, and people expect it and make plans to come out.”
Producer registration for the event is $100, and industry registration is $150. For more information, or to register, contact the Ministry of Agriculture at 306-778-8294.

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