Ag commodity producers tell their story

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Agricultural commodity producers will gather for this year’s Illinois Commodity Conference (ICC) – “Telling Your Story” – on Tuesday, November 23 at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington. The one-day conference begins at 7:30 a.m. and concludes by 3:30 p.m.

Sponsored by six Illinois commodity groups – the Illinois Beef Association (IBA), Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA), Illinois Milk Producers Association (IMPA), Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) and Illinois Wheat Association (IWA) – the conference was developed to promote leadership and cooperation among these commodity groups, as well as enhance market opportunities and educate producers.

A Gathering of Farmer Leaders from Across the State

“The Illinois Commodity Conference gives producers from across the state the chance to learn from industry experts and address the topics that are most relevant to members of the different commodity groups,” Ron Moore, a soybean farmer from Roseville and ISA board chairman, said. “This year’s message focuses on the importance of being the authors, illustrators, editors and publishers of our own stories, rather than allowing others to present an image or story of their own creation.” Moore also mentioned that the conference offers the opportunity to meet with members of different commodity groups in one location.

ICGA President Tim Lenz commented on the motivation behind this year’s theme. “Being involved in the Corn Farmers Coalition and the research going on among the Illinois commodity groups, Illinois Corn is learning how important consumer perceptions of farmers are and what exactly we can do to help move those perceptions in a positive direction. I’m excited to hear the experts speak because I know the agricultural leaders who are there will learn more about how they can get involved to help change consumer perceptions.  Actually, I hope the farmer leaders will walk away understanding how integral they are in changing consumer perceptions.”  

Opportunities to Learn from Experts, Discuss Current Issues

Brent Scholl, a pork producer from Polo and current IPPA president, added, “The Illinois Commodity Conference always features top-notch speakers and brings together leaders in agriculture. It’s a great opportunity to network with other farmers who discuss current issues facing Illinois agriculture and look for ways to continue working together to address them.”

IMPA President Doug Scheider agreed. “Our dairy farmers look forward to this conference every year. It’s a prime opportunity for us to get together with other farmers in a relaxed, informal setting. We always take away some great information from this valuable conference."

Scheduled Presentations

This year’s event features three keynote speakers: Michele Payn Knoper, a speaker and trainer with Cause Matters Corp., will address the topic of social media and the many ways producers can enter into conversations with non-farm audiences; David Martosko, research director at Center for Consumer Freedom, will share news about the Humane Society of the United States and how he’s motivating others to take a stand via his blog and Facebook page, HumaneWatch; and Jim Wiesemeyer, agriculture policy and trade expert with Informa Economics, will offer insights regarding the current political climate and suggest ways in which producers can cause change.

Registration Information

The registration fee, which includes lunch, is $65 before November 8 and $90 after that date. For information on registration, please contact (309) 557-3703 or download a brochure at http://www.ilsoy.org.