North Carolina’s agriculture community will meet in Durham on Jan. 17-18 for the annual All Commodities Conference, featuring the latest information on cotton, corn, small grain and soybean production in the state.

This year’s conference will be hosted by the North Carolina Soybean Growers Association. Charles Hall, executive director of the association says planners have tweaked the meeting a bit this year to make it easier for growers to see all the professional presentations.

Keynote speaker for the conference will be Dennis Gartman, editor of the Gartman Letter, a Suffolk, Va.-based publication that features in-depth information on grain buying and selling.

“With all the uncertainty over pricing for grain crops and cotton this year, we felt like Gartman’s comments would be timely and, hopefully, helpful to growers who are having a tough time figuring out what to plant next year,” Hall says.

The keynote address will be followed by another timely presentation by University of Nebraska Economist Ron Hanson. A highly regarded expert on farm estate planning, Hanson’s topic is, “Keeping your farm in the family for the next generation.”

A part of the tweaking of the conference scheduling that Hall mentions involves splitting up the traditional corn, cotton, soybean, small grain research and Extension updates presented each year by specialists in each crop at North Carolina State University.

Jim Dunphy, long-time soybean specialist at North Carolina State will provide his insights on last year’s crop and provide research updates on his work, designed to help soybean growers reach optimum production.

With prices expected to remain high, soybeans, especially planted in a double-crop situation with wheat, will likely be a top choice for North Carolina growers next spring and summer.

Ron Heiniger, corn specialist and weather guru at North Carolina State, will give growers an update on high yield tests and other research findings. Corn, like soybeans, is expected to be a popular crop of choice for North Carolina growers.

For those who missed Hanson’s first presentation, he will provide an encore, but slightly different presentation aptly entitled, “What if the “what if” actually happens in our family.”

Hot topics

One of the hot topics for growers at the annual January meeting is wheat production. This year North Carolina wheat growers are expected to plant a record crop — possibly close to a million acres.

Randy Weisz, North Carolina State small grain specialist, is the pied piper for many of the state’s grain growers, and his update on winter and spring care of wheat will likely be among the highlights of the conference.

Cotton will follow suit with one of the best known Extension specialists in the country, Alan York.

Now officially retired as the Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Weed Science, York hasn’t slowed down much and continues to conduct some of the most innovative research in the country on weed management systems, primarily for cotton.

An annual highlight of the conference is presentation of grower awards.

State award winners and area winners will be recognized by the various grower associations that participate in the conference.

For many growers this will be their first opportunity to meet new North Carolina State Dean of Agriculture, Richard Linton, who will help present the awards.

Historically, the All Commodities Conference attracts a high percentage of growers and a growing number of agriculture industry exhibitors, who participate in the Exhibit Hall component of the convention.

During the day and a half conference, growers will have ample opportunities to visit vendors and to view a number of poster exhibits, featuring research findings from North Carolina State University researchers.

The morning program on the second day of the conference will begin with an early riser session with the presidents of each grower association represented. These include: Jimmy Thomas, soybean growers; Burt Eure, grains growers; Donny Lassiter, cotton growers; and Jay Sullivan, corn growers.

In 2012, North Carolina saw a dramatic increase in grain sorghum acreage and a continued increase in oil crops, grown for Technology Crops International.

David Hull, a grain buyer with Murphy-Brown grain buyers, headquartered in Warsaw, N.C., will talk about his company’s renewed efforts to boost production of sorghum and other grains to be used for livestock feed.

Jeff Riddle, with Technology Crops International will discuss new opportunities for farmers to grow winter and summer oil crops for his company.

rroberson@farmpress.com