The upcoming All Commodities Conference, which will be held this year in Durham, N.C., started as a small meeting of the North Carolina soybean and corn growers association 23 years ago.

This year it will include soybeans, corn, small grains, and cotton.

Though the individual commodity associations plan the meeting content, date, and location, Bonnie Holloman has been, since its inception, the driving force behind the merger.

“Combining the commodities is a great thing and the individual organizations do a great job of putting together a program that benefits all the commodities,” she says.

Dan Weathington, executive director of the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association says a high percentage of his membership grow several, if not all the commodities included in the annual conference.

The Small Grain Growers Association will be the official host of this year’s conference, which will be held Jan. 12-13 in Durham, N.C. 

“Each association is required by law to meet at least once a year, so we can each have our business meeting during the conference, then come together and participate in the overall program,” Weathington says.

For several years the corn and soybean associations in North Carolina met together, then the grain growers joined, and two years ago the North Carolina Cotton Growers Association joined the conference.

“We’re working with the North Carolina Peanut Growers Association to try and get them to become part of the meeting, because they are in the same situation as all the other commodities in the state,” Weathington says.

“Over the past few years in particular, small farms have been consolidated to become larger, more diversified farming operations, resulting in fewer and fewer farmers. We still have a number of small acreage farmers in our membership, but the emphasis has surely been toward bigger farms and fewer farmers over the past few years,” he adds.

The All Commodities Conference is traditionally held two years in the eastern part of the state and two years in the Raleigh area. Weathington notes that attendance in the conference has grown each of the past few years, regardless of location.

This year’s meeting will feature an impressive array of speakers.

The host commodity typically has a national leader to start off the show and this year is no different. Dana Peterson will start the program with an update on wheat production, legislation and a look forward to marketing opportunities.