‘A real eye-opener’

Apr 03, 2023

Farmer-owned agricultural input supplier GreenPoint Ag hosted its second annual Southern Agronomy Summit February 7-9 at the Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama, with more than 450 in attendance.

The event brought together leading experts in the field of agronomy sciences, agricultural technology services, and industry-based market intelligence. Among the attendees were GreenPoint Ag personnel, speakers, and cooperative employees and members from the 10 states covering GreenPoint’s service area.

The organization’s president and CEO, Jeff Blair, says the event served to fulfill GreenPoint’s obligation to its stakeholders to share the latest agriculture intelligence and trends, among other things.

 “We’re honored to help our farmers, growers, and retailers with the support they’ve come to rely on from GreenPoint as they continue to navigate an unprecedented period in agriculture,” Blair says.

The summit featured keynote addresses and breakout sessions covering a variety of topics, including the latest in agricultural intelligence, new product introduction, and evolving trends across major crops like cotton, corn, rice, and soybeans. Attendees learned about adjuvants, range and pasture care, and professional products in field management, as well as precision agriculture technology-based products and services aimed at improving sales, yields, and soil monitoring.

First Farmers Cooperative agronomy sales manager, Ryan Zawacki, says the event provided excellent opportunities for networking and getting up to date on the newest technologies in agronomy.

“It was great to walk in and see so many familiar faces,” says Zawacki. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit with so many vendor reps and learn about the updates in our industry. There was a vast amount of resources and information available from the vendors and representatives in everything from seed and crop protection to soil nutrients.”

Attendee Joe Franks, who recently became general manager of Franklin Farmers Cooperative in Decherd, says the event was a “real eye-opener and first class all the way.”

“I come from mostly a cattle background, so the agronomy side of things is still relatively new to me,” says Franks. “I can sit and talk cattle all day long, but this event provided me with a lot of valuable education and insight related to crops. From a cattle perspective, there was also a great deal of information related to improved pasture management and weed control that I think will be useful right away for our producers here in Franklin County.”

Both Zawacki and Franks singled out the keynote presentation by Gregg Doud — an economist who served as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of United States Trade Representation for the Trump Administration — as a highlight of the event.

“It was great to hear his explanation of the economics of foreign trade with China,” says Franks. “It gives you a bigger picture of what’s going on in the world market and how it affects prices for local farmers.”

Zawacki agrees, pointing out that Doud’s address effectively broke down the process of how global logistics work and clearly explained the price fluctuations of the commodities market. He also noted a session by University of Illinois crop sciences professor, Dr. Fred Below, regarding the “eight wonders of growing 300-bushel corn.”

“I had heard Fred speak on online webinars, but to see him in person breaking down the process of growing high-intensive management corn was really something else,” Zawacki says. “I particularly enjoyed that piece because this is stuff we want to bring to our growers — the process of not only raising corn, but how to take it to the next level. It really makes a big difference to be able to hear this content in person.”

GreenPoint Ag Vice President of Business Innovation, Agronomy, and Ag Technology Amy Winstead says the event was intended to help retailers and growers succeed in an ever-changing world.

“Our team constructed a targeted program designed to prepare our customers and partners for the season ahead and for seasons to come,” Winstead says. “We are already excited about next year’s summit and how we can continue to better serve our ag community.”

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