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Educational opportunities abound
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The holiday season is now over and another tradition is starting up for agriculture – education season. There are a variety of opportunities from both public and private sources. On the private front, many businesses involved in agriculture ranging from banks to seed companies and co-ops provide opportunities for the crop and cattle industry. Publicly, some are nearby and all are worthwhile for the target audience, especially for those needing continuing education hours in their area of expertise. What are some of the public opportunities coming up soon?
• Kansas Agricultural Technologies Conference – This event takes place January 23 – 24 in Salina at the Ambassador Hotel and Conference Center on Crawford St. Presentations cover the gamut on topics ranging from drones and precision agriculture to chemical application.  Presenters are from producers, industry and researchers. You can register online at or obtain more information by contacting Lucas Haag at 785-462-6281.  
• Cover Your Acres – This annual conference is held in Oberlin on January 21 - 22 and has grown over the years to 500 attendees from Kansas and surrounding states. While a little far, this is a valuable event with the emphasis on topics driven by producer demand. It features university specialists as well as industry representatives and covers a wide variety of topics for crop producers. This is a unique opportunity to interact in groups and one-on-one with industry and university experts. The cost is $50 for both days and less if only attending one. To register or for more information 785-462-6281. Registration costs increase after January 15.  
• Soil Fertility and Alternative Fertilizers – This event is being held at the Barton County Extension Office in Great Bend on January 15 from 9 am until noon. Dr. Ruiz-Diaz, K-State Fertility Specialist covers the topic of “Macro and Micro nutrients for Optimum Crop Production.” With the cost of inputs, the management of all essential crop nutrients is crucial for optimum crop production and to insure monies aren’t being wasted on nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus by shorting crops on secondary and micronutrients. This is especially of concern for area farmers on coarser (sandy) soils. They need a minimum of 10 registrations by tomorrow, January 13. The number to register is 620-793-1910.
• Finally, tomorrow starts the Spring 2014 semester at Barton Community College. There are a number of agriculture courses starting to increase knowledge in crop and livestock production. It’s not too late to register this first week of classes.