As 2019 nears a close, farmers and ranchers have a lot of questions: What’s the deal with this weather? What do we need to brace for next? What can be done with all that damaged grain? What about disease….white mold? Fusarium? And what about new crop options to help battle low prices…Kernza, Hemp? Can these crops be adapted here? How do we manage them, and what about markets?

These and many other questions will be addressed during the Third Annual MonDak Ag Research Summit to be held Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Richland County Fairgrounds Event Center in Sidney.

The Summit runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is organized by the MonDak area’s three ag research facilities – North Dakota State University’s Williston Research and Extension Center, Montana State University’s Eastern Ag Research Center in Sidney, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Northern Plains Ag Research Lab, also in Sidney. The collaborative program focuses on “ready to use” research findings by the more than 20 scientists employed at the three facilities who have expertise in irrigated and dryland agronomy, plant pathology, soil science, plant and insect ecology, molecular biology, weed and insect biocontrol, and much more.

New irrigation and horticulture programs

This year’s Summit includes a new program structure with concurrent sessions targeting irrigated and dryland research in the morning and a new horticulture session and general ag talks in the afternoon.

The latter will include a presentation on local hemp research and one by representatives of American Harvest, Inc., the new CBD oil plant being developed in Sidney.

Also featured are several guest presentations, beginning with one on current climate trends and influences, and what to expect next spring by Dr. Kevin Hyde of the Montana Climate Office at the University of Montana. Dr. Hyde will also do a lunchtime presentation on measuring and interpreting soil moisture data. He will be followed after lunch by NDSU Livestock Extension Specialist Dr. Jenna Block who will be discussing potential utilization of weather damaged grain for livestock. And, Dr. Tom Scherer, NDSU associate professor and extension engineer, will open the new Irrigation Session with a discussion of proper irrigation scheduling and machine maintenance.

Altogether, 24 different research presentations are planned throughout the day, along with two poster sessions featuring another two dozen ongoing research projects at the three host facilities. The researchers on those projects will be on hand to answer questions regarding their work.

Sponsors for the event include the City of Williston, Sidney Sugars, Inc., Agri Industries, Montana-Dakota Beet Growers Association, American Harvest, Inc, and Cargill in Great Falls.

Free Lunch, door prizes and more

A free lunch from Famous Dave’s in Williston is provided for all participants. Door prizes are also planned. Pesticide and continuing education credits are pending.

Those interested in attending can preregister online at tinyurl.com/2019agsummit or by calling or emailing Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427 or beth.redlin@usda.gov. Note, preregistration is encouraged, but not required.

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