COLBY — Producers, consultants, and experts will gather for the 15th annual Cover Your Acres Winter Conference on Jan. 16-17, at the Gateway Civic Center in Oberlin, Kansas.

The conference is a joint venture between K-State Research and Extension, and the Northwest Kansas Crop Residue Alliance.

“Economics is big on everyone's mind right now,” said Lucas Haag, an agronomist with K-State Research and Extension’s Northwest Area Office in Colby. “So we have Mark Wood, the lead economist with Northwest Kansas Farm Management Association, presenting an analysis of members’ data and trying to look at what is driving profitability in our operations here in northwest Kansas and what potential pitfalls producers should be aware of.”

The most unique thing on this year’s schedule, said Haag, is a presentation on how farm businesses can survive and thrive in these tough times by Charlie Griffin, a research assistant professor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University.

“For a business to succeed we need good people skills, too, so we've got Charlie Griffin coming out to talk about building and maintaining good dynamic business relationships and getting everyone who is involved in the business pulling together in the same direction towards a common goal of success.

A key part of this is relationships, whether we’re talking about relationships between family members that are in a business together, employer-employee relationships, or relationships with your vendors, those are all important, especially when financial times are a little tougher,” Haag said.

Other topics include smart spending of fertilizer dollars, managing with moisture probes, soil health and profitability in dryland cropping, and the latest update in weed management strategies, among others.

The same programs will be offered both days of the conference; participants attending both days will find it easier to catch most, or all of the programs. The program offers a total of 10 continuing education unit credits for certified crop advisors and 1 CEU for commercial applicators.

Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m., with educational sessions ending at 5 p.m. followed by a “bull session” on Tuesday evening, where attendees can visit with industry and university specialists while enjoying heavy hors d’oeurves.

Early registration is due by Jan. 10. The fee is $40 for either day or $60 for both days. After Jan. 11, the cost is $60 per day. The conference fee includes lunch and educational materials.

The full conference schedule and online registration are available at Registration can also be mailed with a check payable to KSU, to the Northwest Research-Extension Center, ATTN: Cover Your Acres, P.O. Box 786, Colby, KS 67701. For questions, call 785-462-6281.

Major sponsors of the conference include Capstan Ag, DuPont Pioneer, Horton Seed Services, Hoxie Implement Co., Lang Diesel Inc., Monsanto, National Sunflower Association, PacLeader Technology, Plains Equipment Group, and SureFire Ag.