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American Forage and Grassland Council Conference offers many opportunities

Lynn Olsen Published on 30 June 2011
Hay demo

The 2011 American Forage and Grassland Council Conference was held June 12-15 in French Lick, Indiana, at the beautiful and historic French Lick Springs Hotel.

With the Indiana Forage Council as the local affiliate council host, attendees were given a wealth of learning opportunities and entertainment.

Monday morning had two separate tracks to choose from – a training session about facilitating a forage study group (watch for more about this in an upcoming issue of Progressive Forage Grower) and a symposium about pasture management (Click here to read a great summary of those sessions by Jesse Bussard, a graduate student at the University of Kentucky).

Monday afternoon brought poster sessions discussing current forage research and additional breakout tracks with presentations about forage utilization, outreach and producer, and energy crops and research.

After a break and a chance to visit with exhibitors, the National Forage Bowl competition was held. The University of Kentucky team came up winners, with teams from Purdue, Berea College and Penn State following closely behind.

A reception/mixer closed out the evening of a full day's activities.


Tuesday morning had additional poster sessions and breakout tracks covering everything from forage research and utilization to harvest and production.

The annual Forage Spokesperson Competition was held, with Weldon Hawkins from the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council coming out as the winner.

Second place went to Evert Veldhurizen from the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Third and fourth place winners were Perry Clutts from the Ohio Forage Council and Andrew Brown from the Indiana Forage Council, respectively. Audio/video recaps of these presentations will be available shortly on the AFGC website.

After lunch, busses left for the hay, beef and sheep/goat tours to the surrounding region.

See a video from the equipment demonstrations held on the hay tour.

Indiana Night, held at the Southern Indiana Purdue Ag Center (SIPAC) wrapped up the day, with a delicious barbecue dinner and entertainment by a local folk music group, Swallow Tail.

Wednesday morning began with the Emerging Scientist Competition, featuring graduate students reporting on the research projects. First place went to Samantha Shoaf from Purdue University and her project titled "Sorghum, maize or soybean for ethanol feedstock, silage or grain production."

Second place was Tanna Dennis, also from Purdue University, with her research about "Effects of co-grazing dairy heifers and goats on forage intake, botanical composition and dry matter yield of mixed species pastures."

Third place, discussing "Climate change effects on forage quality of Kentucky hay fields" went to Allison Cooke from Transylvania University.

The Awards Luncheon was held mid-day with the following presentations being given:

  • Distinguished Grasslander Award - Richard G Hungerford, Jr
  • Merit Award - Mark L Kennedy
  • Merit Award - Joseph L Moyer
  • Merit Award - Yoana C Newman
  • Merit Award - Howard Straub
  • Merit Award - Gary Wilson
  • Presidential Citation - Jerry Nelson
  • Medallion Award - Dave Forgey
  • Allen Award of Illumination - David Zartman

Awards were also given for the annual photo contest and national hay show. Click here for a related story about Jamey Styles, winner for his Bermuda hay contest entry.

The afternoon was a symposium sponsored by Dow AGroSciences titled "Every Day Grazed is Money Saved" and discussed all aspects of forage and pasture management. Watch for additional coverage from this session in upcoming issues of Progressive Forage Grower, as well.

Thursday was an optional Cool Season Workshop. A rigorous day of advanced-level learning about the physiology and behavior of cool season grasses, the information was invaluable to those directly involved in the forage industry.

Click below to see a slideshow of photos from the 2011 meeting.

The 2012 AFGC Annual Conference will be held January 9-11 at the Crowne Plaza in Louisville, Kentucky, with a summer tour being hosted later in the year. Watch for details at   FG