When I was in high school my buddies and I would bomb around Brookings, SD, in my old Chevy and squawk because gas — at about 30¢/gal. — was killing us. Even then we thought the oil companies were gouging us.

We'd try to convince our parents that it would pay for us to go to the big city of Sioux Falls, 52 miles away, just to fill up on cheaper gas. Sioux Falls always seemed to have gas wars, and prices sometimes dipped below 20 cents/gal.

As teens, of course, we had ulterior motives of wanting to see the bright lights of the big city.

The point is, gas and energy prices always seem too high and complaining seems to simply be a habit.

As farmers you know better than anyone what the cost of fuel does to your bottom line — especially the past couple of years.

Our magazine hopes to help you on that front by sponsoring the Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo in Sioux Falls, SD, on Jan. 30-31, 2007, at the Ramkota Hotel. This year's theme is “Eye On Energy: How energy prices affect conservation tillage.”

Keynoting the conference will be Moe Russell, who is this magazine's risk management columnist. He'll kick off the 1½ day event with “Go Green, Get Green, Stay Green.”

Russell says, “I believe the next 15 years in production agriculture will be much like the period between 1965 and 1982. They were good years. Incomes were up, costs were up, leverage was up and volatility was up.

“It also marked the beginning of the real push toward better conservation practices. With pressure to grow more corn and soybeans in the years ahead, energy will become more of an issue, too,” he says.

The conference will also feature farmer panels and four tracks devoted to energy and conservation:

  • Track I: Tillage 101. Changing from conventional to conservation tillage. You'll learn about fertilizer trends, new equipment and ways to work with landlords.

  • Track II: Keep corn on corn profitable. Farmers will tell why they've gone to corn on corn and experts will evaluate the advantages and disadvantages.

  • Track III: Manage your energy costs. Specialists will discuss how homegrown energy — such as ethanol — changes production practices.

  • Track IV: Match new technology to tillage. Guidance systems, variable rate and seed technology all play a role in cutting energy costs. Farmers and experts will explore those changes.

For details and to register, visit www.tillageconference.com or call 800-722-5334, ext. 14698. As a side benefit, you'll even get to see the bright lights of the big city of Sioux Falls.

Happy Holiday!
Greg Lamp EDITOR
glamp@csdigest.com