MT Next Gen. Conference: Jan 29-30, Shelby |

MT Next Gen. Conference: Jan 29-30, Shelby

Kevin Spafford of Legacy by Design, an agribusiness succession planning firm, will be the featured speaker at the 2016 Montana's Next Generation Conference on Jan. 30 in Shelby. Spafford is dedicated to helping farm and ranch families communicate and engage in a succession planning process. Photo courtesy Kevin Spafford

The conference, which will take place Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29-30, in Shelby, will focus on succession planning and general producer education.

The conference begins Friday at 1 p.m. at the Shelby Civic Center. Kevin Spafford of Legacy by Design, an agribusiness succession planning company, will lead participants through an introductory planning session that will include hands-on activities for all generations.

Events Friday evening will include a trade show, a roast beef dinner and a keynote address by Tim Gill, president and CEO of Montana Livestock Ag Credit. Gill will share his experiences of the changes in agriculture financing over the past 35 years and his observations on what have made family operations successful enough to weather economic storms and still be viable in production agriculture.

Saturday’s events at the Shelby High School will feature industry speakers and professionals offering a total of 36 workshops throughout the day. Specific workshops will be geared to beginning or experienced producers, farmers, ranchers and those wanting to learn more about succession.

Crop-related topics will include crop synergy, insurance and production basics, as well as managing for protein, “The 411 on What’s Going on in Your Fields,” micronutrients introduction, crop specific micronutrients, crops marketing tools and United States Department of Agriculture crops programs.

General livestock topics will include cattle production management, livestock marketing, animal health, beef cattle nutrition, genetics and bull selection and USDA livestock programs.

Related forage and grazing topics will include hay field renovation and growing cereal and annual forages, optimizing hay production, grazing management principles and post fire and drought grass management.

Financial and management related topics will include sessions on financial recordkeeping, estate planning specifics, tax management, legal issues of succession planning, dying without a will, lease options, agriculture safety and understanding a tax return and depreciation.

Saturday afternoon will conclude with both a crops and livestock “hot seat” session, where four area producers will give a short talk on a specific innovation they are applying to their operation. To close out the weekend, a beef brisket dinner, live entertainment and no-host social will be available at the Shelby Coyote Club.

Producers who attend the Montana Ag Safety presentations may be eligible to receive up to a 4 percent discount on their worker’s compensation premiums.

The Jan. 29 workshops will fulfill Farm Service Agency’s production and financial management training requirements for producers. Three private or two commercial pesticide applicator points will be available throughout the day.

New this year is a follow-up workshop on Saturday, Feb. 13, for families who have previously attended one of Spafford’s introductory succession planning workshops and would like to move forward in the process. Space will be limited.

Registration forms are available online at Generation_Conference_Registration.pdf, or by calling 406-873-2239. (Registration form may take a moment to load.) Updates will be available via the Facebook page for Montana’s Next Generation Conference.

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this event should contact Lacy Roberts at (406) 873-5618, ext. 2 or Federal Relay Service at 1 (800) 877-8339 by Jan. 25, 2016.

Cost is $20 a day for individuals or $30 a day for couples if registrations are submitted by Jan. 15. Late registrations will be accepted until Jan. 22 at $30 a day for individuals or $40 a day for couples. Daycare will be available for Saturday session at $15 per child, which includes snacks and meals. Discounted motel rates of $75 per night are available at the Best Western Shelby Inn & Suites (406) 424-4560 or the Comfort Inn (406) 434-2212 at $70 per night for a single room or $75 per night for a double room, if booked in advance of the conference.

The conference is hosted by the Glacier and Toole County Farm Service Agency, local MSU Extension, Marias River Livestock Association and the Front Range Counties Farm Bureau. For more information see, or contact Lacy Roberts at 406-873-5618 or Kari Lewis at 406-873-2239.

–MSU News Service