On Thursday, the 23rd Annual Joint Commodity Conference gets underway at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham. Darren Armstrong, Hyde County grower and president of the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina:
“That’s normally a pretty good turnout, and we’ve rotated it between New Bern and Durham for the last few years and that seems to work out real well, and gives people at each end of the state something close to home. And it’s moved back to Durham this year, so we’re looking for a good crowd.”
The conference is moving this year to Durham after a three year rotation in New Bern. Armstrong says that should bring a few new faces to this year’s event:
“Well it’s easier for the university people to go when it’s in Durham, and so we look for maybe a few more faculty-type people to show up at this one because it is in their backyard. They don’t have to take so much time off. We like to have it there every so often if no other reason just for that. But, you know, there’s a lot of producers in the western part of the state, too, that New Bern is a long way for, so we hope to see some more of those guys. For those of us in the east, we’re used to driving anyway. So, I expect the same ones to show up there, and hopefully more faculty since it’s close to home for those guys.”
Being from the eastern part of the state Armstrong says that having the opportunity to talk to growers from across the state is a big part of the benefit of attending the Joint Commodities Conference:
“They’ve had some record corn yields the last few years, and our corn yields this year have been terrible, so, probably the worst…I know the worst I’ve ever seen for Hyde and Beaufort but a lot of good producers down south. You always want a good cross section across the state of growers, and that’s what makes it really beneficial is the time you get to spend with those guys, and kind of compare notes, and see what they’re doing that works and they can see what we’re doing that works, and to just get everybody together and share ideas, is part of it.
The marketing obviously is a big part of it as well, and to get through some of the seminars and get up to date on what’s going on with the markets, that’s helpful as well. Hopefully, this is a time of year that’s slow at home and if people feel like they can get out and spend a day or two together and take in some of this good information that’s offered.”
Like most events, there are those that are dedicated to attending, and those that are not. Armstrong says that the Conference would be more beneficial for everyone if a larger cross-section of the farming community attended:
“I know there are a lot of farmers that kind of blow it off that don’t see the value in going that I’m kind of surprised every year. I’d like to see some of those go that have not historically gone, because I think they’re really missing out on a lot, I’m just glad for the ones that do, I’m glad to have them and they’re certainly an important part of it, no matter what part of the state they’re in. So, we’d like to be one North Carolina and it takes everybody.”
The 23rd Annual Joint Commodities Conference is free, and gets underway at 8:00 am Thursday at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Conference Center near RTP.
President of the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina Darren Armstrong