IFMA17, the 17th International Farm Management Congress, was held July 19th – 24th, 2009 in the host cities of Bloomington and Normal, Illinois.
The hosts of IFMA17 were the members of the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers as well as the entire membership of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
Objectives of IFMA Congresses
The strength of IFMA Congresses has been the integration of a diverse group of international people, companies and organizations around the themes of agricultural production, agricultural policy, agribusiness and economics and their impact on farm management. According to the International Farm Management Association, congress objective are
- To provide a forum for exchanging ideas, experience and knowledge through presentations and demonstration;
- To learn about the agriculture of the organising country, including its structure and marketing;
- To stimulate contacts between farmers, teachers, advisors, researchers, policy-makers and agribusiness at national and international levels.
Agriculture : Food, Fiber and Energy of the Future
The theme for the 17th International Farm Management Congress was “Agriculture : Food, Fiber and Energy of the Future” which gave the 150 delegates from 30 countries in attendance an opportunity to see the tremendous geographic diversity of Illinois and witness first-hand the diversity of agriculture in the “Land of Lincoln” through a variety of Congress tours and programs.
The activities of the Congress offered a breadth of speaker presentations that were unmatched by any previous gatherings of this type. Leaders of the industry came together at the state-of-the-art facilities at the Bone Student Center of Illinois State University campus to share the latest in technology, policy, and world activities focused on the three elements of the theme – Food, Fiber and Energy. Practicing farm managers from both the United States and Canada as well as around the world.
On top of all this, the organizers of the Congress assembled a group of Day Tours with activities involving research, new technologies, agricultural infrastructures, manufacturing, and, of course, dusty-boots tours of actual working farms across Central Illinois hosted by the owners and operators themselves.
Come Early and Stay Later
2009 marked the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. As such, there were many great activities going on around the state and region in celebration of his life and legacy. Delegates on the Pre-Congress tour were able to tour the President Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library in nearby Springfield. A visit to this remarkable facility was also included as part of one of the Day Tours.
IFMA17 partnered with RightRisk to offer a pre-Congress conference, “Tools for Risk Management Educators” as part of the Congress. This pre-Congress program not only provided participants an overview of three, innovative RightRisk educational products, but also provided the tools necessary to allow participants to make similar presentations to clients back home. Products selected for presentation had been used extensively with audiences across the United States. The approach used was hands-on and interactive in nature.
Tools for Risk Management Educators” presented Risk Navigator-SRM – a 10-step strategic risk management process; Ag Survivor – a farm risk simulation that helped participants explore risk management options for typical western U.S. farms/ranches; and Feasibility of Alternative Rural Enterprises – a course that helped operators explore new enterprises and business opportunities.
Keynote Congress Speakers
Dr. Rob Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Monsanto. Dr. Fraley is recognized as the inventor and discoverer of the herbicide marketed as RoundUp. We have asked him to focus his presentation on the need for and acceptance of genetically modified organisms…or GMOs…in feeding a hungry world.
Dr. David Pimentel, who is a professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY. Dr. Pimentel is most noted and quoted for his study that finds that producing ethanol and biodiesel from corn and other crops is not worth the energy.
Dr. Robert Thompson, Gardner Chair in Agricultural Policy at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
William Niebur, Ph.D., Vice President of DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development with Pioneer Hi-Bred. Dr. Neibur has responsibility for driving worldwide crop genetics research strategies to create
new value for seed and agricultural value chain customers through advanced plant genetics. Dr. Niebur has been invited but has not as yet confirmed his attendance.
Gabriel Alonso, chief development officer with Horizon Wind Energy. Horizon’s parent company, which is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, is the third largest integrated Iberian electric utility and one of the leading generators of electricity from renewable sources globally. Horizon Wind as the developers of the Twin Groves Wind Farm located just a few miles east of Bloomington/Normal.
Welcome to Bloomington/Normal
Theme, Logo for 2009 International Farm Management Congress
“Agriculture: Food, Fiber and Energy for the Future” was selected as the theme for the International Farm Management Congress.
“This is extremely topical and versatile as a theme,” says Chapter President Andy Brorsen, ARA, of Brorsen Appraisals in Kankakee. “Agriculture in the United States, and for sure in other regions of the world, has always had a focus on food and fiber. Now, as corn and other biomass crops are being used for the production of ethanol, and soy oil is becoming a greater factor in the production of diesel fuel, we can certainly add energy to the list, particularly energy for the future.”
Brorsen explained that a good deal of the program during the 2009 Congress addressed the elements of the theme. “There were a great many academic papers presented and the subjects of those presentations sprungboard off the theme that was selected.”
An International Logo
The logo has a true international flavor to it as it was designed by a young fine artist in Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria. “Dido Kaludov is the brother of one of our daughters-in-law,” explains Carroll Merry, executive director of the Illinois Society. “We met Dido when our son and his wife were married in Bulgaria three years ago. We knew he had a particular talent for design concepts, so when it came time to develop a logo we asked him to submit some ideas. The final piece is actually a composite of two renditions he submitted.
“He has finished his formal education and is currently working for a company that produces music. He does a great deal of the art on the cd jackets,” Merry notes. “We did not want a corn and soybeans theme in the graphics. It had to be something that could be considered much more universal in approach.”