Monsanto exec to address ND agriculture groups

BISMARCK – A leading spokesperson for agribusiness company Monsanto will be a featured speaker at the annual meeting of North Dakota commodity councils and agriculture associations, Monday, Dec. 10, at the Kelly Inn, 1800 N. 12th St., in Bismarck.

Janice Person, public affairs director for Monsanto, will join North Dakota farmer and blogger Val Wagner, Monango, in an afternoon panel discussion of digital strategy in issues management.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, who is hosting the meeting, will welcome the group with opening remarks at 9:30 a.m. He will be followed by Carl Dahlen, North Dakota State University beef specialist, who will discuss the results of the recent survey of North Dakota beef producers.

Representatives of each of the state's 13 commodity councils will give brief presentations outlining their new or high priority issues for 2013. They will also address what they see as priorities in the coming year for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA).

Following lunch, Dane Braun, NDDA policy analyst, will describe the agricultural issues before the upcoming session of the State Legislature. A panel made up of NDDA and North Dakota Trade Office staff and food exporters will discuss the state's overseas trade prospects.

Katie Pinke, NDDA's director of marketing and information, will offer a presentation on advocacy for agriculture before the meeting closes with an open forum and question-and-answer session.

The morning meeting of the commodity councils is mandated by state law. Goehring said the success of the first commodity council meeting in 2009 led him to invite other agricultural groups, ranging from the large general organizations, such as the Farm Bureau and Farmers Union, to smaller, specialized groups.

“These groups share similar concerns, interests and goals, and they often represent the same producers,” he said. “It is an opportunity for them to discuss these concerns and to develop joint responses to the issues facing agriculture today.”

The commodity councils authorized by the Legislature to receive check-off dollars from producers include the North Dakota Barley Council, the North Dakota Beef Commission, the North Dakota Beekeepers Association, the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, the North Dakota Dairy Promotion Commission, the North Dakota Dry Bean Council, the North Dakota Dry Pea and Lentil Council, the North Dakota Oilseed Council, the North Dakota Pork Council, the North Dakota Potato Council, the North Dakota Soybean Council, the North Dakota Turkey Federation and the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

The meetings are open to the public.