Commercial hay growers can discuss the latest in innovative markets, production costs, forage analyses and more at the Midwest Hay Business Conference & Expo. The conference, sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower, will be held March 14-15 at the Ramkota Hotel, Sioux Falls, SD.

“This is one of the few areas of opportunity for hay growers to get a great deal of information from people who are in the business and very knowledgeable about the business,” says Ron Sorensen, conference manager. “At the same time, they have the opportunity to ask questions; it's a great learning environment.”

Participants can hear and talk with an economist, animal scientist and a forage specialist about a variety of topics — or compare notes with innovative hay growers who are opening new markets and expanding sales.

The first day's program will include a panel of growers who have marketed forage products into new venues. Experts will also analyze the costs and pricing to achieve a profitable hay business and offer tips for successful selling to the fast-growing horse market.

University of Wisconsin forage specialist Dan Undersander will examine forage analyses and whether they're accurate and worth the cost on March 15. Creating a successful dairy hay business using artificial drying, opening new markets by changing the package, alfalfas with added value and new anti-terrorism legislation will also be discussed.

Throughout the two days, growers can visit the conference expo and see the latest in technology, seed, chemicals and equipment — “all those things associated with the business,” Sorensen adds.

“There is a cost to attend, but picking up one idea more than pays for that cost many times over,” he adds.

Registration costs $150/person. A second person from the same operation can attend for $125. Registration deadline is Feb. 19. For more information, or to register, call 800-722-5334 and ask for Cindy Kramer. Or visit Early registrants may also want to make hotel reservations at 605-336-0650 and ask for discounted rooms at $69/night.