Sometimes, even the best-planned, most highly successful events need a little pick-me-up. That’s the thinking behind the Forage Olympics, a new wrinkle for the Feb. 5-6 Mid-America Alfalfa Expo & Conference in Kearney, NE.

“We were looking for something new and different and maybe a little bit fun,” says Barb Kinnan, executive director of the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association, the expo sponsor.

In the olympics, two-person teams will compete in three timed events – strapping a truck using Department of Transportation regulations, rolling a round bale and stacking square bales in a pickup truck.

“These are all things many hay growers are doing all the time,” says Kinnan. “We thought, ‘Why not make a competition out of it?’ It should be pretty entertaining.” Contest winners will receive cash prizes of $25, $50 and $100.

Plenty of educational and informational sessions will also be available at the expo, to be held at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds. Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin Extension forage specialist, will discuss the effects of winter survival and drought stress on alfalfa, the use of trace minerals on the crop and tissue testing. He’ll also give a presentation on insects, diseases and weeds.

Animal utilization of alfalfa will be discussed in another session by Alfredo DiCostanzo, University of Minnesota beef cattle nutritionist. A panel discussion that follows will include producers John Johnson of Johnson Dairy in Eaton, CO, and Drex Gauntt, Pasco, WA, who is also an exporter. A commodity buyer from central Nebraska will be a part of the panel, too. The expo will also sport a large industry trade show and a fundraising auction.

Registration will cost $10 if made by Feb. 1 and $20 at the door. Anyone under age 18 will admitted free. For more information, call 800-743-1649.