It is our pleasure to welcome everyone to the 4th annual AGMasters Conference! Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this year's program. The conference format will be similar to last year with a single general session followed by 1 ½ days of advanced classes designed to challenge participants with the latest information on specialized and relevant topics. The general session will focus on the significant impacts of the severe drought and the lingering challenges producers face in 2013. During the general session, an assessment of the hot summer and drought will be brought into historical perspective by Jim Angel, State Climatologist for Illinois. Emerson Nafziger will offer his insights on crop selection choices for 2013 and Darrel Good will share his reflections on the market response to the drought. Looking well into the future, 2030 to be precise, will be the focus of Scott Aughenbaugh’s remarks. Scott is with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., and his comments will familiarize the audience with many of the critical global events that are shaping the future of each one of us. The general session will conclude with a panel of University of Illinois Extension specialists. They will offer some remarks about the 2012 growing season and then share some of their specific recommendations for 2013. Following the general session, other speakers will continue to address a variety of topics in smaller classroom style settings, including herbicide carry-over, corn fungicides, corn genetics and hybrid vigor, cover crops, Bt resistance, crop residue management, and separating pesticide myths vs. reality. The AGMasters Conference is unique because participants can tailor-make their program by choosing six advanced sessions from a line-up of twelve specialized classes. Each advanced session is taught with a maximum of 40 students per class. In these settings, instructors have been encouraged to stimulate questions and increase the level of dialogue. Many of the advanced sessions will be taught by out-of-state speakers from other universities including: The Ohio State University, Purdue University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska, Washington State University, and Western Illinois University. The Co-Chairs of this year’s AGMasters Conference are happy you have chosen to invest your time with us. We value your time and welcome any feedback that you might have for us. We wish you a Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous 2013.
Dennis Bowman, Carl Bradley, Mike Gray, Aaron Hager, and Sandy Osterbur