Roots to Riches 1MADISONVILLE, Ky. (2/12/18) — Several hundred from the farming community gathered at Ballard Convention Center for the Roots to Riches Agripreneurial Conference.

Vendors with agriculture information including representatives from the USDA were available Friday as well as extension agents from around the region and University of Kentucky experts in the field.

Raising livestock and crops is more hi-tech than ever before. Some of the sessions included drone usage and electronic logging device training to manage crops. A Kentucky State Police trooper also spoke about highway safety and moving farm equipment.

Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corp. President Ray Hagerman believes the conference, which was initiated last year, provides helpful information for the agriculture community.

“Agriculture employs about 15 percent of the working population around Hopkins County in one way or another,” he said, adding more than 100 people signed up for Dicamba (herbicide application) training, which requires certification this year.

Hopkins County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Curtis Dame, who also serves as the Farm Bureau Federation President, said the Dicamba certification class serves local producers so they do not have to travel out of town for the training.

The local Farm Bureau Federation serves as a voice for farmers in times of need. They are focusing on issues of broadband capability and water quality.

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“There’s a lot of acreage represented here today,” Dame said. “That’s why extension agents are here. We try to offer events like this to give an opportunity for farmers to meet people one-on-one that they would not see on a normal basis,” adding it’s a good time of year to host the event.

Farmers will begin planting soybeans in the middle of May, he said. The Dicamba chemicals require restricted application due to wind and vaporization. Dame pointed out that farmers are more resourceful and leave land in better shape before they began farming it. Chemical usage is also safer than previous years.

“We get the benefit of no till,” Dame said, which preserves soil. “Farmers are constantly adapting, and that’s why we have these classes.”

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