Farm Bureau members will learn how big-picture regulatory, economic and conservation issues may impact their farms during six educational seminars at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) annual meeting Dec. 6-7 in Des Moines.

"These are all issues the planning committee recommended to raise awareness and provide further education to the attendees," said Barb Lykins, IFBF community resources director. "These seminar topics represent trends and management practices that potentially can impact our members and their farm operations."

A trio of educational seminars on Tuesday, Dec. 6 will discuss how to use data to enhance conservation on your farm, weather variability in Iowa and endangered species impacts on agriculture. The 90-minute sessions will begin at 10 a.m., and they will be repeated at 2:30 p.m.

Three more educational seminars will take place on Dec. 7. Topics are telling the story of conservation, IFBF’s international ag study tour and crop and livestock outlooks.

The sessions start 10:15 a.m. immediately following the general session and are repeated at 11:15 a.m.

Tuesday seminars

Digital Data Use and Manage­ment: David Muth of AgSolver, Tim Berkland of Growmark and Ryan Heininger of Pheasants For­­ever will discuss how farmers can utilize data to make their farms more efficient and target conservation practices where they are most effective. The groups are using tools such as advanced data management, environmental modeling and nitrogen tracking to help farmers improve soil health, water quality and wildlife habitats through voluntary programs.

Iowa’s Variable Weather: Chris Anderson of Iowa State University and Jerry Hatfield of the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment will examine how changing weather patterns are impacting farmers and identify investments farmers can make to strengthen the resilience of cropping systems against weather-related production losses.

Butterflies and Bats – En­­dangered Species and Iowa Agriculture: Marty Adkins with the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Iowa State University professor Steve Bradbury and Jenny McIvor of MidAmerican Energy will discuss voluntary efforts farmers can make to enhance habitat for butterflies, bats and other species to prevent them from being listed under the Endangered Species Act.

"In Iowa’s agricultural landscape, much attention is being paid to conservation practices aimed at building soil health and water quality. Those same practices can also benefit at-risk wildlife, but good planning is essential," said Adkins, the NRCS assistant state conservationist for partnerships.

Wednesday seminars

Telling the Story of Con­servation: Farmers Dean Spon­heim of Mitchell County and Doug Adams of Humboldt County will share how they are using traditional and social media outlets to inform farmers and non-farmers about their efforts to improve soil and water quality, including strip-till, no-till, cover crops and nitrogen management.

International Ag Study Tour: IFBF Commodity Services Director David Miller will be joined by Farm Bureau members Joan Maxwell of Scott County and Brian Jones of Adair County to provide a recap of the IFBF ag study tour to South Africa earlier this year, where they learned about international agriculture issues affecting U.S. crop and livestock farmers.

Crop and Livestock Outlook: Market analyst Dale Durchholz of AgriVisor will offer insights into crop and livestock prices along with production and demand outlooks that will influence markets in the upcoming year. Durchholz has 40 years of experience as an analyst in the commodity industry, including the last three decades with AgriVisor.