Feed & Grain LIVE 2020 is scheduled for Feb. 5-7. The affordable early bird rate is $149 until Nov. 29. After this date and on site, the registration rate is $249.
Centrally located near Des Moines, IA, the conference will take place at Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel in the suburb of Altoona. A special room rate of just $119 nightly fits well with travel budgets, so several employees from a company can attend. The hotel offers a free shuttle service for those flying into Des Moines International Airport.
Location, the opportunity to network, and the value of the conference caught the eyes of Gina Holladay, feed safety manager with Kent Nutrition Group, Inc., Muscatine, IA, when she signed up for LIVE 2019.
“I’d never attended, but one of the emails promoting it caught my eye,” she says. “The value really stood out. I was able to attend Dr. Erin Bowers’ presentation on mycotoxins and the hands-on mycotoxin testing workshop. The food served at LIVE was wonderful and the hors d’oeuvres were amazing! The event was well worth the money.”
Attendees aren’t alone in noting the event’s value. Exhibitors do, as well. “Feedback from LIVE 2019 exhibitors has been positive and constructive,” Arlette Sambs, Feed & Grain publisher, says.
Networking opportunities abound
Attendees and exhibitors agree that networking is one of the highlights of LIVE. It’s one benefit that delivers results.
“The biggest thing I was looking for in this event was for more networking opportunities,” Katie Demrow, grain marketing specialist with Landmark Services Cooperative in Cottage Grove, WI, says. “It’s motivating and educational to get out and see what other people in the industry are doing. When LIVE 2019 came up, I saw it as an opportunity to meet people in the grain industry and on the feed side.
“The trade show is arranged well and the schedule allows enough time that you can sit and eat with people and walk through the trade show, see the different exhibitors and actually have time to talk with them. We had real conversations,” she says.
These conversations often turn into true connections. Holladay says that a discussion with of Fumigation Service and Supply representative from Cedar Rapids, IA, turned into a meeting at the Kent plant in Waterloo, IA. That get-together created a working agreement between the two companies.
A similar thing happened with Caleb Leach, area supervisor for Prairie Central Cooperative, Inc., in Sunbury, IL.
“In my current position, I’m working more with contractors and vendors than before,” he says. “So the networking, getting names of potential suppliers and learning more about how things work drew me to LIVE 2019. It’s a positive event. I came home with a notebook full of material, plus I talked with several exhibitors. Kaufman Concrete was one. We have concrete-based bins at some of our locations and they will need repair work one day. I now have another source who says he’ll work with us on repair quotes.”
Sessions, workshops deliver worthwhile information
Taking advantage of educational opportunities ranks as high as networking for most attendees. The soon-to-be-announced session lineup for LIVE 2020 is looking solid.
Holladay says the sessions benefitted her.
“Nick Treblik’s presentation about how Cargill is using its 16-24 program to reduce injury incidences was enlightening. Dr. Erin Bowers’ mycotoxin presentation was really interesting and beneficial. I could have listened to her all day.”
The mycotoxin session helped Demrow, as well.
“Dr. Bowers did a really good job of putting all the scientific terms into lay language and explained how the testing benefits us,” she says. “The cover story panel session was also great. The presenters showcased what other people in the industry were doing, which gave me some ideas and helped me be more aware of what’s going on.”
Leach and panel member Doug Cropp, Landmark Services Cooperative, spent time afterward discussing ideas on how to better manage foreign material issues.
“Prized” receptions, winning location
LIVE 2020 will have two evening receptions where attendees, exhibitors and speakers can mingle. Periodic prizes will be awarded during them as well. For networking, learning and getting reacquainted, LIVE 2020 can’t be beat. Leach says it best.
“I told our general manager that LIVE is a great event and I would expect someone from Prairie Central to attend again next year. I’ve been to several events over the past few years and LIVE was by far the best.” ■