IPSA Holds 30th Annual Conference in Indian Wells, California

Indian Wells, CA (January 11, 2019) – The Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA) celebrated 30 years of independent impact Jan. 8-10 during its 30th Annual Conference held at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa.

According to IPSA CEO Todd Martin, 450 people were registered to attend the meeting, setting the group’s attendance record for a conference held outside the Midwest. For more photos from the conference, follow Seed Today on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Martin says opportunities lie ahead for independent seed companies, despite challenges in the industry.

“Farmers don’t depend on a seed company in the ways they used to,” Martin says. “We have to create value for farmers if we’re going to continue to be successful.”

Keynote speaker Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy, encouraged IPSA members to keep taking action.

“We have to keep moving forward,” Lohrenz said while sharing the story of how she overcame what at times felt like the impossible to achieve her goals.

Martin says consolidation is affecting companies throughout the seed industry along with other pressures such as commodity prices and trade policies.

“Things are going to change,” Martin says. “We’ve got to be able to adapt and look at what’s out there to take a calculated risk in order to make the next leap forward.”

Martin adds companies should be the easy button for farmers, helping them create value and be successful.

A group of farmers discussed how technology is changing their jobs during a first-of-its-kind panel at an IPSA conference. Max Armstrong, Farm Progress Companies director of broadcasting, moderated the discussion with panelists Scott Friestad of Morris, IL; Alan States of Logan, KS; and Neal Wolheter of Northeast Indiana.

“Farming is rapidly changing,” States says. “I’m excited about all the technology. We’re on the edge of some exciting things.”

During the conference, IPSA recognized eight scholarship recipients who attended the event.

The scholarship recipients include:

  • Cheyenne Hale from Kanawha, IA and an Iowa State University Agricultural Business major;
  • Martha Hoffman from Earlville, IL and a Northern Illinois University student;
  • Arielle Hurst, a senior at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) in Tifton, GA with plans to work toward her Masters of Agribusiness at the University of Florida;
  • Kassidy Kimpling from Flanagan, IL and a senior majoring in Agricultural Leadership Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign;
  • Riley Reep from Ropesville, TX and Texas Tech University student majoring in Agriculture Communications;
  • Katelyn Tabit, a sophomore in the Ag Business Program at Illinois College;
  • Mackenzie Trader from Scheller, IL and a Rend Lake College student with plans to transfer to Murray State University to receive a Bachelors in Agronomy;
  • Sierra Williamson, from Sherburn, MN and a junior attending the University of Minnesota pursuing a degree in Agricultural and Food Business Management.

Tabit received the Inaugural Tom Burrus Memorial Scholarship, given in memory of Tom Burrus, a past IPSA president who passed away in October 2017.

Tim Greene, president of Burrus Seeds, Arenzville, IL, presented the scholarship to Tabit on behalf of the company and Burrus family.

“Tom took great pride in being a seedsman,” Greene said. “He was particularly fond of the independent part.”

Musician Keni Thomas, a former staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, closed out the conference by saying, “How many times do we talk ourselves out of greatness? You’re better than you think.”

Plans are underway for IPSA’s 31st Annual Conference to be held Jan. 13-15, 2020 in Kansas City, MO.

Written by Chris Lusvardi, Seed Today editor