Soybeans and all the products made from them will be center stage in Topeka on Jan. 9 when the annual Kansas Soybean Expo gets under way at the Captial Plaza Hotel's Maner Conference Center at the Kansas Expocentre.
The event, co-sponsored by the Kansas Soybean Commission and the Kansas Soybean Association, is conducted in conjunction with the Topeka Farm Show.
Registration and exhibits open at 8:30 a.m. and the program runs from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., followed by a reception from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The opening session will feature a "Soybean Update" moderated by Gary Kilgore, a Kansas State University professor emeritus of agronomy. The panelists will be Bill Schapaugh, K-State professor of soybean breeding; Chuck Rice, K-State distinguished professor of soil microbiology; and Doug Shoup, K-State southeast area agronomist.
Next, representatives from the American Soybean Association, National Oilseed Processors Association and CommonGround Kansas will provide updates.
Following the morning break, Brent Hajek, an Oklahoma soybean farmer and land-speed-record holder, will present the keynote address.
Hajek lives in a small town of 150 people. He is a farmer, "certified wild man" and race car fanatic. He drives a totally worn-out 15-year-old pickup but spends money on his racing program. His goals are to develop new cars that pay tribute to the original cars in his museum and their drivers and to break their records using today's technology, biodiesel and other biofuels, and soy body panels and paint. Many scoffed at the idea that someone from Ames, Okla., could build record-breaking cars and get the top drivers to pilot them. He quickly proved them wrong.
Hajek also farms soy, wheat and corn in north-central Oklahoma and owns a trucking company. While most farmers harvest their crops with one or two combines over two weeks, he uses eight combines and a fleet of tractor-trailers to harvest his crops in one or two days. It is such a spectacle that Budweiser made a poster of it.
During the luncheon, KSA and KSC will present awards and recognitions, including the DuPont Young Leader, the Kansas Soybean Yield and Quality Contests winners, and meritorious service awards. Sen. Pat Roberts will receive the Friend of Soy award and is the invited luncheon speaker.
KSA President Charles Atkinson, Great Bend, then will preside over the association's annual meeting, which will include the approval of policy resolutions and the board of directors elections.
The afternoon session will focus on planning for the future when Wichita-based meteorologist Mike Smith, senior vice president and chief innovation executive at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, will address the audience.
A complete, detailed program and the registration form will be available on the Web or by calling 877-577-6923 after Nov. 20. The registration fees are $15 for KSA members or $20 for couples and $20 for other guests, with a $5 discount for anyone who registers by Jan. 2, 2013.