'Building for the Future' theme of this year's FIIC

By Ali Seys

Next week’s Farm Income and Innovation Conference (FIIC) will provide farmers the latest information on market outlooks, land values and leases, health insurance options and new innovations -- all helping famers “build for the future.”

But there’s another important issue facing the agriculture industry today – misinformation.

Keynote speaker Alison Van Eeneenamm, the extension specialist in animal biotechnology and genomics at the University of California at Davis, said misinformation can threaten the ability to adopt new ideas in agriculture.

When dealing with people who disagree or who are sharing misinformation, Van Eenennamm encouraged people to try and understand where they are coming from and find shared values rather than “throw information at people.”

“Often, we assume malicious intent,” Van Eenennamm told the RFD Network. “Sometimes sharing a story with someone can kind of get over that hurdle of mistrust and then you can actually have a conversation. Narrative storytelling and discussing what you do on your farm and why that’s important … it’s trying to have a two-way conversation rather than a one-way information dump that is usually more constructive.”

Van Eenennamm will be one of three keynote speakers at FIIC, which be held July 30-31 in Normal. Attendees will have two opportunities to hear Van Eenennamm speak -- Tuesday evening’s leadership reception and Wednesday’s opening session.

Wednesday’s midday and wrap-up sessions will also feature keynote addresses from Veronica Nigh, trade economist at American Farm Bureau Federation, who will provide an export outlook; and Jolene Brown, a professional speaker, author and farmer who will discuss farm succession.

FIIC also will include breakout sessions on a variety of topics including management challenges, grain market outlooks, health insurance options and new technology.

For more information on FIIC or to register, visit www.ilfb.org/FIIC.