Production Blog

Farmers Flock to Florida for Commodity Classic This Week

Jason Jenkins
By  Jason Jenkins , DTN Crops Editor
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Commodity Classic offers farmers a chance to check out the latest in machinery, technology, seed genetics and crop protection firsthand. (DTN file photo)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (DTN) -- Move over, Mickey Mouse. Your town may be built on entertainment, but this week, it's all about agriculture.

Thousands of farmers from across the country will descend on Orlando, Florida, for the 2023 Commodity Classic, March 9-11. Billed as "America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience," the event began in 1996 and has become a can't-miss occasion for many.

Though attendees certainly can get lost for days amongst the hundreds of exhibitors on the trade show floor, Commodity Classic is about more than seeing the latest in machinery, technology, seed genetics and crop protection firsthand. Each day there's an entire lineup of presentations with experts discussing all aspects of agriculture -- agronomy, marketing, policy, sustainability and more.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the opportunity that Commodity Classic affords farmers to connect with other farmers and share their personal experiences and know-how.

With so much going on in just a few days, it's impossible to see and do everything at Commodity Classic. After scanning through the program, here are a few things this DTN crops editor has his eye on for the week:

-- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is slated to give a keynote address Friday morning. According to event organizers, Vilsack will highlight USDA's efforts to create more, new and better markets; increase competition, lower costs and add value; and create new revenue streams for producers and their communities. While that sounds a bit nebulous, it's probably a safe bet that it means the secretary will talk about the 2023 farm bill, trade with partners such as Mexico and China, and efforts to improve sustainability, including USDA's Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program.

-- Weed control in corn is certain to be a topic of conversation in the hallways this year. No fewer than three companies -- Bayer, Syngenta and Valent -- are touting new herbicides, some with multiple modes of action, to growers looking for longer residual control of weeds, especially waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. We'll dig through the field trial data and let you know what we learn.

-- On Friday, an expert panel will discuss what the Endangered Species Act (ESA) means for farming and how growers can make sure pesticide measures minimize the impact on production while protecting the environment. Included on the panel will be Jake Li, EPA deputy assistant administrator for pesticide programs, who has spoken openly about EPA's failures to meet its obligations under ESA. This has led to lawsuit after lawsuit against the agency and threatened grower access to pesticides. We'll be there as farmers join this conversation. You can read more about the EPA's efforts here:….

-- La Nina conditions during the past two growing seasons have led to weather challenges and drought for much of the country, particularly west of the Mississippi River. On Saturday morning, DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick will give a presentation on weather patterns for the 2023 growing season and what challenges may be ahead now that La Nina is headed out the door.

Event organizers anticipate a big crowd for Commodity Classic this year. At the end of January, registrations were up 28% as compared to the 2022 event held in New Orleans. If you happen to be part of what could be a record crowd, be sure to visit DTN at Booth 1323.

Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. To learn more, visit

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Jason Jenkins