Your registration includes hotel for five nights (Friday, July 26 through Tuesday, July 30), all tours, meals and programming including all Ag Media Summit functions as listed below. Pre- and post tours are additional. Please refer to tour descriptions for pricing information.

Printable Schedule - UPDATED!

July 24 - Wednesday

July 25 - Thursday

Young Leaders and Master Class Boot Camp

6:30 pm
IFAJ Executive Committee Dinner

July 26 - Friday

Young Leaders and Master Class Boot Camp

9-12 noon
IFAJ Executive Committee meeting

5 - 10 pm
IFAJ Welcome Party, Padelford Riverboats

July 27 - Saturday

9 - 11:30 am
IFAJ Delegate Meeting

11:45 am - 1 pm
Luncheon with speaker, Daphne Pellegrino, advocacy officer, Reporters Without Borders USA

1:30 - 6 pm
IFAJ AREA TOURS (Read Descriptions on Tour Tab)
  1. Farming on the Edge of the City (Southwest: vegetables & fruits) 
  2. Precision, Row Crops and Mega Farm Store
  3. Brewskis Anyone? (City: breweries)
  4. See the City Sites (City tour of Minneapolis and St. Paul)

6:30 - 9:30 pm
All tours join for dinner at Gale Woods Farm

July 28 - Sunday

8:30 - 10 am
Continental Breakfast

10:15 - 11:30 am
IFAJ Session: GMOs and food security

11:45 am - 1 pm
Luncheon: How President Trump has impacted media in the U.S. and around the world
Speaker: John Rash, The Rash Report

1:15- 5 pm
Arboretum Extravaganza at the University of Minnesota Arboretum

1:30 - 5 pm
Photography Workshop (off-site photo workshop is a separate fee of $125. Open to all IFAJ and AMS attendees.)
Instructors: Leah Nash and Christopher Onstott, Nash+CO Photography

Official start of 2019 Ag Media Summit

6 - 10 pm
Famous Welcome Party (both IFAJ and AMS attendees)

July 29 - Monday

7 - 8:30 am
Continental Breakfast

7:30 am - 5 pm
IFAJ Livestock Tour - Learn About Family Livestock Operations (maximum of 50 people)

8:30 - 9:45 am
Learning Sessions: Block 1
  • Think Outside the Pyramid (writing)
    Speaker: Ann Wylie
  • Portraits (photo)
    Speakers: Leah Nash and Christopher Onstott, Nash+CO Photography
  • Magazine redesign - where to start and how to finish strong (design)
    Speaker: Shauna Hermel, Angus Productions
  • 360 degree videos: coming at it from all angles (video)
    Speaker: Jacob Redway, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association
  • Successful podcasting - whether you're doing it or managing one (corp/PR)
    Speakers: Sara Steever, Paulsen & Kelsey Litchfield
  • Communicating with Impact: boosting personal presence (sales/general)
    Speaker: Gail Calhoun, Calhoun Consulting

9:45 - 10:15 am
Coffee Break

10:15 - 11:30 am
Learning Sessions: Block 2
  • Color Readers Fascinated (writing)
    Speaker: Ann Wylie
  • Bring out the Best of the Beast: Creating Powerfully Authentic Livestock Images (photo)
    Speakers: Shawn Nielsen and Scott Whitman, AgriLife Studios
  • Intro to Infographics (design)
    Speaker: Matt Strelecki, Meredith Agri Media
  • Video Power in Your Pocket (video)
    Speaker: Erica Hanna, Puke Rainbows
  • From B to Z: Talking About My Generation: A discussion about timeless communication and leadership styles (general)
    Speaker: Gail Calhoun, Calhoun Consulting
  • Data Drives Sustainable Solutions (newsmaker)
    Speakers: Dr. Steven Ward, The Climate Corporation, Justin Stock, Stock Farms, and Patrick Christie, Conservis

11:45 - 1 pm
Luncheon featuring student recognition and awards

1:15 - 2:30 pm
Learning Sessions: Block 3
  • Make Magic with Metaphor (writing)
    Speaker: Ann Wylie
  • Design for social (design)
    Speaker: Nicole Lane Erceg, Certified Angus Beef, LLC
  • Ace Aerial Imagery: Pro Tips for Shooting Impactful Aerial Video and Photos (video)
    Speakers: Scott Regan, AgriLife Studios
  • 30 Ideas in 60 Minutes for Sales Success (sales)
    Speakers: Sheri Seger, DTN/Progressive Farmer; Cliff Becker, Farm Journal, Kathy LaScala, American Angus Association; Tyler Smith, Meredith Agri Media
  • Influencers - how to cultivate, manage and work with them (corp/PR)
    Kiersten Schroeder, broadhead + and TBD

2:45 - 4 pm
Learning Sessions: Block 4
  • Master the Art of Storytelling (writing)
    Speaker: Ann Wylie
  • Think Like a Movie-Maker: Cinematographic Techniques for Compelling Visual Stories (photo/video)
    Speakers: Scott Regan, Scott Whitman and Shawn Nielsen, AgriLife Studios
  • Trends in Cover Design (design)
    Speakers: Matt Strelecki, Meredith Agri Media; Amy Gohman, Colle+McVoy
  • Taking social media to the next level; 6 steps to success (corp/PR)
    Speaker: Jeff Hoffelt, Filament
  • In Need of a Lifeline: Today’s Farmer Emotional Health Issues (newsmaker panel)
    Kiersten Schroeder, broadhead + and TBD
  • In Need of a Lifeline: Today’s Farmer Emotional Health Issues (newsmaker panel)
    Panelists: Ted Matthews, Minnesota Rural Mental Health; Dr. Josie Rudolphi, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute’s National Farm Medicine Center; David Anthony Loberg, Nebraska farmer Moderator: Holly Spangler, Farm Progress

4:30 - 7:30 pm
InfoExpo Grand Opening and Reception followed by open evening
InfoExpo is our trade show where exhibitors will have booths with information about their companies, products and other information available.

July 30 - Tuesday

7 am
Box breakfasts available for tours

7:30 am - 5 pm
IFAJ area tours (Read Descriptions on Tour Tab)
  1. Dairy, Dairy and More Dairy (West: dairy)
  2. Family Farms Make Precision Decisions (West: beef and crops)
  3. University Research Pays Off – Group A (north to south)

8:15 - 10:15 am
InfoExpo open

10:30 - 11:45 am
Learning Sessions: Block 5
  • Rock on! (writing)
    Speaker: Steve Werblow, Steve Werblow Communications
  • Get More from Your Next Photo Shoot (photo)
    Speaker: David Lundquist, CHS
  • Video Power in Your Pocket (video) (repeat from Tues.)
    Speaker: Erica Hanna, Puke Rainbows
  • Elevating Excellence In A Cynical World (corp/PR)
    Speaker: TBD
  • Ethics (topic TBD) (general)
    Speaker: TBD

12 noon - 2 pm
Working Lunch in InfoExpo

5:30 - 7 pm
Cocktail reception for everyone

7 - 8:30 pm
IFAJ Closing Dinner and Awards

8:30 - 11:30 pm
Celebration Closing Party

July 31 - Wednesday

Post event tours depart hotel (Read Descriptions on Tour Tab)
  1. California
  2. South Dakota/Minnesota

Local Area Tours Descriptions

Pre & Post Tours

Saturday, 1:30 – 6 pm

1. Farming on the Edge of the City

Hmong-American farmers occupy a unique place in the history of Minnesota’s local foods movement. Since Hmong refugees began resettling from Laos and Thailand to Minnesota in the 1970s as political refugees after the Vietnam War, many families have relied on their ag heritage to make a living growing produce and flowers for local farmers markets. Today, they lead the Twin Cities local food economy, making up more than 50% of all the farmers in metro farmers’ markets, generating more than $250 million in annual sales. We’ll visit their growing operation and see how they do it.

Sever’s Corn Maze provides entertainment for all ages, especially youngsters who know little about agriculture. Run by Sever Peterson and his family, the corn maze, corn pit and a variety of other ag fun events happen every fall during harvest. We’ll see how the family has evolved from their vegetable-growing operation that marketed via roadside stands throughout Minnesota to a family fun entertainment center. Besides still growing corn and soybeans on the edge of the city, Sever will discuss transitioning the farm to the next generation and he might even talk about his Brazil farm.

Dinner at Gale Woods Farm where we’ll join our other IFAJ tours for dinner and fun at a real working farm. Located on picturesque Whaletail Lake in Minnetrista, Gale Woods Farm features a unique educational opportunity where visitors of all ages gain an understanding of agriculture, food production and land stewardship.

2. Precision and Mega Farm Store (South: row crops, precision farming and mega farm store)

Restorative Farming is how David Legvold describes his minimum tillage operation. Conventional and organic don’t have a place on his farm. Instead, he treats land ethically and gently using no-till and strip-till practices. Through these methods, he’s increased soil organic matter from 1.7% up to 5.5%. Increased organic matter and improved field health allow him to rely on nutrient cycling and to use up to 30% less fertilizer. A retired teacher, his farm is a popular stop for field days and we’ll hear about his commitment to conservation practices.

Wagner Farms uses fully integrated data and precision agronomics on 700-acre farm including 50-100 head of cattle. Then we'll go to the popular mega farm store in Lakeville for exploring the thousands of items available. It’s a popular stop for agriculture products and supplies. Mega farm store to see how Fleet Farm has been serving Midwestern families since 1955 with quality products at value prices. Besides farm and ranch products, the chain of farm stores have everything from hunting, harvesting, home clean-up and on and on. Customers have been known to say: "If Fleet Farm doesn't have it, I don't need it."

Dinner at Gale Woods Farm where we’ll join our other IFAJ tours for dinner and fun at a real working farm. Located on picturesque Whaletail Lake in Minnetrista, Gale Woods Farm features a unique educational opportunity where visitors of all ages gain an understanding of agriculture, food production and land stewardship.

3. Brewskis Anyone?

Small breweries and tap rooms are sweeping through cities across the U.S. Craft brewing has almost turned into a cult in the Twin Cities. You’ll visit several of the most successful breweries, large and small, and hear how they got started and even get to do some tasting. But don’t worry, it’s not just a booze cruise. You’ll also visit Rahr Malting elevator, the largest single-site malt production facility in the world. Plus, you’ll hear from a farmer who grows hops to feed the expanding local beer business.

Dinner at Gale Woods Farm where we’ll join our other IFAJ tours for dinner and fun at a real working farm. Located on picturesque Whaletail Lake in Minnetrista, Gale Woods Farm features a unique educational opportunity where visitors of all ages gain an understanding of agriculture, food production and land stewardship.

4. See the City Sites

Minneapolis and St. Paul, situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, are home to a vibrant metro area of nearly 3 million people. You’ll see the milling area, which started the Twin Cities, plus many scenic historic sites. Plan on seeing and hearing about all the ag businesses, sporting arenas and colleges that help make this a desirable area for Fortune 500 companies. When you leave the Congress, you’ll actually know something about the city because you’ve spent time exploring it.

6:30 – 9:30 pm Dinner at Gale Woods Farm where we’ll join our other IFAJ tours for dinner and fun at a real working farm. Located on picturesque Whaletail Lake in Minnetrista, Gale Woods Farm features a unique educational opportunity where visitors of all ages gain an understanding of agriculture, food production and land stewardship.

Sunday 1:15 – 5 pm Arboretum Extravaganza

Our entire IFAJ group will spend the afternoon at the University of Minnesota Arboretum, which features more than 1,215 acres of magnificent gardens, model landscapes, and natural areas – from woodlands and wetlands to prairie. It’s a jewel of the university and a practical, hands-on research area. Expect to see and hear about apple production, especially varieties that were developed here, like Honeycrisp. Plus, experts will show and discuss the grape growing area and how it’s the backbone of the Midwest wine industry. You’ll even see the new bee research unit. To wind up the afternoon? Of course, wine and cheese tasting.

Monday, 7:30 am – 5 pm IFAJ Livestock Tour- Learn About Family Livestock Operations (maximum of 50 people)

Shafer Farms, a seven-generation family farm specializing in beef and pork production, is nestled in the creeks, bluffs and valleys of southeastern Minnesota. The farm, established in 1886, will give you a good view of a large, but still typical, family run operation.

Clear View Dairy is a family dairy that dates back more than 100 years. Today, it maintains a 1,100-cow herd with strong environmental and social goals. Owner Jon Huseth will talk about his operation and the dairy’s involvement in Ag Pathways, which brings Hispanic men and women to the U.S. to work using transnational visas. &

King’s Café at Miesville will host lunch. Yep, it’s one of those small-town burger joints with a big menu that offers over 100 different burgers. We might even catch a little baseball practice from the local Miesville Mudhens.

Fleet Farm stores, originally designed to service rural communities and farmers, have expanded into major cities. We’ll stop at one of their stores so you can see the wide variety of foods, clothing, farm supplies, horse tack, sporting goods and on and on. It’s huge and you could almost get lost in the endless aisles.

Tuesday, 7:30 am – 5 pm IFAJ Area Tours (box breakfasts available at 7 am)

1. Dairy, Dairy and More Dairy

Meadow Star Dairy, only two years old, houses 10,000 cows and has 150 calves born per day. It uses a rotary parlor system from DeLaval where a new cow steps in every 4-5 seconds. As part of Riverview LLC, a diversified agribusiness that started as a family run operation in 1939, its keeps growing. This dairy is one of several owned by the company. It’s uber-progressive and even provides housing for its employees.

Redhead Creamery made its first batch of cheese in 2013 and by the end of 2014 it had built and opened up its own cheese making facility right on the family farm, Jer-Lindy Farms. But the ridiculously good cheese you’ll taste is the culmination of years of study, trips to artisan cheese plants, funding campaigns, testing, waiting, sampling and starting over. Alise Sjostrom runs the operation and we’ll find out how she’s turned it into such a successful business. Plus, it’s our lunch stop.

World’s Largest Ball of Twine. Quick photo op stop because who wouldn’t want their photo taken next to this monster string ball at Darwin, MN.

2. Family Farms Make Precision Decisions

Sullivan Farms epitomizes a large family crop operation ¬– including father and three sons – that’s dedicated to using the latest in precision ag technology. Each son has dedicated duties to keep a division of labor in place. Their bread-and-butter crops are corn and soybeans, but they also grow canning crops such as sweet corn and peas. They’re also committed to saving their soil and practice a wide variety of conservation practices.

Stoney Creek Farms has been recognized in the cattle industry for their environmental stewardship efforts. Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz run 150 Red Angus cows and custom feed 750 head of cattle a year. They practice no-till cropping and use a variety of cover crops, plus they use intensive grazing with their cows. You’ll see what changes they’ve made to improve soil health and water infiltration. Sustainability is their mantra.

3. University Research Pays Off – Group A (north to south)

U of M St. Paul Campus is the first stop where you’ll start with a visit to the Raptor Center, which rehabilitates around 1,000 sick and injured raptors each year. The Raptor Center trains veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world to become future leaders in raptor medicine and conservation. You’ll see eagles and hawks up close and personal. Then it’s off to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab with an inside look at how it can safely handle highly infectious and foreign animal diseases. For those with strong stomachs, watch as students perform a necropsy demonstration conducted in a special teaching lab. Next, updates from crop plot research and the long-standing weather station.

Bell Museum, a new natural history museum that features a digital planetarium, wildlife dioramas and high-tech exhibits. We’ll hear from bee research experts while enjoying lunch overlooking the farm research plots. This is a shiny new public facility for the University system and it gets rave reviews.

Syngenta Seedcare Institute will showcase premier R&D at its seed treatment facility at Stanton, MN. With three locations in North America, it tests active ingredients to ensure they stay on the seed, reducing dust-off and improving plantability. It tests seed treatments in various field planter equipment (including mechanical and pneumatic systems) across all environmental conditions to ensure optimal performance and ease of use.

Pre & Post Tours


Tour Lead: Harlen Persinger

This tour will include Monday night hotel by airport (MSP), two nights in farm family homes (Tues./Wed.), hotel on Thursday night in Congress headquarters, all meals, and transportation. Plan to arrive in Minneapolis no later than Monday July 22.

Cost: SINGLE: $575.00  |  DOUBLE: $430.00

This three-day tour, limited to the first 12-15 foreign journalists who sign up during early registration, begins July 23, leaving early morning from the Congress hotel site. The group will travel to Northeast Iowa, which lies in one of the top three production areas in the world because of deep, fertile soil. For example, the corn suitability ratings measure, 84.7 percent out of a possible 100, highest in the Hawkeye state. This tour, which allows each guest to overnight and enjoy breakfast on a family farm for two evenings, will showcase great diversity—small to large farms, grain and livestock production, grain storage facility, tractor manufacturing, seed production, fish farming and local foods. Plus, you’ll visit Harlen’s farm!

July 23

  • Visit a state-of-the-art 6.5 million bushel capacity grain elevator constructed in 2018 that can receive 55,000 bushels of grain per hour (50 loaded semi-trucks). The site has six, 750,000 bushel bins plus a 565,000 bushel wet holding capacity and three dump pits.
  • Visit a small farm that prides itself in award-winning American Aberdeen Lowline cattle, a breed originally developed in Australia. The family had the 2017 U.S. National Champion, markets 20 head of breeding stock and slaughters 25 animals annually. Processed meat is available in the local grocery store.
  • Visit a large 4,000-acre family farm that grows corn and soybeans and feeds 800 head of Holstein steers plus 2,500 hogs from feeder pigs to slaughter weight annually.
  • Enjoy a traditional evening barbeque prepared by county beef producers, while mingling with area farmers and Loren Kruse, county native and retired editor of Successful Farming magazine.
  • Spend the evening with your host family farm.

July 24

  • Tour the John Deere Tractor Cab Assembly Operations and nearby museum.
  • Visit a family dairy farm that emigrated in 1864 from Germany. Their registered Holstein herd totals 175 cows and 190 heifers. Activities include a ride around the farm, feeding calves, making homemade butter, milking a cow by hand and petting kangaroos and goats.
  • Visit a seed corn production plant and enjoy an evening cookout with a local Pioneer hybrid seed dealer/farmer where each journalist will rejoin their host family before spending a second night with them.

July 25

  • Visit the Fran-Cell and Hickory Curve Farms, owned and operated by Harlen Persinger, an AAEA member for 45 years. Learn all about his top management practices teamed with up-to-date technology that helped him average 250 bushels/acre for corn and 63 bushels/acre on soybeans during 2017-2018. A local co-op representative will fly a drone over both farms to monitor how crops are progressing in late July.
  • Visit a father/son registered Suffolk sheep farm that received recognition in the USSA Hall of Fame in 2013.
  • Visit a fish farming enterprise that produces over 5 million pounds of Tilapia, the largest operation in the U.S.
  • Visit a 60-head registered Angus cattle farm.
  • Visit a 200-sow farrow-to finish pork production facility, run by a family farmer who also serves on the board of the National Corn Growers Association.
  • Bus back to Congress hotel – arriving by 8:00 p.m.


Tour Lead: Steve Werblow

This tour will include a one way flight from MSP to San Francisco, bus transportation throughout the tour, meals and three nights hotel. The tour will end at San Francisco airport approximately 4 pm on Saturday, August 3. You will have enough time to take flights out that evening or we will assist you with hotel suggestions in the area. Note when making your travel arrangements to the U.S. that you will not be in Minneapolis for your departure.

Cost: SINGLE: $980.00  |  DOUBLE: $730.00

Welcome to California! From its sandy beaches to the snowy peaks of the High Sierra mountains, California is a state of remarkable beauty and diversity. The same can be said of its agriculture—graced with great soils, a favorable Mediterrenean climate and an extensive system of canals for irrigation water, California farmers produce more than 200 commercial crops worth over $50 billion in 2017. Our post-Congress tour will take us to beautiful San Francisco, California's financial hub, through the salad bowl of the Salinas Valley, and into the state's magnificent Central Valley, an agricultural powerhouse. We will see crops and livestock, but we'll also talk about the issues behind the farming: capital, labor, water, environmental issues and innovation.

Meals will celebrate the diversity of California's people (and will surely include California's famous wine). We'll pack a lot of touring into four days. Our trip will conclude back at San Francisco International Airport in late afternoon on Saturday, August 3. From there, participants can catch overnight flights home, stay in the Bay Area for a chance to explore San Francisco and the famous wineries of the Napa and Sonoma valleys, or hop a quick flight to Los Angeles for a visit to Hollywood and Disneyland. Here's a sketch of what we'll see:

Wednesday, July 31: Fly from Minneapolis to San Francisco (flight included in tour price). Tour highlights of the beautiful City By The Bay. Discussion with finance experts on investment and innovation in California agriculture. Night in San Jose/Salinas area.

Thursday, August 1: Tour a strawberry farm in the Salinas Valley. Visit an innovation center developed by a leading farmers' association to nurture new technologies in fruit and vegetable production, where we will learn about some of the cutting-edge tools in development. Travel to a key reservoir in the 550-mile (880-km) irrigation supply network that is the lifeblood of Central Valley agriculture for a discussion with irrigation officials of the state's water supply. Night in Merced County.

Friday, August 2: Visit a 6th-generation, 10,000+ acre farm where almonds, tomatoes, cotton and other crops are proving grounds for next-generation agricultural technology. Then we will visit a dairy farm with an innovative manure management system, enjoy lunch at a cheese plant, and travel south to a leading diversified farm that includes beef, vegetables, almonds and agritourism. Night in Coalinga.

Saturday, August 3: More innovation at a local college Farm of the Future, followed by a visit to a large dairy farm and a look at aerated drip irrigation systems. We will then head back over the mountains to San Francisco International Airport for return flights home...or to further California adventures.


Tour Leads: Lora Berg & Karen McMahon

This tour will include three nights hotel (Wed., Thurs., Fri.), bus transportation, meals and end in Minneapolis near the airport. There will be enough time to fly out of MSP on Saturday, August 3 and we will assist you with hotel suggestions in the area if necessary.

Cost: SINGLE: $640.00  |  DOUBLE: $505.00

The post-IFAJ Congress Livestock and Crops Tour will visit the thriving crop and livestock areas of western Minnesota, eastern South Dakota and northwest Iowa. This area is well known for diversified family farms and you will see several of them. You also will experience rural life here in their cafes, shops and homes. This area is several hours away from a large metro area.

The tour starts July 31 at Morris, MN, for a visit to a large cattle operation that partners with a large dairy to market their Angus/Holstein dairy calves. Just an hour west on the South Dakota/Minnesota border, the tour will stop at an organic farm followed by a traditional crop operation for a visit and dinner.

After spending the night in Watertown, SD, the group will visit a local crop farm focusing on conservation efforts. Then the group will stop in Brookings, SD, for a visit to the South Dakota State University's new Cow-Calf Education and Research facilities and the Swine Education and Research center. Next top will be at the hotel in Sioux Falls, SD, where the group will meet with a poor producer who is connected one of the area’s largest hog operations. He will visit with the group and stay for dinner at one of the city’s great steak houses.

The next day, Aug. 2, the tour will drive through the northwest corner of Iowa to check out livestock operations and a firm specializing in advanced reproductive technologies for cattle. The evening will be spent in Sioux Falls.

On our last day, Aug. 3, we will be make a stop at a precision crop and hog farm. The couple have been very involved in commodity organization and are very conservation minded.

Wednesday, July 31 - Morris, MN, to West Browns Valley, SD

  • Visit marketer for Angus/Holstein dairy calves
  • Visit organic crop farmer
  • Dinner at prominent crop farmer farm with neighbors

Overnight – Watertown, SD

Thursday, August 1 - Brookings to Sioux Falls, SD

  • Visit South Dakota State University’s new swine and cow-calf research farms
  • Visit conservation crop farmer
  • Personal visit at hotel with major pork producer
  • Visit Sioux Falls beautiful city falls

Overnight – Sioux Falls, SD

Friday, August 2 - Northwest Iowa to Sioux Falls, SD

  • Visit typical cattle feeding operation
  • Stop at business doing embryo work, cloning and invitro fertilization
  • Visit cow-calf operation

Overnight – Sioux Falls

Saturday, August 3 - Sioux Falls, SD, to Minneapolis

  • Visit precision crop and hog farmer at Mapleton, MN.

Return to Bloomington, MN

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