The American Forage and Grassland Council will hold its 2003 annual conference April 26-29 at the Lafayette Hilton in Lafayette, La.

A highlight for farmers and ranchers will be "producer day" on April 28, according to Ed Twidwell, an LSU AgCenter agronomist who planned the program.

Producer day will include sessions on pasture management and forage marketing as well as a clover symposium, Twidwell said, adding that all topics on the day's agenda will be geared for practical application.

The following day, April 29, will be "scientific day," with sessions devoted to research papers and posters dealing with forage production.

Twidwell said producer day will include the forage spokesperson contest, which features producers representing American Forage and Grassland Council affiliate councils. The audience votes for the best forage spokesperson, and contestants earn cash prizes sponsored by ABI Alfalfa.

Scientific day includes presentations by participants in the emerging scientist competition — a competitive program among young scientists selected and invited by an committee of the American council. Each participant will receive a cash award in recognition of being selected.

On the preceding weekend, people arriving for the conference also will be able to attend the Festival International de Louisiane on April 26.

A tour of South Louisiana agriculture — including rice, crawfish, alligator and beef farms — or a tour of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Cade Farm, which features demonstrations of water quality, management-intensive grazing and no-till establishment of ryegrass, will be offered on April 27.

Both tours will wind up at the LSU AgCenter's Iberia Research Station, which is home to research in sugarcane, beef cattle and forage, including bermudagrass sprigging.

The American Forage and Grassland Council is made up of affiliated councils in the United States and Canada with a total individual membership of about 4,000. Its primary objective is to promote the profitable production and sustainable use of quality forage and grasslands.

Conference participants can register for one day or for the entire conference. The one-day registration is $30, and the full conference registration fee is $90. Some functions and meals require additional payments. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Lafayette Hilton.

Complete information is available on the Internet at www.afgc.org.

e-mail: Ed Twidwell