From dealing with family members in the day-to-day operations of the family business to making choices about growing genetically-modified crops, “It's a Jungle Out There.” That's the theme for an interactive conference for all agricultural producers to be held Feb. 24-25 in Phoenix.

The Friday session opens with “Top 10 Stupid Things Families Do to Break Up Their Business” by renowned ag speaker Jolene Brown from Iowa. Using real-life experiences, she helps families develop communication and succession strategies to help prevent fighting on the way to the funeral home.

“After I heard Jolene Brown speak in Tucson, I wanted everyone in agriculture to hear her workshop on family business,” said Sheila Van Hofwegen. “She's funny and smart and experienced in helping families protect their way of life and their business.” Sheila is a member of a dairying family and will host a pre-conference dinner Thursday, along with her husband, Paul at the family's Tolleson dairy.

“This is the best workshop I've seen on how to keep the family farm successful and avoid the pitfalls,” added Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers. “I highly recommend this to all the generations involved in a family business.”

Friday sessions will be held at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel, located at 52nd Street and Broadway, southeast of Sky Harbor Airport.

Friday afternoon Western Farm Press editor Harry Cline will moderate a panel discussion on growing genetically modified crops (GMOs) and the movement in California to ban them. The panel will focus on scientific issues, advantages to farmers, developing new varieties and environmental impacts of GMOs.

Arizona ranching, farming, dairy, nursery and other agricultural families are encouraged to attend.

Organized jointly by the Arizona Farm Bureau's Young Farmers & Ranchers, the Young Cooperators of United Dairymen of Arizona and the Alumni of Project CENTRL rural leadership program, the conference is co-sponsored by Farm Credit Services Southwest.

Registration costs are $50 or $75 per couple for the full conference. Any two family members from the same operation may qualify for the “couples” rate.

For more information, call Frances Lechner at UDA, 480-966-7211.