Ag, business seminars lead up to After Birth Ball

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RBC I Country music, a brisket and pork loin dinner, and a social hour will wrap up a full day of free educational agricultural and business workshops offered to area residents and visitors gathering in Meeker for the 2013 After Birth Ball.
A full day of agricultural and business workshops will be offered on Saturday, starting with registration at 7:30 a.m. The workshops, dubbed the 2013 Ag and Business Summit, will be held at the Main Street Building, 455 Main St. The workshops will run from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.
The After Birth Ball fun begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Freeman E. Fairfield Center, 200 Main St., with a social hour and auction preview, followed at 6:30 by dinner and 9 p.m. by the free-to-all After Birth Ball.
The ball will feature the music of Coy Keithley and the band Straight Shot. Members of the band live within the Grand Valley and specialize in country music.
The event is hosted by the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Shell Oil, Williams Energy, Enterprise Products, WPXEnergy and Encana Natural Gas.
There will be a live auction, a silent auction and a Future Farmers of America (FFA) hired hand auction, with the proceeds going to support the Meeker FFA Chapter and agricultural education.
The dinner will feature beef brisket and pork loin and will be catered by Brother’s, which recently purchased Stage Stop in Meeker.
Dinner tickets can be purchased at the Meeker Chamber of Commerce, 710 Market St., or through members of the Meeker FFA chapter. Tickets are $35 per person, $10 for children 10 years and under, or $350 for a reserved table for 10 persons.
Kaitlin Cook, executive director of the Meeker Chamber of Commerce, said tickets can be bought in advance and, if there are any unsold tickets, at the door.
“This looks to be a great event again this year,” Cook said. “We are expecting roughly 300 people, so those who really want to go need to purchase tickets as soon as possible with only two days to go.”
The 2013 Ag and Business Summit will begin with the Rio Blanco County State of the County Address from 8 to 9:30 a.m., given by officials from Rio Blanco County, the Town of Meeker, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, state Rep. Bob Rankin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the federal Bureau of Land Management.
The first workshop, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., will address estate and retirement planning, range and pasture management during drought, the effects of wild horse and burro programs on rangeland health and how to read and utilize EPDs.
The second workshop will run from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. with discussion topics to include Agritourism 101, operating a new tractor or operating within the margins, range monitoring and utilizing DNA technology in purebred and commercial cattle operations.
The third workshop will run 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. addressing how to supercharge Facebook marketing, livestock nutrition, landowning Colorado-style (resource inventory and planning), noxious weed management and farm safety.
A free lunch provided by the Rio Blanco County Stockgrowers and Rio Blanco Cattlewomen associations will run from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Keynote speaker Jim Whitt will speak from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on “Purpose Unlimited.” That will be followed from 2:30 to 5 p.m. with “Pioneering the Future of Rio Blanco County,” also featuring Whitt.
Whitt’s biography states that he is an “unapologetic people provoker.” For more than 20 years, he has provoked people and organizations to reach their full potential as a speaker, consultant and author.