As the 2015 Commodity Classic winds down in Phoenix, I am sure farmers will walk away with some insight from educational sessions, a wish list of equipment or technology purchases, and new friends that will last a lifetime.
However, you might have missed a few light-hearted moments that truly reflect what it is like for America's farmers to attend the Commodity Classic. Here are 10 ways to know if you had the full Commodity Classic experience.
You might have attended the 2015 Commodity Classic if:
1. You checked into the hotel and the agent asked if you are with Syngenta. Note to future host hotels--never ask if a farmer is with (insert company name). More than likely, they will be with that company's competitor, as was made clear by the farmer's response next to me.
2. You grabbed your hotel key and found the latest chemical used on your farm. Then you wonder, "Did I pay for this?" However, great advertising reach by Bayer at the Renaissance Hotel. Not sure what companies were the keycard sponsors at other hotels.
3. The curb had signs that explained what crosswalk symbols mean. Apparently, farmers only know how to cross a ditch, walk a fence line or yield to tractor traffic. Take them out of rural America and they need pictures and directions on how to navigate the city. It made me giggle.
4. The police crossing guard told you to "have fun buying that new tractor." At first, I thought which genius equipment dealer bribed the police. However, he did not encourage me on a color preference.
5. You got confused on geography listening to farmers from the south talk with farmers from the north. "Y'all it's awfully sunny out there." "Don'tcha know." I love accents of America's farmers. It is the first insight into what they might produce on their farm. Northern accents--corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, dairy. Southern accents--peanuts, cotton, wheat, soybeans, beef cattle.
6. A restaurant waiter opened with "Our beef is corn-fed." Kudos for playing to your audience. Demerits for trying to explain the difference between Prime and Choice.
7. Directions from a fellow grower included "ride down the ILeVO elevators, walk past the Mycogen floor tile to the Syngenta escalators." Signage was prominent at the 2015 Commodity Classic and it came in pretty handy when you needed to meet someone.
8. The carpet on the trade show floor was more cushy than the carpet at your home. Some exhibits this year just made you want to take your shoes off and walk barefoot. It was almost as impressive as the white carpet actually staying white at a farm show with more than 7,500 attendees.
9. You ran into the U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at a local restaurant and told him he missed an opportunity to address a room full of ag media and he says, "That wasn't a missed opportunity." Points for sense of humor and extra points for extending the deadline for base acre allocation and yield history updates to March 31.
10. Your cell phone now has more numbers in it that require a different area code. Commodity Classic is a great event to make connections with corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers from across the country. It is fun to add more contacts in your phone to call for tips, advice, parts, or just a planting update.
Feel free to share your Commodity Classic moment in the "Comments" section below. I hope you came away from Phoenix encouraged about producing the food, fuel and fiber for the world. Safe travels back to the farm.