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Catching up with virtual winter farm meetings

scyther5/iStock/Getty Images Remote learning or work. video conferencing concept.
Online content finally fits my schedule.

Summertime, forget it! If we’re not out in the fields, we’re at the ballpark! But what about winter farm meetings that are now mostly online?

Until recently I struggled to figure out how virtual content was going to work for me. I know some guys are able to take time out and watch content live. I’ve heard of others using their phone and putting it through their headset. I’m either too busy, or too busy thinking about what needs to be done. Plus, I’d have to have a headset first. (Santa- are you reading??)

But with last week being somewhat of a catchup week in the office, I finally figured it out. I was able to multi-task. Continuing education hours have moved to virtual along with online self-study courses. I found some courses online to satisfy my pesticide and fertilizer licenses. I signed up for the courses and watched them while I was working at the desk.

Honestly, I probably got as much out of this format as I do when I attend an all-day in-person seminar when topics vary for a larger audience. I was able to choose content that mattered to me. With the online format, I could stop and rewind when I wanted to hear something again or see the graphic for a longer period of time. I’ve hit my limit for this year, but I hope to get more hours after the new year and be caught up for a while.

Catching up on corn yield tips

Thursday I have a zoom meeting to attend. In this format, everyone is live. The meeting is for the Great Lakes region Dowdy-Hula Next Level program that we host. Corn yield contest winners Randy Dowdy and David Hula will be teaching about this year’s growing season, what we have learned, and what we need to be doing.

This meeting is also interactive, where growers will share. Some will present results from this year’s trials, others will ask probing questions. It’s not the same as in person, but it is the closest we can get right now. There are just too many logistical issues and state/local rules for Randy and David to attend 15 camp sites in person.

The upside is we are welcome to listen in on other camps and get a bigger picture of how areas of the country differ. The content is also being recorded so we can view it later in the event we can’t catch it live. Next week I’ll start rolling the sessions I missed, in the office.

I haven’t opted to do any virtual sales meeting yet. I’ve seen a few company-sponsored advertisements for online product roll-outs or events. But most ag companies are allowing enough flexibility that the sales team can still get out and make visits to see farm customers.

Virtual: It’s not for everyone

One point to those who produce virtual content: It’s not for everyone. There are those that very much dislike online content and really need the in-person contact to be able to stay focused and learn. It is important that we don’t forget how to do ‘in-person’ meetings.

Hopefully this happens again soon!

Maybe there will be more hybrid in-person plus virtual meetings in the future. I’ll also add another little tidbit - just because video and audio updates are so popular now, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do. Some still prefer good old newsletters or hard copy. I am one of those. Often I don’t take the time for a 5 or 10 minute daily update; I’d rather read at my own pace.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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