Wallaces Farmer

Another Voice: Those “cold-weather” meetings offer a chance at education and business enhancement.

Willie Vogt

December 7, 2021

3 Min Read
Presentation being given
CONSIDER A MEETING: Getting into a room with fellow farmers and top-notch speakers is time well invested for your farm. Rawpixel/Getty Images

My friend and colleague Max Armstrong calls winter the "learning season," because that's the traditional time for all manner of local, state, regional and national meetings. But these are more than slap-on-the-back fellowship events; they have in-depth content that can help make your business stronger.

To drop another name, David Kohl, a well-known ag economist and business evangelist, uses the phrase "lifelong learning" often when he speaks. But where are you going to learn? A winter meeting.

Even editors attend these meetings to grow their knowledge and share ideas for your farm. And while I know we work hard to share the information with you, for concentrated learning, nothing beats being in the room with the speaker.

Sure, the rise of virtual meetings is helping more farmers get information in new ways. And we support that with our FarmProgress365 program. But Farm Progress is also known for its in-person events, too — including the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days.

In the winter, those classroom-setting meetings can bring you information that's easier to "get" when the speaker is in the room. In addition, you can have your questions answered, too.

Maximizing a winter meeting

If you haven't taken in a winter meeting recently, it's probably time to consider taking part in one or two. Some have a fee, others are free, depending on the sponsor. Here are some tips I've picked up from these meetings in the past:

1. Be ready with questions. You have the speaker in the room — and even the chance for one-on-one interaction at some events. Don't waste it. Your farm is different from others, and getting some outside perspective can be helpful.

2. Consider what you're hearing, and keep an open mind. Sure what you’ve done has worked so far, but could it work better? Entering these meetings with an eye toward how you can get better helps boost the value of your invested time and money.

3. Get an idea you’ll use right away. Leave the meeting with one idea you're going to implement very soon after the event — some experts say if you put something to work within 48 hours you'll benefit. As you listen to a session, what might you engage for your operation the next day?

Shameless plug

Of course, not only does Farm Progress have its big fall outdoor shows, but we conduct two business-focused events in the winter. The Farm Futures Ag Finance Boot Camp on Jan. 19, and the Farm Futures Summit on Jan. 20 and 21.

The first event is just what it says — a daylong focus on finances, taxes and accounting topics. It's a refresher for those who understand key accounting issues. It's also a great way to immerse yourself in a topic that can sometimes challenge you. The experts on hand will walk you through the tough parts.

The Farm Futures Summit, which does have David Kohl on the program, starts Jan. 20 and wraps up with lunch on Jan. 21. This in-depth business event looks at succession, global supply-demand trends, policy issues impacting your farm and keys to profitable grain marketing. This day-and-a-half event drills into some important topics for your farm.

You can learn more about both at farmfuturessummit.com.

Put a winter meeting on your calendar — but before you go, consider what you want to bring back to the farm after the event. You'll be glad you did.

About the Author(s)

Willie Vogt

Willie Vogt has been covering agricultural technology for more than 40 years, with most of that time as editorial director for Farm Progress. He is passionate about helping farmers better understand how technology can help them succeed, when appropriately applied.

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