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It’s the season for field days, continuing education and goal-setting

Off-farm events keep us energized and focused on the future.

Opportunities to learn and build business relationships abound this time of year. I counted at least seven last week and this week alone.

Field days can be a good learning experience, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get too excited about them anymore. I’m not a social butterfly, and it takes more than good food to get me there. There have to be continuing education points, or a good speaker. Too often, the pitch is focused on what will be available in 18 months.

I understand it’s about promoting the brand into the future, but information farmers want revolves around the here and now: What will make us more stable, more bushels, less work, more profit, etc. It’s good to take a peek at the future, but the focus has to be on short-term survival.

Keep learning

Rachael and I were able to attend a conference last week sponsored by a seed company. We drove into French Lick, Ind., Wednesday morning. I was in class by 1 p.m. and Rachael was attending the spouse events. Later that evening there was a ‘networking reception’ and dinner. The next morning, I was in class shortly after seven. We were dismissed by noon.

It was too quick of a trip to call a ‘getaway’. However, it was well worth it.

We heard from farmers Randy Dowdy and David Hula, two national yield contest winners. We also heard from agronomist Cory Oberlander, and I came away with about 10 pages of notes and a couple dozen photos of the presentations. I’d call that time well spent.

After harvest, I will take some time to review notes and evaluate soil and tissue tests. Hopefully we will have some good yield data from treatment trials to work into the analysis. Some say it’s about finding a systems approach that works for you. That may be true, but if you don’t mind the details, none of it will matter.

At most conferences, there is a speaker who tells you to write down your goal. So, here it is: Over the next three to five years, we will maintain or increase production while reducing acreage by 25%.

How’s that for a cliff-hanger? Check back for more details later…

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

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