Farm Progress

You just might learn something at a conference that will put you one step ahead of the competition.

Maria Cox, Blogger

December 15, 2017

2 Min Read
The Farm Futures Business Summit will take place Jan. 18-19 at the Coralville, Iowa, Marriott hotel.

There are several ways to learn about the latest and greatest trends in agriculture this winter. We have unlimited information at our fingertips via social media, from asking questions on Twitter to watching YouTube tutorials.

Then there is learning from experts and other farmers in real time, face to face. I could potentially spend every week at a conference this winter. There are many good conferences out there, including the Farm Futures Business Summit. I started reading Farm Futures six years ago and was drawn to its business, marketing, and finance focus. I won’t miss the Farm Futures conference. Also, I’m expanding my network by either being a speaker or participant in several other meetings.

Sure, it’s much easier to stay at home, with business as usual. Attending a conference not only takes time but also work to make sure things run smoothly in the business while away from home.

Even so, there three good reasons why you should attend a conference this winter:

It’s important to take a break from the day-to-day operations. I have the biggest breakthroughs while I’m away from the farm. You can find conferences on finance, marketing, agronomy, technology, and more. Trade shows provide opportunities to meet new vendors and partners.

While social media is a great way to stay connected with people, I argue that the best and strongest relationships are made through human personal contact. Think back to the biggest decisions on your farm. They were probably made in part because of a strong business relationship. When I think of all the changes our operation has made in the past few years, the common denominator is that those changes were made because of the people I met. New relationships lead to new opportunities.

Think differently. You never know when a conference can change the way you think. New thinking leads to new direction and focus for your business. I had a personal breakthrough after attending a soil health meeting last year. Although skeptical at first, I kept an open mind and found a new way of thinking about farming. You never know when a conference might change your life.

I hope you make plans to attend a conference this year. If you choose Farm Futures, that’s wonderful. If it’s another conference, that’s good too. We may not like to admit it, but we are in competition with the farmers next door and across the ocean. You just might learn something at a conference that will put you one step ahead of the competition.

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


About the Author(s)

Maria Cox


Maria Cox is a sixth generation grain, livestock, and hay farmer from White Hall, Ill.  She has been farming with her family since 2012, and also has experience in grain marketing and crop insurance.  She holds a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and a B.S. in Agribusiness from the University of Illinois. You can find her online at and twitter @mariacoxfarm.

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