While certification isn’t a requirement for being a farmer, maybe continuing education should be. That’s why we’re scheduling time to visit other farms this fall and take in a few field days. Here’s a recent conversation:
Mike: Hey, honey, what’re you up so late working on?
Sheilah: I’m watching a video online for my nursing certification. Then I have to take a test on it. You know, just like how you have to get your pesticide points for your spray license. I have to get so many continuing education credits every year to keep my nursing license current.
Mike: Gotcha! Seems like that there’s always something new to learn. Which reminds me, there are a couple of field days later this fall I’d like to get to, if we can make it work.
Sheilah: When are they? Put them on the calendar. When my work schedule comes out, we’ll see if it works to go.
Mike’s always wanting to go somewhere and listen to someone speak, and visit other farms to get ideas. That’s his version of continuing education credits.
Mike: I always try to listen to a presentation or go look at someone else’s crops and learn about what they’re doing. One of the famous sayings from around our way is: “There are always more questions than answers.” I like to try to find the answers.
Sheilah: Not a whole lot of the field days are in our little corner of the state. But Mike and a lot of our neighboring farmers get together for their own crop tour. Every year, it seems to grow and take longer to do. They start in the morning on one farm, then spend the rest of the day driving across our county and sometimes into a couple others to look at crops.
Mike: Our crop tour is pretty informal. We all chip in for lunch, and don’t usually keep any secrets about what we’re looking at. We don’t always look at the best of what we do; we look at the worst, too. Sometimes it’s easier to learn from our mistakes rather than our accomplishments.
Between our own crop tour and field days, I try to find a couple of new ideas or tips to apply to our farm. Every farmer has his/her own way of doing things. Sometimes those ways work for you, sometimes they don’t. I especially like to go to field days in different parts of the state to see how farming practices are being applied there.
Sheilah: We’re planning a couple of trips east this fall to continue our education — to learn and be open-minded to new ways and new ideas. It can’t be all work and no play, though. We’ll “work in” some family-oriented stops, too.
Sheilah and Mike Reskovac farm near Uniontown, Pa. Catch all their Two Hearts, One Harvest blogs at AmericanAgriculturist.com.