Ever since the year before we started our farm, I’ve made it a point to attend one farming conference annually. This year I went all out and attended two, both this week.
Farming conferences involve all the usual things you’d expect from any other conference: squeally microphones, polite but forced applause after each presentation, people standing around a projector trying to connect it to a laptop, and of course lots of coffee. Blah coffee in the morning, and burnt coffee for afternoon break.
On Monday and Tuesday I attended the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association meeting and on Saturday I was at the Cornell Winter Green-Up Grazing conference. At the beginning of my farming career I went to these sorts of meetings to learn basic farming fundamentals. Now I’m there principally to talk to people. I’ve got my list of people to see for specific questions, but beyond that I try to meet at least a few strangers. I’m often amazed by the variety of situations and backgrounds at these events. The general feeling of these meetings includes a refreshing openness to share plans and ideas. Farmers don’t have trade secrets, rather they trade their secrets. It is encouraging that there are so many farmers all over the place dedicated to similar regenerative principles.
Now I’m back to the farm and I’m all done with conferences for another year. The next objective is to buckle down to finishing the chicken, turkey, cattle, and pig planning for 2019 and early 2020. Although we’re in the depths of winter, spring is coming, and we have a lot of new projects to have ready by then. As always, I’m intimidated by the scale of the plans we have for this year, but I’m also feeling enthusiastic to meet the challenges.