Monday, March 9, 2015

February: The Month of Networking

Welcome to the February installment of my Month-By-Month blog series.  While January was about the books, February month is all about networking: meetings for various agriculture organizations, conferences to learn about a variety of topics, and network!

Farming is not only business and lifestyle, but it is a career.  Farmers can take that career in any direction that they choose.

Just like an architect* may pursue continuing education courses or attend a conference to further his/her career, farmers must stay current on trends and educate themselves on practices and products to make their business more viable and sustainable.

It also helps to know your colleagues.  Sure, when you are a farmer your colleagues are just a mile or two down the road (our farming neighbors).  But it is also very helpful to know other farmers across the state, and even the nation!

There are many agricultural organizations farmers can be involved with from the type of commodities they produce (i.e. corn, soybean, cattle, etc.), to political affiliations and beyond.

Travis and I are involved with the North Dakota Farm Bureau on the Young Farmers and Ranchers committee, and locally within our county.  It is an organization that has brought many opportunities to us as farmers and our own professional development.

The winter is generally a slower time for farmers, so many of our meetings take place from mid-January to mid-March, with a full month of networking activities during February.

Our most engaging conference this month was the American Farm Bureau Federation's FUSION Conference in Nashville, TN.  The conference is geared to unite farmers, and develop leaders within agriculture through skills, inspiration, outreach and networking.

Photo courtesy of Katie at The Pinke Post.

We were able to attend presentations from some great speakers and breakout sessions on a variety topics: advocacy, business, collegiate, communication, education, leadership, rural development, and technology.  A lot of topics, but professionals in agriculture have to have a diverse skilled set!

We also got to experience how southern states deal with winter weather - that is not well...

The view out of our room - everything covered in ice!

Winter storm Octavia coated Nashville with a nice sheet of ice, and the entire city shut down for days.  We were trapped in the utopia of Opryland for much of the time.

The Falls in the Cascades at Opryland.

But we still got to experience live country music downtown.  It is a must see, or hear, that is!

The Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville.

As the saying goes: work hard, play hard.

This week, March 8-14th, is North Dakota Farm Bureau week.  We'd like to thank the North Dakota Farm Bureau for the opportunities the organization has provided us.  Look for more posts highlighting our involvement in the upcoming days.


*Fun fact:  My husband is also a licensed architect.  Farmer + architect = Farmitect!

Disclaimer: As farmers, we are members of the North Dakota Farm Bureau and volunteer our time to the organization.  Due to our leadership position on the Young Farmers & Ranchers committee, we were reimbursed for our travel expenses on this trip, and are grateful for the opportunity.

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