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The Conservation Tillage Conference in Fargo on December 18-19, 2018. (Mark Huso/Special to Agweek)

Warm up and meet other farmers during meeting season

Yes it's cold outside, but it's warm in a meeting room.

December has already given many opportunities for farmers to get together with events such as the Ag Expo at the Fargodome, Canola day in Langdon, N.D., Prairie Grains Conference, The Conservation Tillage Conference, and Farmer 2 Farmer in Omaha, Neb. I've been able to attend three of these events and I'm certain there were other types of meetings also attended by groups of farmers

I embrace meeting season. It's a time to decompress from the busy daily activities April through Harvest season brings. However, it's also a time to reflect, analyze debate, argue, agree, think forward, and help plan for 2019. All of us do something different in regard to how we run our farms and businesses. When we go to meetings there is already a mindset in place of what works and what doesn't work. Attend a meeting and we have a chance to listen to someone that did something different in 2018 or is going to try a new idea in 2019. Then the debate begins inside our own minds. Then we may verbalize the debate with an old friend or someone you just met sitting next to at a conference. A simple "Hey, have you ever tried that?" starts an entirely new conversation.

Last month at the Conservation Tillage Conference in Fargo and also the Farmer 2 Farmer event in Omaha, it was great to see firsthand when differing opinions come together. Different opinions came come from just across the gravel road or from 500 miles away. The best thing we can do though is listen and value what the other person is saying and in return they may do the same. Around a supper table (yes, I call it supper) at a steakhouse in Fargo during the Conservation Tillage Conference, I heard good, fair debates and ideas between tillage practices, crops raised, equipment used, inputs purchased, and grain marketing concepts. Yes, sometimes we argued. Arms would be crossed, heads would shake, "No that's not going to work." But also, there was insight shared between neighbors, and between new farmer friends meeting for the first time. And when the conversation is good, you can often hear "Another round please, he's buying."

Many of us serve on boards and attend meetings outside of agriculture. Whether it's by personal choice or there is simply no one left in your city or township you win by default. Fire and ambulance, church, hospital, school, city, water, and township boards are examples of such. In most cases we come from different backgrounds on these boards and there are debates at these meetings where people disagree but find common ground to make positive choices for the group we serve.

Farm meetings should always be just like that. You may not agree with the speaker who came from out of state to visit, but you can probably take one of his points and apply it to your management decisions.

There are still many good meetings coming up in January and February. Extension Roundup in Devils Lake, N.D., Precision Ag Summit in Jamestown, N.D., Wide World of Weeds along with Soil and Water in Fargo, KMOT Ag Expo in Minot, N.D., Crop Connect in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Precision Ag Day in Maddock, N.D., Crop Expo in Grand Forks, N.D., local café talks put on by university extension, and many others.

So go attend a meeting. Sit in a corner or meet a new farmer. Don't be afraid to raise your hand and ask a question. I hope to see you at a meeting this winter.