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An Agronomy on Ice event was held on top of a frozen Devils Lake in North Dakota. It is expected to become an annual event. (Mark Huso / Special to Agweek)

Talking farming is great, but turn it off sometimes

February is a busy month as we are steadily meeting with farmers and discussing our 2019 plans. The review of 2018 is also very important as we often move so fast some of the successes and failures become forgotten.

Some of these conversations become very intense and others can be quite casual. Visiting and talking farming often will carry with me wherever I go, and oftentimes that includes being with my wife and three kids. I can meet up with a current farmer I work with at a local basketball game or maybe catching up with an old college friend at a hotel in Fargo, N.D., who also brought his family there for the weekend, and the conversation moves directly into farming.

I’ve been very good about being able to talk farming with most anyone, and at the same time unfortunately, been very good about dismissing my family when it comes to those conversations. Like many of you whenever in a social setting, your spouse may tap you on the arm and say, “Can we turn off the farm talk now?” Yes, we can.  

For my family, agriculture is the primary part of our daily lives, but it isn’t the only thing in our lives. No matter where you live, there are other things going on than farming and sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that.  

Some of us live in small rural communities, some may live 30 miles from a town, and others may be closer to an urban community. In most cases these communities are highly dependent on agriculture for sustainability. However, there are members of these communities that aren’t tied to farming and we have to be able to carry on a conversation with them also about how things are for their workplace and what things good or bad may be affecting them.

Recently I attended Agonomy on Ice, an event put on at Devils Lake, N.D., by fellow agronomist Jason Hanson. It was a great event of bringing industry, Extension, and farmers together to talk about farming in a very fun environment. Throughout the day, I heard conversations on barley, sunflowers, edible beans, soybeans, planning thoughts, equipment, seed companies and many others. Then, we turned off the farming. There were discussions on high school basketball, ice fishing, vacation updates and my favorite —  what’s the best play to run in elementary basketball.

There was as much enjoyment in sharing farming stories as there was in discussing what’s happening outside of farming. I certainly encourage you to pay attention to next year as Jason’s Agronomy on Ice will become an annual event.

The winter season also allows us to spend more time to focus on community responsibilities. I mentioned last month how many of us serve on community groups such as school, ambulance, fire, hospital, city, church and others. For those involved in farming, the community meetings that happen in May through August our focus can be thin. But when it comes to the fall and winter months, I know I’m better able to turn the farming off and work on these community groups more effectively.  

So remember, it’s OK to be proud of who we are in agriculture our communities depend on us. But also, our communities and families need us to turn it off sometimes and give our attention other places.

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