Saturday, February 21, 2015

Women in Ag

Dairy conferences are the best vacations. Sure, I may not be sitting on the beach, but there's no better getaway than being surrounded by like-minded people and talking about dairy and ag. This week I got to do exactly that at the Midwest Women in Ag conference in northern Indiana. It was definitely worth the drive.

What's fun about conferences is the chance to see friends from other areas that I don't see very often and also the opportunity to meet lots of awesome new people. My friend Carrie was the keynote speaker, so it was an awesome chance to catch up with her. Carrie and I were in the same class of the Holstein Foundation's Young Dairy Leaders Institute the last few years and now that I'm back in the Midwest I get to see her more often. I stopped by her farm on the way back from my adventures in the place that inspired the name of my blog over New Year's and got to meet her husband and all of their lovely cows. Love trips like that! If you don't follow her blog, you should. She's awesome.

We were randomly assigned tables for dinner on Wednesday evening to get us to branch out and meet new people. Ironically, half of our table consisted of dairy ladies! Needless to say, it was a fun group!

Several of the gals from my blogging group were there, and some of them (Jeanette, Liz, Leah and Heather) lead one of the breakout sessions on blogging and social media. Great job, ladies!

There were sessions about all kinds of things--from marketing during a down cycle to advocacy to stress relief. Speaking of stress relief, they also had chair massages in the evenings. If that doesn't help you relax, I'm not sure what will!

Matt Lohr was the speaker during lunch on the last day of the conference and was awesome. Ironically, I met Matt when he was the Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture back in late 2013/early 2014 when I worked in the dairy industry in VA and NC at a dairy gala. My former coworker, Chase, and I got all dressed up in a suit and fancy dress and took a few of our dairymen and their wives to this gala. It was a lot of fun. It's a very small world in ag and is always getting smaller. Another reason to never burn a bridge, ever. His talk at this conference focused on leaving a lasting legacy. He talked about how his late wife certainly did that and how we can each do that by inspiring the next generation, being a mentor to others and helping each other out. It was inspiring. He said a lot of things that resonated with me for one reason or another.

If you haven't been to this conference and are in agriculture, I highly recommend it! I'll definitely be going back next year.

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