Greetings from snowy western SD today! When I woke up, I put my nose through the curtains to see what the weather was doing. My eyes got huge when I saw all the snow. So, what better way to stay home, snuggle up on the couch and watch a few chick flicks! But, I thought I better start my day off to watch the Food Network channel and to blog my observations over the last several weeks.
This winter seems to be getting long for some people. For much of the upper northern plains, we have seen many inches of snow since the middle of January. So, what do farmers and ranchers like to do in the winter? Obviously they can’t head south to escape the cold temperatures but they tend for the newborn calves, provide nutrients for the livestock, and provide warmth. But thankfully, there are some activities for those dedicated ag people who need to get off the farm or ranch.
I have been traveling a lot and I mean a lot, about 1,300 miles worth! My first adventure was to the Watertown Farm Show. This farm show is nothing like the Black Hills Stock Show but it does it’s justice. The weather caused problems earlier in the week for producers to get off their operations. At the Watertown Farm Show, there are cattle shows and sales, many equipment dealers, and health and home vendors. As the week went on and the snow stopped falling, more people came out.
After Watertown and being home for about a day and a half, I was back on the road to Nebraska. Now, I have traveled to Nebraska before when my brother and I were involved in the American Junior Simmental Association and participated in the regionals and national classics. Nerves and all, I jumped back into my car to head to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic and the Nebraska Women In Ag conference.
Now before I get into the benefits of going to Nebraska, I would like to share my observations about the state. I left Philip at 3 p.m. for the five hour or so trip to some what get in at a decent time. But after I got passed Valentine and Theadford, my nerves started kicking in. There were no gas stations open at 7 p.m. along Hwy 2! Now thankfully, I had a half a tank left but I didn’t know how long it was going to take me to get Kearney, my final destination. I quickly pulled into the first gas station that was open to top off my gas tank and grab a snack.
As I proceeded on, I noticed one distinct smell in every town I entered. The smell was so familiar and made me feel like I was right at home. It was the smell of cow poo, or money some might say! Even though it was in the dark, I could only smell and not see, but some areas were atrocious! I just had to grin and tell myself, that must of been a feedlot!
Anyways, my work assignment for Nebraska was to attend the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic and Women In Ag conference. Just like every farm or stock show, the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic was no different. This classic is always well attended!
But the reason why I enjoyed Nebraska was their Women In Ag conference. This was my first conference and I have to give a ton of credit to people who put these on. Conferences like these allow the women of the ranch and farm to get off their stomping grounds and have a couple days of vacation to learn how they can help improve their current establishments. An amazing feeling for me was being surrounded by approximately 250 women who loves doing what they do. Some women originally grew up on ag operations then married a farmer or rancher. Then there were some women who grew up in the city and married into an ag operation, but those women love what they are doing now!
Throughout the day and a half, women had a chance to listen to speakers who started and ended our day out in laughter, attended five sessions from room transformations to financial assistance to equip women with more information, and to meet other women around the state of Nebraska. Conferences like these are huge for women, to give them a chance to be part of the operations. I truly had an amazing time and even though I do live in town and hope to move out the country some day, the things I learned will help me when we do so!
I encourage you to attend a Women In Ag conference, especially in your own state. Women should be able to have fun and learn some more thing to be beneficial to their operation, then just a person who runs into town and gets parts!
Well I’m done traveling for now, at least for the next couple of weeks. I’m very excited to be going home the first weekend of March to be part of my friend’s wedding who I’ve known since Kindergarten! If any of you know what to say in a wedding speech, advice is always welcomed! But I hope you all enjoyed the weather last week like I did because now I have to go shovel out our driveway! Have a wonderful day and I’ll be back soon!