Talking turkey at winter meetings (Editorial)

With Thanksgiving more than a week behind us along with all the door-busting sales, leftovers and other parts that have come to be associated with the holiday, attention in farm country turns to the full plate of winter meetings and trade shows throughout the region.
Like Thanksgiving, the meetings bring people together who may not have seen much of one another during the year to mingle and catch up.
There’s often a good meal involved, too.
Many important conferences have already come and gone this year.
The Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School in mid-November has a history of filling up fast and viewed as a “must attend” meeting not just for the continuing education credits but the wide scope and expertise of topics shared.
Maryland Farm Bureau holds its 100th convention this week the last of this year’s Farm Bureau meetings in the region.
Still to come are the behemoth Delaware Agriculture Week in January, the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, the New Jersey Agricultural Convention and Trade Show, the Mid-Atlantic Women in Agriculture Conference and the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Nationally, there’s the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting where a new president will be chosen, the Commodity Classic and the World Ag Expo that make the travel itinerary for many area producers.
We’ll have more detail on upcoming meetings and conferences in our Showtime supplement later this month.
The weather is often dreary during the meetings, with farmers trodding through snow and cold to the convention center, fairgrounds, fire hall or other venue commonly used. But inside, there’s a noticeable energy in the interaction of farmers, researchers and salespeople.
Usually centered around research presentations and discussions of policy and advocacy for the coming year, the local meetings are first and foremost a learning opportunity for farmers.
But learning goes beyond the rows of seats lined up before the projector screen and podium.
Trade shows packed with equipment, service providers and allied companies have representatives eager to tell you what’s new, what’s coming and how it might help your bottom line.
The so-called downtime at the meetings is somewhat of a misnomer since the education continues between sessions in conversation among farmers.
Amidst the chit-chat, ideas get shared along with what worked and didn’t work in the past.
It’s a good time to absorb and contemplate the coming year and it’s refreshing to see each year the farm communities come together to advance and celebrate their industry.