Greetings one and all!!
This has been one of the more stressful weeks of my adult life. I can’t remember the last time that I was so ready for a week to be over. Levi and i returned home after a wonderful week in San Antonio attending the Natinal Cattlemen’s Beff Association trade show and convention. We had a wonderful time meeting several new folks and picking up a lot of useful information. Although it we enjoyed ourselves, the trip came at a very busy time.
First thing we had to do Saturday morning after we got home was take the 4-H steers for their initial weigh in. For those of you who are not familiar with how steer shows at a county fair work, there are minimum weights that must be met for the animals to be qualified to show. For our county fair, the steers must weigh a minimum of 575 lbs at initial weigh in. From there, the calves must gain a minimum of 2 lbs per day AND weigh a minimum of 1000 lbs at final weigh in, 151 days later in July. With 50 plus steers being weighed in this year, this was an extremely busy morning at the fairgrounds. Like every year, we were the last trailer in line and weighed our steers in just after 11 am.
Our trip and steer weigh in all came in the middle of Keri’s new endeavor to become a yoga instructor. She is spending over half of the days in February to complete this intense course to fulfill her dream of being able to teach yoga. So to say things have been a little hectic around our house is an understatement.
To add insult to injury, we had a round of sickness in our house that put a couple of us out of commission for a few days. Whats even more is at the same time the sickness was going through the house, we had a calf get stepped on in the field that I tried to nurse back to health. Unfortunately, last night that calf gave in to his injuries.
All of this among our normal responsibilities and obligations has got me just a tad on the stressed side. However, I am not looking for sympathy. This is the path we’ve chosen and I know my heart would be empty if I were to live any other way. I’ve been meaning to write about our trip to San Anotonio since we got back. However, I’ve just not been able to come up with the time until now.
Levi and I left Tuesday morning on a plane to San Antonio and arrived around 3 pm after a brief layover in Atlanta. We went directly to the convention center and attended sessions of Cattlemen’s College and were treated to a prime rib dinner later that evening.
Wednesday morning we woke up early and went again to the convention center and attended more sessions of Cattlemen’s College. The highlight of my Wednesday ( and the whole convention) was to attend a session on Intentional Forage Management and Utilization put on by Noble Research Institute. I knew I was in the right place when one of my heroes, Burke Teichert, sat down next to me in class.
Wednesday Afternoon we were able to attend the Opening General Session featuring NCBA President Jennifer Houston and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. That was immediately followed by a powerful keynote delivered by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly. I highly encourage anyone to check out his story. It was remarkable.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Levi and I spent most of the days attending the trade show visiting with vendors. It was fun to see what we could buy if we had an unlimited amount of funds 🙂 . We were able to meet up with several people that I had previously connected with online. I loved being able to put names and personalities with these folks. (Markie, Ryan, Delaney, and Jake to name a few).
So my final thoughts after a week at this convention are all positive. I know there are several folks who have a very hard time with some of the policies of NCBA. I agree with a lot of the stances these folks have. However, at any event, you can get whatever you want out of this. It was really cool to see all the products that people have for sale. But when you focus on the things that can make your life easier and more enjoyable, you can cut through a lot of the BS. That’s why the most important class I attended were the one’s put on by Noble. They weren’t trying to sell me anything. They didn’t wave a shiny new toy in front of me. They were trying to get me to think and to work to make my grazing management be better.
That is the one thing that I am trying to improve on this year is my ability to get the most out of my operation’s grass. I struggle with this as this is something that is a little bit foreign to me. I didn’t go to ranch management school. I am a novice when it comes to grasslands evaluation. The only education I have is real world experience. That is great, but we are sometimes limited when we stay in our little circle. I’m so thankful that I was able to get to know the folks at Noble and look forward to working with them going forward.
That’s why events like this are so important. It is crucial that we as farmers and ranchers get off of the farm a little bit to find out what is going on with the folks in the industry across the country. Find out what their wins and losses are. Find out what we can learn from folks who may do things differently. We never know what we may bring home.
Above all else, it was an incredible experience for Levi and I to get away from the farm as a father and son. With our busy schedules, getting one on one time with the kids is very difficult. Sometimes it takes a plane ride to a cattlemen’s convention to get that time in.
What event’s do you attend or want to attend in the future? What practices or ideas have you brought back from them? Let us know in the comments. Be sure to check out our latest podcast episode featuring Jess Peters. She was a delight to talk to after following her online for quite sometime.
Thanks for taking the time to read and stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.
Until the next time