It's the calm before the storm. Calving season is just getting started for some and for others it's right around the corner, and you're left with a couple of weeks of what seems to be downtime. There's plenty that you can do -- fences that need patched, water tanks that need a new winter light bulb put under of them and you best get some straw hauled before the next snowstorm, but you do have some days that you can cut loose and make time for other priorities.
It seems that most cattlemen's meetings take place early in the new year and I can't think of a better way to spend the weekend. I've gotten the chance to go to three now: one smaller one at the county level, one statewide, and one national meeting. I have plans to go to two more before April. From getting to talk with other producers, to learning new marketing strategies from industry experts, to learning new low-stress management styles, these meetings help spark enthusiasm for the upcoming year, keep young producers involved and give cattlemen a place to voice their opinions about industry matters.
If you're not sure where to find local events, state or national events, believe it or not, Facebook is a wonderful tool. Different cattlemen's groups share their meetings and are always looking for new faces to join their mission. From there I'd highly recommend looking in local papers and asking your local extension office for a list of events.
It doesn't matter if you've been in the business for 50 years or are thinking about buying your first set of females this year, there's no doubt you either have something to learn or share, and both are equally important.
ShayLe Stewart can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
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