All of us in this business are constantly in meetings or attending trade shows. Many times we whine about travel, being tired, and the endless schedule of meetings. BUT have we stepped back, looked at them and figured out the best of these events and the opportunities for learning?

October found me on the road (and in the air) for several events – none related. When I was finally traveling home on October 29, I put some of these learnings in perspective.

  1. Most of the attendees at shows and meetings come with an eagerness to learn. It may be in the questions they ask, the booths they visit, or the conference sessions they attend but they are seeking information.
  2. Southwest has become my favorite airline and yes I’m not ashamed to admit it. There are several reasons for this but mostly it’s the people. They actually seem to enjoy their jobs. On a recent trip I ended up on three different airlines, so lots of opportunity for comparisons and Southwest was the definite winner.
  3. There are so many smart people in this country! And we all have the opportunity to learn from them. One of my trips was to the World Dairy Expo for one of our clients, Novus International. Their staff has so much education and experience – it’s scary. But yet they are so patient to teach me and answer all my less than stellar questions.
  4. This is really smart people Part 2! At the US Animal Health Association, all 50 states send their veterinarian staffs along with many USDA veterinarians and researchers plus industry veterinarians. So much knowledge in one spot can be overwhelming to a lay person. Again, patience for us was abundant.
  5. This country is gorgeous. I drove from northwest Iowa to Madison, Wisconsin, and back and the view is spectacular. Another trip took me to Washington, DC and who can look at the Capitol or any of the monuments and not be impressed? From there I traveled to Providence, Rhode Island, and New England has a beauty and flavor all its own. Our country has been blessed with the abundance in all of these areas and all of it so different!
  6. Agriculture was the reason for all of my very different trips. I am so blessed to be involved in an industry that is so diverse and yet so much the same. Whether I was talking to a producer, Congressman, or animal health official, it’s obvious every one of us was proud to be a part of feeding the world – no matter what our role.
  7. Agriculture is truly an international business. This was evident in all of my trips this past month. Feeding people all over the world, fueling part of this country and making clothing and other necessities is not just for our neighborhood, state, or US but everywhere!
  8. While agriculture is a global business, it still boils down to relationships. This is evident in all segments of our industry. Whether it is a one-on-one sales discussion or finding the best researcher world-wide for a foreign animal disease, it’s still all about the people and who they know.
  9. I need new luggage! This observation is strictly personal but holy cow the variety and types of luggage these days is very extensive. Now if I could figure out which kind will roll itself to my room and more importantly lift itself in and out of the many places I put it!
  10. I am one of the luckiest people I know. Traveling to all these places, working with great people – both here at HMG and at the events, learning more at each event, and still going home to a great family, farm and
    community – yep I’m just lucky!

As we head into shorter days, huge plans for 2016, and many activities, I hope to reflect on all these lessons I’ve learned and the many more coming at me.