Attending various agricultural meetings and engaging in the discussion can seem tedious for farmers and ranchers, but it is a critical component to the long-term success of the agricultural industry. Workshops, seminars, field days, conferences, and other similar events focusing on topics affecting agriculture all play a vital role in keeping the overall industry informed on important issues.
“It’s an all-encompassing benefit for everyone,” said Brooke Latack, Cooperative Extension Livestock Advisor serving Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. “Not just the farmers, but the people putting the workshops on also benefit a great deal from it.”
Participating in agricultural meetings of all varieties can expand the knowledge base of what is happening on the local, state, and even national level. Engaging in discussions on particularly sensitive topics such as water and labor can also help clarify the underlying issue for lawmakers as well as the general public. Asking questions and voicing concerns at agricultural meetings also helps researchers better understand what the industry needs and what types of research may be the most useful.
“I work in a very arid environment. I don’t know everything about livestock production in say a wetter environment with more rainfall. So, if I can go to a workshop and learn more about those types of farming operations, I can learn more about the system as a whole,” Latack noted. “Even within the same commodity, it can really benefit people to learn about different areas and different issues that people from different areas are seeing.”
Farmers and ranchers already have busy schedules, but Latack noted that carving out some time to participate in industry events should also be considered an important component of farming. “Sitting there for a whole day may not be fun, it may not be their favorite way to spend those hours, but long-term there can be a great payoff to that investment of time,” said Latack.