Dec. 15 2016 08:00 AM

    While social media and the internet are great ways to learn, nothing beats an old-fashioned, face-to-face meeting.

    One of the great things about having a daughter and nephew working on the farm is that, for the first time in our adult farming careers, my brother and I can leave the farm at the same time for more than a couple hours. With that new learning opportunity available to us, my brother and I annually, along with our spouses, try to attend the Georgia Dairy Conference {} on the riverfront in historic Savannah, Ga. In some instances, dairy farmers and spouses start arriving a day or two early to take a mini vacation along with great dairy conference.

    Savannah boasts being one of the oldest planned cities in the U.S., with 22 city squares, great dining, historic landmarks, and usually temperate weather even during the winter season. Quite frankly, our wives love the elegant charm of Savannah and also the shopping it offers visitors.

    We look forward to visiting with our fellow dairy farmers, dairy vendors, extension persons, and conference speakers from all over the country. It is the largest gathering of Southeastern dairy owners annually providing a great opportunity to share ideas and insights about dairy farming.

    These days, I find myself networking more than ever through social media with other dairy farmers. This platform gives me a chance to learn new ideas from farmers all over the world, as well as share our family farm with them.

    Even as great as social media is, nothing beats good old-fashioned networking on a face-to-face level. Our trip to Savannah is our once a year chance to put a name with a face and build friendships in our industry. From our perspective, here has been a many a great idea shared and learned while in Savannah.

    My encouraging advice to fellow dairy farmers . . . take the time to attend a dairy conference in your area if possible. The friendships and new ideas you gain will reward you for your time away from the farm. Plus, I guarantee your spouse will enjoy some sightseeing and dining away from home.

    When it comes specifically to the Georgia Dairy Conference {}, you are always welcome to enjoy some southern hospitality, great food, and a great time with us in Savannah on January 16 to 18.

    For more info visit the conference webpage at

    Caitlin and Mark Rodgers

    Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. Their “Father and Daughter Dairy Together” column appears every other Thursday on HD Notebook. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.