Feb. 21 2019 02:10 PM

Workshops and meetings allow dairy producers to learn, grow, and connect with others.

How many times have you heard about a seminar or a class that’s free and helpful, but you can’t seem to find the time to go? It has happened to all of us. We get caught up in our daily duties and chores, and we just push it off until the next one comes around. Then, history repeats itself and then again until the next one.

There is no doubt that most of us are too busy to squeeze time in to leave the farm in the middle of the workday to drive an hour or so up the road to sit and listen to a seminar for an hour or two then have to drive an hour back. That means going out of town for a class or seminar is just completely absurd to even think that we might have time to do that . . . am I right?

Actually, my personal opinion is that it is essential to try and make as many of these events as you can. Yes, you may have to skip a vet check and double up the next week, or you may have to call on your herdsman and give him a little leeway to step up to the plate and let him take care of the farm for a day or two.

In my opinion, it is not only important to attend these events to further our education but also to network outside of our farm and community. Talking to other dairymen from other places may give you ideas about something that could help out on your own farm. Maybe you’ve been having a problem that your vet or nutritionist hasn’t been able to sort out, and you meet a farmer from the next state who had the same problem the year before and they figured out how to fix it.

When I go to these meetings, yes, I will know a lot of what is being taught. Still, almost every single time, I learn something new that is helpful and can be useful on our family farm. We try to stay up with the times as new things are invented and discovered in the dairy world. We try to learn as much as possible about it and how it would affect our farm.

Just two weeks ago, I flew to Wisconsin to go to Robotic Operators School. I was there for about four days and learned as much as I could within that time about the robots we are installing on our farm. And the next calf seminar or transition cow meeting that takes place around us, I will try my best to attend. If I can’t, someone else in management from the farm will.

Also, my final thought is that sending one or two of your employees to these events is not a bad idea. Not only will they learn something, but it also gives them a sense of ownership in their career.

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.