March 14 2023 08:00 AM

The associations we are part of bring value when we gather with our peers.

It’s meeting season. This is that tiny sliver of time when winter seems to have backed off enough to not be as big of a trouble (although this winter seems to be testing that, or maybe we are just always usually sheltered from real winter in the Pacific Northwest). It’s also too early for the busyness of spring to have fully hit. It seems that all the meetings that haven’t happened yet fall into this window of time.

It’s this time of year when the calendar quickly fills with board meetings, association meetings, and co-op meetings. You name it, and it probably has a meeting. Though there never is a season that’s not busy, I know farmers look forward to the opportunities these meetings present.

If anything, it’s a time of fellowship with those who truly understand the challenges and struggles we deal with daily. There’s nothing quite like sitting in a room full of your peers to bolster the spirit. It’s a kind of camaraderie that can’t be found anywhere else than with fellow farmers.

The opportunities that meetings provide are also so important. They offer learning and the sharing of new ideas as well as the passing of information and accomplishing important tasks. Maybe it’s still the post-pandemic buzz, but it all feels so much more real when we gather in person instead of through a screen.

I know as the calendar fills it can feel downright impossible to fit everything in. And with farming schedules, there honestly isn’t enough time for it all. But I encourage you to prioritize those meetings on the calendar. There’s more to them than just what’s on the surface.

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of young sons who round out the family-run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.