Conferences, trade shows, seminars, whatever you want to call them, they're a great place to find new ideas and inspiration for the coming year.
After attending the Farm Futures Management Summit in St. Louis the past couple of days, I'm excited to explore a host of new story ideas. The speakers were top notch. Even more impressive was the give and take between farmers.
During lunch, I listened as two Texas farmers discussed survival strategies with a farmer from Idaho. The Texans had experienced a rough 2008. To make matters worse, the majority of their family is employed by the farm.
After the Idaho farmer listened to their predicament, he asked if any family members had additional skill sets along with farming, i.e. could they get a job off the farm. In the end, he suggested some family members take an off-farm job, in exchange for a payout from the farm to help them get by. Once the farm returns to profitability, everyone could come back to farming full time.
The Texans lit up when the Idaho farmer had finished. Both said they'd never considered that as an option, but it makes perfect sense. Now, they're next hurdle is convincing dad, the boss, to go along with the plan.
If you're looking for a little inspiration for 2009, or if you'd like to pick up some management tips, Farm Futures' Management Summit is a good starting place. The next one is Jan. 21 and 22 in Indianapolis.