This week we were in Willmar, Marshall and Mankato with hundreds of area farmers at the Linder Farm Network’s Ag Outlook Meetings to learn and plan for the next year.
I can really relate to these folks as I take on this new role as President/CEO. I, too, am listening, learning and planning how to best organize Southwest Initiative Foundation for future success.
I really enjoyed visiting with farmers and hearing how things are going in their areas. Our farmers have so much to think about–climate, land values, markets, the world around because of the global economy. They heard from experts in all these areas at the meetings. I know from my own experience that there’s so much information to wade through these days and these presenters really helped producers hone in on the most important forecasts and trends.
Many of the people we talked to are thinking beyond this year. A number of people I talked to have a sense they have been lucky with a few good years, and a few were wondering whether now is the time to think about retirement. We visited about what their plans are, including our Keep It Growing program as an option to consider. Many want their kids or other young farm families to get some help and take on the farm.
I was so inspired by the many young people attending! In Willmar, there were dozens of Ridgewater College students who were so fun to visit with. They were from all over Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota. These young men and women are part of the farm management program–some are excited to head back to their family farm, others want to get into ag-related careers like agronomy and soil and water conservation.
Thanks to all who attended the meetings this week and visited with us. We wish all of our farmers the best of luck as they kick off 2015!