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Making connections

FG Editor Lynn Olsen Published on 04 April 2011

The beginning of 2011 was a busy season of travel for me. Early in February, I attended the Mid-America Alfalfa Expo in cold, snowy Nebraska.

Mid-month brought a trip to sunny California for World Ag Expo. And the end of the month was a short trip from our home office to the Idaho Hay and Forage Association’s annual meeting.

While I confess I don’t particularly enjoy traveling, once I finally arrive at my destination I’m glad I made the effort.

I really enjoy putting names and faces together and hearing feedback about the magazine. I appreciate attending the meetings and learning from the presenters.

But perhaps the most important thing I get to do is make connections. These trips are a chance to visit face-to-face with people, from allied companies to producers.

I get to hear first-hand about things happening in the forage industry. And I get to visit with producers about their challenges and successes, interests and opportunities.

These conversations often lead to new story ideas for future issues or possible editorial contributions. I may discover a new technology or product to share. Or sometimes just meet a friendly face with an interesting tale to tell about their operation.

Other days when I spend more time in the office, I have the opportunity to make different kinds of connections. I might get an e-mail or phone call from a producer asking for more information on a particular topic.

Or I might reach out to an industry person for an update on the weather or hay prices in their region.

All of these connections are what I hope will make Progressive Forage Grower useful for you.

We want the material on these pages, in our e-newsletters and on our website to provide you with the things you need in your business, advertisements and editorial content alike. If we do that, we can consider ourselves successful.

In a similar vein, think about the connections you are making. Whether you are growing forage for your own animal operation or to sell to others, how are you interacting with the people and things around you?

Are you trying to discover what you might be able to learn from them? If you do not grow your own crops but instead work in another forage-related profession, there are certainly many opportunities to make connections, as well.

I encourage you to get actively involved with your local forage organizations. The people you will rub shoulders with bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.

Or if they are new to the industry, maybe you are the connection that can help them on their way to success.

Show appreciation for and utilize the university extension and other independent company resources available to you. The work they do is invaluable to help you produce high-quality forage.

Don’t forget to make connections in some maybe not-so-obvious places. Prepare yourself for the upcoming season by making a plan.

Walk your fields on a regular basis to be aware of potential problems before they become serious. Set goals for your operation this harvest year. And monitor your progress as time passes.

Pay attention to the growing conditions and markets in your area, but also in neighboring regions. If you will be selling your forage crops off-site, talk to your potential buyers to find out what they will be looking for.

If you offer a product or service, learn all you can about your clients to figure out how you can best help them.

The more connections you make and the more knowledge you have, the more likely you are to get where you would like to be.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Just ask a lot of questions beforehand to be as sure as you can that the decision you are making is the right one.

I wish you sunny spring skies and a successful 2011 season. Keep in touch and let me know how things are going because I, for one, look forward to making more connections this year!  FG

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Lynn Olsen
FG Editor

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