It is fair time! Central States Fair, South Dakota State Fair, County Fairs, Dakotafest and local ag appreciation days are just a few of the farm/ranch related activities happening this time of year. If you haven't attended at least one of these, I would encourage you to do so. Not only are they a good reason to take the day off and go to town, they can have excellent educational opportunities that come with them.
I have attended a few cattle shows on the western side of the state this year. During these shows I was able to talk to many ranchers from different areas. We talked about the rain totals this past summer, hay production, cattle out in the pasture and how the crops were doing. By networking I learned about which areas had health issues with cattle, the condition of the cattle and the feed supply for the winter to come. It was also great to see the new genetics that the breeders were offering so that I could view in person what pedigrees I will be looking for during the spring bull sales. I also recently attended the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage Insurance presentation at Cammack's Ranchers Roundup and found it to be very informative.
Many of us sometimes think that the fairs are only a time where we walk around and look at all the new equipment we wish we had, but it is also a great time to sit in on an educational seminar that often is free of charge and geared toward livestock and crop producers. In today's ever-changing world of technology and genetics, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to expand our knowledge and improve our operations. If you get a chance, please attend an informational meeting in your area. Robert E. Lee said, The education of a man is never completed until he dies. Let's do what we can to keep our education on the right track and turn it into a more profitable operation. Contact the South Dakota Center for Farm Ranch Management at 1-800-684-1969 or David Koupal at (605) 995-7193 or email David.Koupal@mitchelltech.edu.