Everyone has always told me that every day you learn something new. You are always learning. Whether you are 85 or 5 we are learning something new each day. I have learned this to be true, but that could possibly be because I am currently a student paying for my college education and attending daily courses with a full schedule to learn every day. However, I believe even if I was not at college I would still be learning something new each day. Farmers are always learning new things, trying to stay up with new technology and advances. Even though I firmly believe that most farmers are also some of the most stubborn individuals who dislike a lot of change, they are still always learning new ways to do things to become more efficient. Some things are as easy as watching a neighbor use a new tool to make a hard job less labor-intensive. Other ways are more educational based such as new software, attending farm shows, or yearly pesticide/chemical applicator’s license class.
At college, I have learned to become involved in everything that interests you. I am a member of many clubs, and hold officer positions in most, and I have learned just as much by being a member in these organizations as I have in any classroom. We learn from each other. The more people we know, the more we learn about other farming operations. Just like our local farmers are members of many organizations as well such as Farm Bureau, local commodity groups, fair board, school board, you name it. Farmers are well-represented in our communities. It is so important to become involved, learn from others, and make a difference.
My memberships on campus with the Collegiate Cattlemen, Ag Communicators of Tomorrow, Swine Production Advocates, Iowa Soybean Association SOY squad, and Iowa Corn Association collegiate advisory team have helped me meet some of my best friends. I have had many great adventures traveling with these groups as well. Over Thanksgiving break, I helped plan our 5-day Collegiate Cattlemen adventure to Denver, Colorado touring numerous diverse operations from Buffalo ranches to 100,000 head feedlots. My older brothers got a laugh out of me planning this trip for our group. I told them I was in charge and I even had to drive the Iowa State suburban through the mountains pulling a trailer. That’s when they really laughed! I reassured them I even had to take a driving test on campus to become trailer certified. It didn’t impress my brothers as they still laughed and said I have no experience pulling an enclosed trailer. That’s when I laughed. They never asked me in the past if I was certified to haul their corn head or large grain platform. They just expected me to hurry up, hook it up, and join their parade to the next farm. The grain head alone is as long as most semi-trailers. Needless to say, I got along perfectly fine hauling a small trailer with luggage through the mountains behind a full Suburban on our trip. New adventures with new friends is what learning something new is all about. I hope we all continue to learn more each and every day! ~ Kesley Holdgrafer