Hello, all! It has been a while since I have posted a blog. About six weeks ago, I went back to school to earn a doctoral degree, so I have been quite busy trying to balance this new challenge in my life. I am on winter break now for a couple of weeks, so I have some free time to write a new blog!
Just before I started the program, Roy and I went to the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Conference in Denver. It was a new experience for me and I had a lot of questions for Roy as we were taking the 2 ½ hour drive to Denver. What is convention like? Who will be there? What are we going to do? How should I dress? I just did not know what to expect. I mean, what do I know about being a farmer and what can I bring to the table? Roy told me to just go with the flow and everything would be fine which made me feel a little better. Well, we finally got to the convention center for the two day event and looking back, we had an amazing time there. I am so glad we went and I am looking forward to many of the future events with the organization. We learned a lot of new things, met a lot of interesting people, and got to participate in some new experiences.
I found the first day to be the most interesting. There were a few speakers talking about their areas of expertise which were any number of topics such as cover crops, aquaponics, and how the school system is integrating local foods into their menus and the importance of doing so. I found Dr. Raj Khosla to be the most interesting. He was talking about adopting precision agriculture practices and technology to the farm. He is a professor at Colorado State University and was a dynamic speaker so I was captivated with what he had to say. Good thing Roy was there to fill in the blanks for me, though, because although there was a lot of content that I understood, I still had a few questions once he was finished speaking.
Once the speakers were finished, we were able to meet with them to do a little bit of networking. We made a lot of good contacts with several different businesses which is good for the future of the farm. In the past, it has been discussed to grow the farm with more land, but it was decided that we would do more with the land we have. These contacts that we made are so important to the future of Pfz Farms and there will be more about that in the future. Afterwards, we were invited to dinner at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club with the county officers of the Farmers Union chapters from across the region, Roy is the policy officer for the Phillips/Sedgwick county chapter. We sat at a table with a mushroom farmer from Steamboat Springs, a couple that are CSA farmers from the Western Slope, a very pregnant greenhouse farmer from Denver and an organic wheat farmer from Rifle. We had a great time learning about our new friends and we had a lot of laughs.
The next day there were more speakers, but more interesting was the session where we spoke about policy. The process of how this session was conducted was so interesting to me. Roy had done this before so he knew that this was going to be a focus during the convention, so he had a lot to bring to the table. He was up at the microphone often to give his input on the current policy of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. Each time anyone was up at the mic, they would have to introduce themselves and state the chapter they represent. Possibly the funniest line of the weekend was after he had been up at the mic for the 9th or 10th time, introduced himself, and said “Roy Pfaltzgraff, Phillips/Sedgwick County, and if you don’t know that by now, you’re not paying attention.” Everyone erupted in laughter. They found it hilarious, as did I. He made quite an impression on everyone because when it came time to vote for national policy representatives, he was one of the 12 people elected to go to National Farmers Union Convention in Kansas City, Missouri in March. I was very proud of him and I admire his passion and devotion to his vocation. He is a true inspiration to me, not just during the convention, but every day.
Later, we went to the Harvest Moon Gala. Everyone got dressed up after business was finished to have dinner, drinks, play games, and participate in a silent and live auction. We had a few items in both auctions including; eggs for a year, four brother chickens, a couple of gift baskets of wheat flour, peas, and pea flour, and a quilt – all of which sold to help out the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union Foundation. The foundation supports the educational programs of the Farmer’s Union. We had a great time with our new friends, watching people play the games, and we had a good meal, too!
All in all, it was a great experience. I learned a lot and we made a lot of great connections to help move forward with the mission and vision of Pfz Farms. It was another step towards learning more about farming as I transition from City Girl to Country Gal! Till next time … I hope you all have an amazing 2018. I know I will.