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'Tis the season

By Holly Martin

It's that time of year again. The time of year when the editorial offices of High Plains Journal are nearly vacant and our vehicles are headed down the highways--but not to visit family and eat ourselves silly. It's meeting season.

Scores of commodity and producer organizations are holding their annual meetings in the next few weeks in every state of our coverage area.

When I was a child, I never minded "meeting season." My parents went to Kansas City for a co-op board meeting for the weekend. My brother, sister and I stayed with my grandparents and my grandma would make me green bean casserole, because it was my favorite. I would sit on my grandpa's lap as I "drove" to Dairy Queen, steering the clear steering wheel on his black Mercury. We watched Lawrence Welk and I slept in my Holly Hobbie sleeping bag in the living room. But the best part was that my mom went Christmas shopping in the big city while my dad attended meetings. I remember daydreaming about what was going to be under the tree in a few weeks.

Of course then I didn't know anything about the purpose of the trip. My priorities were a little different.

Oh, I'm sure there was some fun to be had at those meetings, but still, those farmers gathered were there for a purpose. The same is true today as farmers and ranchers across the High Plains and Midwest gather to discuss important topics in the agriculture industry.

Organizations make a difference. Period. When you belong--and become involved--you have a voice. It's a voice stronger than your own.

The outcome of the meetings is important because it molds the policy of the organization and helps determine how the group will work with consumers, legislators and other organizations. The process of achieving that outcome is critical. I've witnessed discussions during committee meetings, where men and women debate, listen to their peers and then arrive at a conclusion that achieves the best results for all. I've seen people change their minds after looking at the issue through someone else's eyes. I've seen people so passionate about their beliefs the electricity in the room can be felt.

But the part I love most about those meetings is the fellowship to be gained by connecting with people who have similar challenges and joys. There is something to be said associating with the best in the business. It makes you aspire to do more and do better--personally and professionally.

If you aren't a member of a producer organization, join. Even if you have only a few hours, attend. And above all, engage.

I promise when you get home, you will have gained more than kids spoiled by their grandparents.

Holly Martin can be reached by phone at 1-800-452-7171 ext. 1806, or by email at

Date: 12/03/2012


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