At the end of the day we understand, it's all about the cows. Because of that, most producers find it difficult to take off a few days to leave a farm that continues to run while they're away. And because we understand that, why would we continue to put on a conference year after year?
We visit with and talk on the phone to producers every day who discuss the details of their operations with us. The one thing we hear over and over again is that producers are always exploring all options to be better and produce more, to benefit their business and the people they depend on every day. The one thing we know is that we are in an industry that is always improving and with that comes opportunities for a lot of education. We put on these conferences for just that reason. The producers we know are so busy with the day to day. The conferences provide avenues of quick learning to stimulate thoughts of how the future of your business can go.
Ladd Muirbrook, our Senior Account Executive said, "I often get asked for training on our herd and feed management tools. This conference is one of the best training opportunities we provide. You get the benefit of getting trained by our staff of professionals who know how the software tools work and how to help you get the most from them on your operation. Networking with industry professionals and other dairy producers helps as well. Hearing how others use the tools is an excellent way to spark new thought to take back home. Come and get this training!"
That said, here is what we work hard to do each year:
We provide keynote speakers that are either industry leaders with an important message to help drive production, or producers who are doing something well that everyone else would benefit from hearing. It has been said that it takes hundreds or even thousands of hours to become an expert in one topic. In dairy farming, there are several related but completely different areas to become experts in. By learning from others who have already achieved that expertise, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to become proficient in any given area.
In addition to that, sometimes the way we've done things in the past isn't always the best way to do it. Learning from others who have discovered a different way of doing things shifts thoughts and old patterns - and that leads to innovative growth.
When we develop our software, we are continually staying focused on the needs of our clients and future trends that will affect the way they do business. Because of that, there are continual updates to the software and sometimes even shifts in best practices. In addition, we know just like any business, there is a certain amount of employee turnover.
By providing ongoing training in the basics of our software, as well as updates and practices to improve business, we address the communication gap. When we say communication gap, we're talking about the gap that is created as we continue to develop and our clients continue to work at their business day after day. Focused training gives us both a chance to work together and improve business.
Our goal is to provide relevant information that you can take back to the farm and implement today. To do that, we bring the majority of our staff to ensure we can work one-on-one with our clients. This also ensures that focused training happens, because the experts are all at the conference. In other words, we also take the time off work to prioritize the ability of our clients to be trained.
Who doesn't like to take the opportunity to get to know and meet new people who work in the same industry? There is an incredible amount of sharing, learning, and leveraging that can happen. The conference atmosphere provides this opportunity, and we build in time for producers and industry experts to get to know one another.
Sending someone to a conference is great, but to truly make it valuable, they've got to bring it back and share it with the people who didn't get to go to the conference. We recommend sending people who will not only benefit from the information, but who will stay present, engaged, and actively participate. We provide materials and access to presentations so they can take them back and share.
And Finally . . .
It may or may not be a surprise to you, but these conferences cost a lot more than the registration money we collect. We feel like it's so important to provide a conference that everyone can come together and benefit from. We work hard to get an excellent price on the hotel and pay for our staff to all be there at the same time. To subsidize our attendee's tickets, we reach out to vendors who provide amazing services to enrich business, and they help by paying for some of the conference as well. You can say we put our money where our mouth is—it's important to us!
Do you support and enable your employees to attend conferences? What's your biggest motivator?