Whew! That's seriously the name of it. I couldn't even find a way to shorten it. Basically, the organizations used to all have their own meetings, then they joined forces and decided it'd be better to work together and meet in the same place.
Kris and I served as the Young Cooperator Chaircouple, which meant we represented the young people, helped run the YC meeting, and got to make
Things I learned:
- I met a cute couple that actually met as a result of FarmersOnly.com. She was a way better commercial for it than the one currently running. She said, "I was so sick of city boys! They tried to help me bale and milk, but it wasn't their thing."
- A girl told us her husband was so serious about their steers looking good for the fair (you win awards and then sell them) that they keep them in an air conditioned pen in the summer so that their hair stays long and thick. (Normally their hair thins in the summer.) But by keeping it cool - which is what cattle prefer - they can trim their long hair to better emphasize their shape and hide any defects. Kris said, "Do you even have air conditioning in your house?" She said, "NO!"
- I found two speakers particularly inspirational. Bruce Vincent is a logger who spoke on how farmers have to fight the people trying to put us out of business - because his industry lost their social license. I also liked Will Gilmer, who talked about ways we can engage people. He also mentioned that he has the only dairy in his county. Kris and I laughed. We have so many in our county. It reminded me of how when I went to college everyone was so surprised and interested that I grew up on a dairy farm ... but you don't think of it as different when you have several dairies not just near you, but right on your same road.
- I tried Google Glass. In case you didn't know that the dairy industry was on the cutting edge of technology.
- Wow, these people are fun. The YCs (young cooperators) had social events and one ended in a dance party. Then the final night James Wesley played and the people - young and old - had a giant dance party! Sometimes people never dance at these, but Julie the party-starter made sure everyone did. (That's not her job. She's a wonderfully fun girl from Iowa. She and her husband have a dairy farm and she's also a stylist. She fractured her arm before she came but it didn't stop her from dancing, going down water slides, or using it to take pictures.)
- We have really great partners. Taco Bell, McDonald's, Dominos, Quaker Oats - all use tons of dairy and seem very interested in being in business with us. McDonald's even made us this little video:
I couldn't have had a better time. Our duties in that year-long position are finished now. Back to farming, blogging, and having dance parties with my three little boys.