Thoughts from the WV Farm Conference

“Get on the train” was how one young man said it… while recounting a recent adventure with other FFA {Future Farmers of America} students in Tokyo. “Sometimes we need a push to get going in the right direction, because otherwise we’ll miss out on opportunities to do great things…”

IMG_9195Farming is not an easy thing to pick up today and do tomorrow. It’s not a dream that puts money in pockets just because seeds are sown. There are weather conditions, and soil conditions, and planting deadlines… there is care required, and sacrifice, and knowledge, and labor. The first step is the hardest, because it means committing to the unknown. It means having faith in what I cannot see… it means saying, “I’ll do this, and pray for the desired outcome…”

The WV Farm Conference was inspirational and educational in many ways. The farming spirit was very evident throughout the weekend, as I observed the 500+ people who attended, and listened to dozens of speakers share on topics near and dear to their hearts.

We had the privilege of visiting with some dear friends at the start and end of the conference {one of their sons actually attended the conference and we stayed with his grandmother during the conference days}, and enjoyed having our friend Andrew along {who lives in our area and attends church with us}. Andrew tells incredible stories and jokes, and has unique talents such as the ability to yodel, imitate almost any accent… and make anyone laugh!

IMG_9167On the first night of the conference, there was a winter farm market held at the event, which our group participated in. Our friends baked bread and brought honey from their beehives to sell, and did very well! Somewhere around 7,000 people came to buy from the 50+ vendors, and over $26,000 were brought in through the entire market in 4 hours! It was neat seeing all the different products from various farms and vendors, and also having the opportunity to help the Staddons sell their products!

Throughout the weekend, I learned about fruit trees {pruning, caring for diseases, pest management, and production}, vegetables {selling to schools, choosing crops, crop rotation, weed management, pesticides, organic standards, and farm markets…}, livestock, fruit and vegetable drying, building a successful business, electrical fencing, maple syrup, marketing, selling, and much more…

We enjoyed farm fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, and nuts…all provided by local farmers for lunch and dinner at the conference!

961af0b9d6a708a387a5528d919b128cWe heard messages over the mealtimes encouraging us to press on in farming, and to pass on a legacy and vision to our generations to come… and  heard firsthand from many farmers providing products to the schools and businesses in the area, as well as farm markets.

Overall, it was a great week, and one that I’ll remember for a long time. I’m grateful for all the things I learned that I look forward to applying here “on the farm” as we grow and expand. I’m blessed by the memories made with family and friends! I’m reminded that “the better way” is a road less traveled; that it requires work and determination and diligence; that is not always easy or simple. But it is soooooo worth it!

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