Keeping on their toes

by Kim Waalderbos

The winter season may keep farmers from tending their land – but it doesn’t keep them from learning and planning. For farmers, winter is prime season for catching up on reading, going over machinery, and attending meetings and shows. By the time the snow starts flying most farmers will have piled high a stack of farm newspapers and magazines to catch up on.

Farm magazines waiting for winter reading time

While it’s not the latest home decorating colours or unveiling the five pieces of clothing every wardrobe should have, these magazines are filled cover-to-cover with the latest information on new seed types, machinery, cropping techniques and technologies. It’s the farmer equivalent for what the tips and trends will be for the coming year.

In winter, farm shops will be busy with equipment to repair, polish, grease and fine tune before they’re needed to run long hours in the new cropping season. When the weather is ideal for field work, it sure contributes to having the best quality possible when the crop is planted, tended and harvested with equipment that’s running, literally, like a well-oiled machine.

While it’s not the local shopping mall, farmers have their very own spot to window shop – farm shows. Every year tradeshow halls and farm fields fill up with booths and tents showcasing the latest wares for farmers. If you can imagine it, the latest and greatest is likely on display including GPS systems, tractors, planters, wagons, feed bins – even farmer clothing.

The colder weather outdoors also drives more farmers indoors for meetings. Many crop and livestock organizations host their annual meetings, environmental farm plan workshops and others, as well as information days in winter months. Guest speakers, panel discussions, and open forums mean farmers get to share ideas, learn from each other and keep on their toes.

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