Looking over our calendars for the next few months, I see long lists of trade shows and meetings for producers across the country to take advantage of and participate in. It’s a busy time of year, and can be rejuvenating and overwhelming all at the same time.

Hendrix joy
Managing Editor / Progressive Forage

While this year I am taking my own advice from last month's column and savoring the moment, this also means I am missing out on most of these meetings this time of year.

As I scour the event agendas as an alternative, the terms “networking” and “roundtable discussion” are used over and over again. These are some of my favorite sessions to attend because of the diverse perspectives and challenges that producers tend to bring up in these sessions.

Hearing from others in a moderated and friendly environment can help us prepare ourselves for challenges to come and anticipate things that may become a bigger challenge in the near future. It’s easy for these hot topics to become argumentative and seem like there are multiple sides to the issue, but it’s important to remember that everyone in that session is there for the same reason: to better themselves, their operation and the industry as a whole.

The entire purpose of the term “roundtable” is to emphasize the idea that everyone has an equal right to participate and share their opinions. There are no right or wrong questions asked at these sessions, and the equal playing field is one to take advantage of.


Think of the people around this table as your team. While they may be your direct competitor or have a different business approach than you do, they are part of a team that has the same goal as you do. After all, just like you, they are spending their free time and hard-earned cash to attend events to help better themselves.

Henry Ford is credited with implementing the assembly line to his business. He preferred to refer to the assembly line as a method for effective teamwork, which led to more effective production.

With the idea of the assembly line came the saying from him: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success."

As we sit around the roundtables for the next few months, feel free to bring your best questions, your toughest problems and your greatest fears. We are all a team coming together at an equal venue to tackle these things together, and at the end of it, may we all begin the process of working together through learning together.