When your best friends are your competitors

Joe is talking to some LED light salesman.  Just around the corner, my brother’s co-worker is trying to make the next construction sale.  Neighbors are comparing the latest cow brushes.   This can only mean one thing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota — it’s the Central Plains Dairy Expo. 

It is really strange within the business of taking care of cows, that your best friends are your competitors. Everybody is in the business of producing milk; everybody is trying to be better than the next guy.  We all can glean information not only from salespeople, but more importantly from a fellow farmer.   There is nothing more convincing for a farmer than having a fellow farmer endorse a product.  It’s just an interesting dynamic.

And the event is BIG!

If I had been working this booth, I would have been wearing sunglasses.

It always starts on a Tuesday night with a country concert.  This year it featured Craig Morgan.  Free food and a free concert = people show up.


I’m not sure why my phone camera thought this should be red.


We may have pretended we were 22 and left our seats to get a bit closer.


All these dairy farmers get together– someone is going to try to get their boot signed.

Then, early the next morning we began with a Prayer Breakfast.  It is certainly a feature of the show.  The music was by House of Aaron out of Mountain Lake, MN.  Wow!!  They were inspiring to say the very least.  The keynote speaker of the event related his work within the poultry side of things and using his business to do mission work in Africa.  

The trade show went on all day with various break-out sessions.  Most people went out to eat last night in groups hosted by various companies and enjoyed some time to visit. Most of us laughed way too late into the night. Joe and I remembered this morning that we definitely aren’t 22 any more. 

Nearly every year, we have brought our kids.  This year, Joe’s Aunt Sue was coming to town anyway, and we decided to take in the event today without them.  Joe was back home most of the day yesterday and took Violet farming in the morning so I could attend the Prayer Breakfast.   Lots of coordinating but totally worth it. Today, visiting with all the vendors is more important than usual as we have a big building project this summer and need to make some decisions regarding all the different parts. 


Lots of machines and equipment here. This is a machine that some dairies are starting to use to suck up manure instead of pushing it out with a skidloader.


Tons of robotics…this one milks cows! On the very bottom left , you can see one that pushes feed up to the cows.



Of course, free milk! We picked up a few selfie sticks too — what every farmer needs.


Joe talking with construction manager from Hoksbergen Construction.


Photo prop fun with the free selfie stick. Joe must really love me that he allowed me to do this to him. #cpde2016

We had a blast and learned so much that our heads are spinning. Dairy farmers are such a passionate group of people and LOVE to connect with others about what is going on in their barns and their homes. I was often in tears as so many people asked me how Ava’s arm is doing.  Here’s the scoop:

She’s making progress!  Her only movements so far are really just shoulder things.  She can HUG WITH BOTH ARMS in a way if she is willing to show off.  That is a joy to see!!  We are 8 months post-surgery and the hope was for some elbow function to occur around 9 months.  So please pray for that.  An inch a month with nerve growth can seem so very slow but we just take things a day at a time.  I am really realizing now that I need to do an entire post on just what her therapy is like so that will be coming soon.   

Hope you enjoyed the photos!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s