Hey friends, things have been a little crazy as Spring Break finally rolled around and gave me the chance to travel to the other side of the country for a little mini vacation and learning experience all in one. A couple of months ago, a good friend from school presented me with the opportunity to travel with her to San Antonio, Texas to attend the 2017 Commodity Classic Conference. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for her dad, he could not go and my friend was left with an extra ticket. The months passed slowly and before we knew it the week arrived. The day before we left was a whirlwind. Along with packing for the trip, I had to worry about packing for my spring break at home, clean the room out for the week we would be gone, take 2 tests in my toughest subjects, attend a meeting that would last until midnight and wake up for the airport at 3 am (the final decision made was that sleep was not a priority that night). Somehow I managed to do it all (even passing my math midterm with a 87) and we were off to Texas by 7 am.
Day 1: As soon as we arrived, we headed straight into the Convention Center. I’ve attended many farming conventions with my parents but I’ve still never seen one quite like this. Because my friend’s dad had won a record sorghum harvest yield with Pioneer Seed, we were treated like queens. Freebies overflowed our pockets and our bellies were always stuffed with AMAZING food. By the time 6 o’clock rolled around we were exhausted and ready for bed but we got dressed up anyway for the banquet dinner where we ended up attending a surprise VIP Montgomery gentry concert that was out of this world. As soon as the concert was over we booked it out and jumped right into bed eager to explore and attend lectures in the morning.
Day 2: Regardless of how tired I was, I ended up waking up with the sunrise and read outside on our 29th floor balcony overlooking the river walk. As soon as my friend woke up, 2 hours later, we headed down to the Conference Center for breakfast and the trade show. Over 200 booths were set up which made for a long day of walking around talking to different farmers (which lord knows I can do a lot of). It felt so good to be surrounded by people from all over the country who all had the same interest in agriculture that I do. I was able to network with hundreds of people as I learned MANY new tidbits of information that will all pile up to help me in my future (things as simple as how to reduce silkworms in a sweet corn crop and different sustainable agriculture grants funded by the government). After what seemed like an eternity, we had finally made our way to every single booth and our feet were about ready to fall off. We headed back to the hotel for a quick nap and then quickly headed out to soak up the little bit of sun left while we explored the beautiful city of San Antonio.
Day 3: Our final day brought a big rainstorm and one last day to soak up as much of the conference as we could. We started out our day trekking out to the Alamo regardless of the downfall of rain (thankfully it was only located less than a mile from the hotel). Because I’m Emily Jackson and I’ve always got to have a good story to tell, it’s only fitting that I wouldn’t have thought to bring my raincoat even when I saw the 100% chance of rain on the forecast. So there I was wondering around the city soaking wet from the rain, but that didn’t stop me from making the most of the day with a smile on my face. After we ran into a little gift shop and saw the ridiculous price for a little plastic rain poncho, a great idea came to me. I quickly ran to our maid in the hotel and made a homemade poncho out of two ginormous plastic trash bags by ripping a face hole on the front, so if you happened to be in Texas and saw two goobers running around in big trash bags it was probably me. The Alamo was beautiful (as expected) and within hours we ended right back at the trade show for a couple of lectures. A couple of my favorite workshops were about the benefit of GMO’s and the importance of women in agriculture. The GMO workshop gave me much information and a perspective that I believe is often misunderstood in today’s society and the women in Ag workshop was full of inspiration making me realize that my dream of farming is more achievable than ever.
Upon returning home on day 4 of my Spring Break, I had much to think about from my many experiences in San Antonio. With my family and the farm on my mind, the flight home couldn’t go any slower. But after what seemed like forever, I was finally home to finish out my spring break surrounded by a community that I love. It was so neat to sit around in the living room Sunday night sharing stories with my mom and dad as they shared their own insight when we looked over all of the conference materials together. We sat around for hours until we decided we needed to catch some sleep because the next morning would be full of blueberry planting and farm errands (That’s right, only a couple more months until our 200 new blueberry bushes will provide sweet summer goodness!).
Yes, my first college Spring Break was filled with lots of excitement, learning and of course labor on the farm! I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!!