Editorial by Carole Knight

So, last week I traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana for the 104th NACAA Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference.  This year marks the 4th AM/PIC that I have attended and each year I learn more and more.  Not only is it a super professional experience (Dossier material!) but it is just plain fun! I enjoy getting to visit, outside of an official UGA function, with my colleges and extension friends.  I briefly wanted to share a short story from my trip.

I overheard a very interesting conversation on the airport shuttle ride on my way back home and I felt compelled to share.  As the group from the Courtyard Marriott loaded up in the hotel shuttle, I quickly surveyed the group of 7. I’d say all but probably one of us were agents travelling home from the AM/PIC.  Like many shuttle drivers do, the gentleman driving struck up a conversation with his passengers.  He asked if we were part of the conference that had been happening at the Grand Wayne Center.  Yes, we answered.  The driver was retired from a job in business and was a self-proclaimed city-kid.  He thanked us for coming to Fort Wayne and exclaimed that he had learned so much from just driving folks back and forth to airport and visiting in the hotel lobby.  He was astounded at all the agricultural information that he had gained from just casually visiting with agents.  On our shuttle alone there were agents from Washington, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri and Georgia.  And although we were all from different ends of the country, we all spoke the same “language”.   The driver explained that he had learned about the scientific side of the controversy over Round-Up and what losing it would mean to ag, learned what a GMO was all about, talked tariffs and commodity pricing, and about crops in other part of the country.  Just on our short 20 minute shuttle drive, we learned of a new apple variety coming out of Washington called “Cosmic Crisp” that’s supposed to be outstanding.

Although this driver had not come to one of our programs or called to ask us a question, we had made an impact on his life.  He exclaimed,”You guys have so much knowledge that normal people don’t have access to.  You need to share that with the world.”  It was a heart-warming shuttle ride that left me excited and ready to get back to work.


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