As we head into March, a lot of you, myself included, are gearing up for the annual Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers convention. This will be my 17th one. I always have a lot of fun at these things. There are many clients and associates that I rarely get to see, and this convention provides the perfect opportunity to catch up.

I remember my first convention. I had grown up around cattle, and was familiar with life on a ranch, so I didn't expect to get too squeamish about anything the industry had to offer. But, that year, our booth was directly across from one of those cattle bander castration products. That in itself didn't bother me -- I know the process and the necessity of it. I'd even helped cut calves before. What bothered me was their presentation. They had a video on a loop of how the product worked, complete with a demonstration. After about the 30th time viewing it, I had to take a walk and consider if I should maybe look for work at a farming publication or something.

But I got over it, and I'm glad I did. This industry has been wonderful to work in, and I hope to go to many more conventions before I'm done.

For as many conventions as I have attended, I rarely am part of what the whole gathering is actually about. I spend all my time in the trade show area, and there is a whole world of learning going on just in the next room. Our writer, Robert Fears, has been to his share of conventions as well and in this month's cover story he shares some tips to get the most out from the meetings and lectures that go on beyond the trade room floor. If you were to ask me for tips, I would just say that you always should check all the snack stations first before you commit to a plate because sometimes they have different food at the different stations. Luckily, Fears has some more in-depth advice that he has gathered from some of the industry's experts.

In this issue we also have news from around the ag industry as well as information about upcoming events and sales. Hope you enjoy it and, as always, thanks for reading.

'Til next time,

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