By Katie Knapp
“Go See. Go Listen. Go Understand. Go Learn. Go Communicate.” Alltech’s VP, Mathew Smith, used these words to start the IFAJ Young Leaders and Master Class Boot Camp this summer prior to the IFAJ Congress in The Netherlands.
His five commands synthesized the reason these events exist and why I hope to continue participating…and why you should, too!
Go See. We visited several farms across the country, which grow everything from commodity crops, dairy, and produce to fish and flowers. Some farms are on land reclaimed from the sea not even a century ago. Some are under glass. And some are using robots.
Go Listen. We heard from agricultural experts and researchers about Dutch culture and history. They told us about the advances they are making for the whole industry to improve. And they told us specifics about crops not common in our home areas.
Go Understand. We heard farmers’ unique stories about how they raise their crops and animals, what matters to them, what worries them and how they see themselves fitting into the global economy.
Go Learn. There was something to learn every moment of every day of this trip. Sometimes it was in a classroom and presented over PowerPoint. And other times it was in the field, seeing how other journalist question a farmer or frame up the crop.
Go Communicate. One of the most valuable parts of IFAJ’s Boot Camp and Congress is the part that doesn’t show up on the agendas. It is the relationships and network you build with the other attendees. You bond over a shared affinity for agricultural communication and grow because of your differences. The challenge is to take that and run with it for the rest of the year.
Thank you to the AAEA PIF and Alltech for making this experience possible for me.