Written by B. Lynn Gordon (former SDSU Extension Agricultural Leadership Specialist).
The remarkable growth in technology and implementation of new agricultural practices means that to stay ahead of the curve, one must become an active learner. Recent events like Dakotafest, held August 16-18th near Mitchell, SD are excellent opportunities to visit with leaders from South Dakota agricultural companies and organizations representing them from state, national and even more global levels.
Dakotafest & Active Learning
Taking the time to be an active learner and view new technologies first-hand, ask questions of experts from the latest in seed technologies, planting equipment to animal health treatments, shows your willingness to learn and gain knowledge in your area of livelihood — Agriculture. From an event like Dakotafest, you can walk away with lots of new ideas, some you will mull over implementing for a year or two; or maybe you received an answer to a specific question you were struggling with and now you have the solution. Think of what this solution can do to the bottom line of your operation.
SDSU Extension was just one exhibitor at Dakotafest along with 540 additional ones. This allowed agricultural producers to take the lead and be active learners for the day. Active learning starts with you and the initiative you take to enhance your knowledge base and broaden your perspective; by actively engaging in a hands-on learning opportunity.
If you were unable to make the trip to Dakotafest this year, I encourage you to set the goal for next year, or mark another active learning opportunity on your calendar. Building your capacity to be an active learner starts with developing a growth mindset, and you will be amazed over time how these growth mindset opportunities of learning will impact you, your operation and your impact on Agriculture.
Active Learning Benefits
You may want to master a certain skill for your agricultural operation, and sometimes in the case of agricultural farm shows you are broadening an overall skillset. Research has shown however a strong correlation between being an active learner and leadership effectiveness. In the future, if you haven’t already been asked to serve on an agricultural or community board, the early steps you have taken to be an active learner — are your willingness to learn. You benefit when you serve, not to mention how active learning continues to enhance you individually, and your own personal farm or ranching operation.