I got into Nashville late Thursday night/early Friday morning. Friday morning I headed over to the Gaylord Opryland complex. Wow, what a facility. There was probably five acres or more of glass roofing and it felt like a 10 minute walk from my car to the convention center.
I was able to attend the last part of the speech by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. There appeared to be at least 3,000 people in attendance and I think I heard that over 5,000 were signed up for the Classic.
The Trade Show had more than 100 booths and I was able to walk around most of it on Friday and early Saturday, but I must admit that I did not get to every booth. It was nice to see several farmers that I had met over the last couple of years and get caught up with what was going on with their farm operation.
Friday afternoon I attended the learning sessions and midway through the third session, I had noticed some noise on top of the ceiling and about 2 minutes later, a guy walked in and told us there was a tornado warning and we needed to evacuate to the basement. We headed down to the basement and there probably were about 1,000 people in the basement area where I was. I had downloaded an app to my IPhone and was able to watch the cell pass over our location and get real time weather updates.
After about an hour, the warning was over and we were able to go back to normal, however, by that time, the day was over.
On Saturday, my partner Nick Houle gave a two hour seminar on the Top 10 (there were 11 though) mistakes that farmer’s make in estate planning. Nick and I had met up the night before and we discussed that attendance might be on the low side since this was the last seminar of the event and many people had already left. We were wrong. The attendance ended up being almost SRO (standing room only) and many great questions were asked and I think Nick and I answered them all.
All in all, the Commodity Classic is a great event for any farmer to attend and I look forward to going next year.
Being a farm boy from Washington state, we never had tornados and although the warning was interesting and nobody got hurt in our area, I would be happy never to be part of another one.