The mission of the Maryland Cattlemen's Association is to foster profitability, sustainability and stewardship across the Maryland beef industry through producer education, beef promotion and political action.
Let me start off this newsletter with an apology to all our members, and especially to those who were anticipating a summer (and then fall) field day.
As you know, in 2017 the MCA board decided, after 30 years of conventions, to try something a little different to better meet the needs of our members. We had seen declining participation in our annual convention for the last several years along with increased cost and declining sponsorship support at several levels. The thought was to put together a large summer field day activity (targeted time-wise to a date between first and second-cutting hay) in the central Maryland area complete with educational sessions, great food, an annual membership meeting, and a chance to tour a local beef cattle operation.
Hedgeapple Farm in Buckeystown agreed to host the 2018 field day and share in the costs to help keep the registration fee as low as possible. Plans were in place, speakers were booked, registration materials were prepared and mailed and excitement was growing. Then, the wheels came off as the rain fell, and fell, and fell! Folks seemed unwilling to commit to registration, caught between a rock and wet place with field work and farming schedules. As the June date approached and registration was abysmal, the MCA board, in consultation with the folks at Hedgeapple, decided to cancel and reschedule for a fall date (October).
I had a difficult time rescheduling all the speakers who were lined-up for June but with a few adjustments, we did get enough committed to make it work for October. But again, the weather went south. Hedgeapple Farm experienced unprecedented flooding across all the lower fields that border the Monocacy River, pastures were a mess, and hay production stalled again. Preparing for a field day was just not feasible again. In the end, our members and guests were left without a highly anticipated field day activity for which I am deeply sorry. I look forward to a re-boot for 2019 and have several things to share in this newsletter that should generate some excitement and provide some excellent educational opportunities.