Conference shenanigans

Thank goodness we’ve eventually come to the end of the 2014 congress season.

It was a long stretch this year – starting in March with the Grain SA congress and coming to an end last week with the national Milk Producers congress.

Each year I look back at the series of congresses and wonder what they actually achieved. And 2014 left me at a loss for words regarding the standard of some of the congresses. I simply do not know why certain organised agriculture bodies even bother having a congress.

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But before I come across as being perpetually negative, I must agree that the bar was raised significantly at some of the congresses. Maar ag tog, my Boet, it seems that some organised agri structures remain in the previous century. What, for instance, is the purpose of allocating two and a half hours to welcoming guests and messages of goodwill from all and sundry?

READ MORE: Grain SA vs Agri SA

Time is money. Cutting down on these unnecessary and utterly boring niceties could very well mean a one-day instead of a two-day event. Boet, I’m not exaggerating – it really took two and a half hours to get past the welcomes and greetings. Everybody except the resident feral cat was extensively welcomed.

I would have thought that our agri leaders have by now moved beyond the seemingly uncontrollable urge to intersperse their presentations with poor attempts of telling jokes. Ag nee Meneer die President! Your job is to inform and enlighten the delegates. Please take it from me, you are not responsible for entertainment as well.

I plead with our leaders and invited speakers at the congresses – refrain from telling poor and often offensive jokes. It tarnishes the image of our farming fraternity.

READ MORE: Are you a snollygoster?

I’m no prude, but I was astonished by the amount of swearing at one of the congresses I recently attended. The dreaded
F-word was used by one of the speakers left, right and centre, as my Oupa used to say. Such conduct smacks of disrespect for the audience, in my opinion. I can’t imagine that anyone from, say, the business sector would use such profane language at a public event. This cannot be allowed if agriculture wants to portray itself as a professional industry.

Our agricultural producers are highly acclaimed world-wide. They should be represented with respect and in a professional manner. It is the right thing to do.

Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.