I did not like speaking when I was a child, I was shy. But over the years I overcame that and spoke for 31 years as a public servant and now 7 years as a farmer. I have taught many FFA members how to speak publicly.
My first good chance at speaking was at my 8th grade graduation. I wrote up this good speech about the future and delivered it strongly. Dad was proud and people talked about it for weeks.
After my mission to China in '85, I was asked to talk about my experiences over 100 times. I learned to polish the speech and taylor it to the audience. Since the NoTill Innovator Award in 99 I have had many chances to improve my skills to try and help people.
I have been asked to speak on my farmer experiences at Plain City, Ohio, Minot, North Dakota, Des Moines, Iowa and Auckland New Zealand. It is a formidable schedule, one we work on all morning. I told them all you need a back up speak in winter in case I get snowed in and cannot get there on time. They all agreed.
Ohio wants me to teach fertility for cover crops, North Dakota wants to know how I increased wheat yields when I accidentally left radishes in the drill, Des Moines wants notill soybeans and has published a booklet on my work.
New Zealand is interested in how America gets the notill backing it has and how we can convince New Zealand farmers to reduce tillage when they don't need it. We helped host some of their farmers here two years ago.
I won't have to fire the woodstove for 6 weeks in winter!
I hope this is not the pinnacle of my farming and speaking career but it may well be.