I traveled to Washington, D.C. this past week. It was really the first time I had traveled in more than a year, and it was the first time I had taken a plane since the pandemic hit us over a year ago. I have had both of my shots so I am fully vaccinated, but I must say I had a little trepidation about traveling. The mask mandate was still in full force in the airports and on the planes, and it was followed by nearly everyone at the airport and everyone on the plane.

When we arrived in D.C., we could go without them outside, but they were required indoors. Was it like traveling before we were told to stay at home? No — it was different. But there was an air of the idea that things were getting more back to normal. Now you could argue about what normal is in terms of D.C., and I would probably not argue back, but it was good to get closer to life pre-pandemic.

We are doing the same thing at Kansas Farm Bureau. Staff is back in the office in Manhattan, meetings are being planned and held in-person, and I think we are all very relieved about that. Zoom meetings are good in some instances, but they can never replace face-to-face meetings for effectiveness. I hope you saw the announcement about our Big Tent Reunion starting June 1 around the state, and I hope you plan on attending the one closest to you. The meetings are planned as a way for all of us to reconnect and enjoy just being in the presence of fellow farmers and ranchers. No strings, no business to conduct, just spending time with old friends.

Word is also getting out about the Summer Summit and Young Farmers and Ranchers conferences in Manhattan the last week in July. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to those events and seeing even more friends from around the state, attending great workshops and, most importantly, getting back to normal. I have had that week highlighted on my calendar for a long time. There was a time I was afraid it would not happen, but I am here to tell you it is full-steam ahead. To register or learn more about all the events planned this summer, visit www.kfb.org. Or if you are technologically challenged like me, call your county office.

Watch for the announcement of more meetings because they are coming as we start to ramp up and catch up from all we have missed over the last year. I know I cannot wait to get back to normal. Who thought we would miss shaking hands so much? It’s time to come out of the darkness that was the past year and enjoy a breath of fresh air, and that is literal because we will not have to breathe through a mask. Life is good, and it is about to get better.