By Kate Wilhite, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences
PULLMAN, Wash. – Women in Washington, Oregon and Idaho will gain practical advice for improving farm management skills and networking with other women producers at the 2014 Women in Agriculture Conference to be held at 28 locations on Saturday, March 15.
The conference is designed for women who have been farming for years as well as for new and aspiring farmers.
The keynote address will be broadcast to all 28 conference locations; find them at http://womeninag.wsu.edu/wa-locations/. In addition, each location will feature three local women producers who will share their experiences.
The registration fee is $25 before March 1 and $30 after. Registration includes the workshop, light breakfast, lunch, handouts and a book. To learn more and register, visit http://www.womeninag.wsu.edu.
“Women are uniquely tasked with the demands of both farm and family, which can make travel to one state location a challenge,” said WSU Douglas County Extension director and chair of the conference Margaret Viebrock. “The format of this conference enables us to offer our headline speaker at all locations while also tailoring the conference content for each region.”
This year’s event, “Change Happens: Make It An Opportunity,” will cover topics including farm business decision-making, using financial records to improve the bottom line and problem solving for change.
“Last year nearly 500 women attended,” said Viebrock. “Many attendees reported it was one of the best conferences for women producers because it presents practical information they can use right away for handling their finances, communicating with other businesses, networking with other women and improving their business operations.”
This year’s keynote speaker, Heather Darby, is a seventh-generation owner of the 200-year-old Darby Farm (http://www.darbyfarm.com/The_Darby_Farm/Welcome.html) in the Lake Champlain Islands near Alburgh, Vt. She will share her strategies for success of the 130-acre diversified farm, which produces a wide array of vegetables and fruit. It includes a small apiary, CSA program and farm stand and operates a custom grazing service for local organic dairies.
Darby will discuss how change has been a constant in her operation and has presented her with opportunities related to financial issues, organizational management, employees, starting a family and handling risk management issues related to weather, prices and work-life balance.
Margaret Viebrock, WSU Extension, 509-745-8531, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Wilhite, WSU CAHNRS Communications, 509-335-8164, email@example.com