Women across the Northwest can learn how to run resilient farms and businesses while enhancing their own health at the 2020 Women in Agriculture Conference, organized by Washington State University Extension.

The event is Saturday, Jan. 25, at 32 locations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii. Designed for women who are farming, as well as new and aspiring farmers, the conference also welcomes business owners, supporting spouses, students, and interns.

This year’s conference, “Healthy Farms,” helps attendees learn how to cultivate personal resiliency, handling the ‘ups and downs’ of careers in agriculture.

“It’s no secret that things can be tough for farmers,” said Margaret Viebrock, director of WSU Douglas and Chelan County Extension and chairwoman of the annual conference. “Stress in farming has always existed, but levels soar during times of high costs and low returns.”

Speakers and discussions will help motivate women to develop a self-care plan and realize the connection between a healthy person and a healthy farm.

Each location will have a local panel of women farmers who will explain how they developed plans to deal with day-to-day events and make mindful decisions for success in farming.

Presented via distance technology at all locations, headline speakers include Brenda Mack, a third generation Minnesota farmer who is also a behavior and wellness professor with Bemidji State University; and Shauna Reitmeier, also a third-generation farmer who specializes in behavioral health at Minnesota’s Northwest Mental Health Center. Together, they will help women farmers strengthen their personal healthcare to reduce the effects of stress, worry, and exhaustion.

Closeup of Margaret Viebrock.
Margaret Viebrock, director of WSU Douglas and Chelan County Extension and chairwoman of the annual conference.

Colorado State University Extension educator Sue Schneider will teach women how to make mindful farming and personal decisions. Gabrielle McNally, representing the Women for the Land: American Farmland Trust’s Initiative, will explain how this program engages women farmers in conservation, farmland preservation, and land access.

Last year, nearly 500 women attended the Women in Agriculture Conference.

“Many attendees say this is the best conference for women producers, because it presents practical information they can use right away,” Viebrock said.

Admission is $35 ($30 before Jan. 18) and includes the workshop, light breakfast, lunch, and conference materials.

Persons requiring special accommodations may contact Viebrock at 509‑745‑8531 or by email at viebrock@wsu.edu

Visit the conference website at www.womeninag.wsu.edu for details about locations, schedule, and registration.

Media contact:

  • Margaret Viebrock, Washington State University Extension, 509‑745‑8531, viebrock@wsu.edu