Before the chaos of spring planting and calving goes into full swing, ag women from around the area will have the opportunity to brush up on farm business and management skills as well as gain new information at a brand-new conference dedicated to women's continued involvement in agriculture.
Feeding off of the success of Annie's Project, an all-female workshop series dedicated to educating and enhancing the presence of women in agriculture, the new conference takes off where Annie's ended.
"Since the beginning of Annie's, we've always heard the women say 'we need more, where do we go for more information?' so last year we sent out a statewide survey to Annie's participants to find out what else we could do," said Emily Tescher-Johnston, livestock agent for the Ward County Extension Service.
What developed is the first-ever Strengthening Our Way of Life conference, which will be held in Jamestown and Minot in early March. Using information gained from the survey, organizers will focus on farm recordkeeping, marketing and farm family communication.
Like Annie's, the conference is reserved for women-only, but spouses and significant others will be invited to attend the inaugural dinner, which will feature keynote speaker Ron Hanson, a professor of agribusiness at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.
"Hanson's message will be geared to couples involved in farm transitions or with generational challenges, so we're going to let the men register for that session," Tescher-Johnston said.
What: Ag womens conference
Where: Grand International
When: March 3 and 4
Cost: $85, which covers all materials, sessions and meals
Other information: Registration deadline is Feb. 23; late registration is $100; Spouses who plan to attend the dinner may register for $35. For more information or to register, go to (www.ag.ndsu.edu/anniesproject) or call the Ward County Extension office at 857-6444.
Hanson, who has received the USDA Excellence in University Teaching Award from the USDA the highest national teaching honor granted to college professors in the fields of agricultural and food sciences has been counseling Nebraska farm families to improve family relations through better communication for more than 30 years.
His two presentations at the conference will focus on the unique challenges farm families experience in terms of generational dynamics as well as the importance of personal relationships when working in a family owned business operation.
Breakout sessions led by experts in various agricultural fields will enable women to focus on their particular interests throughout the two-day conference.
Morning sessions will focus on marketing techniques and will include speakers such as Walt Hackney, author of the "Talkin' Livestock" column who will take a grass roots approach to marketing. Going one step further, Frayne Olson, NDSU crop marketing specialist, will discuss using the right marketing tools at the right time.
The afternoon sessions will shift to recordkeeping and money management as Jocelyn McCarthy, a financial adviser from Waddell and Reed Financial will discuss family finances from a women's perspective. Tom Hanson, a farm business management specialist, will tackle the world of recordkeeping by providing conference participants with basic information on the why, how and when of farm records.
The conference will open in Jamestown on March 2 at the Gladstone Inn and Suites and will continue on the following morning. The conference then moves on to the Grand International in Minot on March 3 and will conclude on March 4. For more information, contact the Ward County Extension Service at 857-6444.