A two-day conference focused on issues women face in agriculture will give participants an opportunity to tap into Purdue Extension expertise and a chance to network with their peers.
The 2013 Midwest Women in Agriculture conference will be Feb. 21-22 at the Clarion Hotel, 2480 Jonathan Moore Pike, Columbus, Ind.
Nikky Witkowski, conference chair and Lake County Extension educator, said the top reason women should attend the conference is to meet and share experiences with other women in agriculture.
“Whether an owner or operator, part of a team with a husband or significant other, or involved somehow with agriculture, the conference is a great way to get out, meet other people and develop a good network of women in agriculture,” she said.
Kelly Heckaman, conference committee member and Kosciusko County Extension educator, said the event should be both educational and a break for the women.
“We know women in agriculture have a unique role. We want to address the day-to-day management of the farm, give them tips on business issues, try to make them feel special for a couple days and send them home renewed, refreshed and ready to take on everyday life,” she said.
Heckaman said conference organizers received requests from past participants to discuss time management. Farm wives often have many roles to fulfill, and the keynote speaker for this year’s conference - Elaine Froese, a farm family coach - was selected with that in mind. Froese will speak on “Living an Intentional Life: Balance in a Complex World.”
Session topics include the 2012 drought, staying on the farm, marketing opportunities, soil testing, diets, slow cooking, farm finances, crop yields and resolving conflict.
One session dealing with women’s roles on the farm is “When Strangling is Not an Option: Keys to More Effective Family Communication,” by Janet Ayres, Purdue Extension agricultural economics specialist.
“Women play a very important role in agriculture and farm families. Not only are they usually involved in business, they are often the caretakers of the family,” Ayres said.
“In families we make a lot of assumptions. Clear, honest communication is often a challenge. We think family members should know what we’re thinking, and it’s easy to get carried away with emotions. Family relationships are deeply rooted with a lot of history and emotions. There’s a lot of stress associated with poor communication,” she said.