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Spring is here: Time for the Women in Ag Conference

Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2012, at 9:28 AM

One of the surest signs of spring for me each year is the Women in Agriculture Regional Conference.

It is always one of the most enjoyable events I get the pleasure of covering.

This year, the ninth edition, "Stitching Life's Pieces Together" is set for this Friday, March 9, at the Martin Community Center in Marshall, from 8:30 to 3 p.m.

If you have never been, you should definitely go. Every year the conference gets better and better, and this year will be no exception. Almost 300 women and men from 29 counties attended the conference in 2011.

And once again, the conference is packed with informative speakers and information.

The two main speakers are well-known advocates of agriculture: Sharon Oetting of Concordia and Chris Chinn of Clarence. Both are involved in family hog farms and have won numerous awards for their work in agriculture.

In addition to the speakers, 12 break-out sessions offer a wealth of information. The topics include rural families, farm business, rural development and gardening. The toughest part is choosing which four to attend. The best advice is to bring a friend or two and go to different sessions. Then when you are done, you can share the information you have learned.

Although the topics are geared more toward female agriculturalists, each year more and more men attend and, of course, are welcomed.

You will be treated like a VIP, complete with a wonderful lunch, a wealth of information, entertaining music, more than a few laughs and lots of fellowship.

If you are a woman who owns a farm, operates a farm or loves a farmer, this conference is for you.

But just in case you are unsure if you are a Women in Agriculture (WIA), here are a few simple tests:

--If you've ever been given a pair of coveralls or gumboots (or if you're lucky, both) for Christmas, then you are a WIA.

--If you've ever been asked to go to town to "pick up a few parts," you are a WIA. (It doesn't matter whether you came home with the right part, it's the thought that counts.)

--If you've ever packed a lunch or taken a dinner to the field, you are a WIA.

--If you've ever washed a pair of coveralls, jeans or overalls with unidentified (it's better if you don't know) stains, then you are definitely a WIA.

--If you know what it means when he says, "Honey, can you help us move today?" then you are a WIA.

--If your spouse has a degree in agronomy (or at least, plenty of experience) but you are the one who is in charge of mowing and caring for the lawn, you are a WIA.

--If your hubby has made a climate controlled deer stand just for you, because he knew he'd still be in harvest on youth opening day, and wanted his make sure his son would still be able to deer hunt, you are a WIA.

--If your vacuum has more miles on it than your car, you are a WIA.

--If you've learned to at least appreciate (even if you can't enjoy) the smell of cow, hog, sheep or any animal manure, you are a WIA.

--If you find yourself wanting to fight when farmers are mischaracterized in the press, you are a WIA.

--And finally, if you've come to actually enjoy a long walk in the pasture or a ride in the combine, you are definitely a WIA.

I hope to see you at the Women in Ag conference, it's sure to be another great one!

More on the conference can be found at www.womeninag.net or by calling University

Extension at 660-886-6908.

Related story:
www.marshallnews.com/story/1818457.html



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MARCIA GORRELL
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