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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Experts share ag knowledge with beginning, women farmers

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Jean Gaddy Wilson shows attendees a graphic demonstrating the benefits of using trees as a windbreak during Friday's Women and New Agricultural Landowners Conference held at Malta Bend High School.
From those new to the field of agriculture to experienced farmers, Friday's Women and New Agricultural Landowners Conference at Malta Bend had something for everyone.

Although the conference's title implied that it was centered around women and new agriculturists, it actually featured sessions for even the most seasoned ag producer.

Cynthia Crawford, a consumer and family economics specialist with the University of Missouri Extension office in Marshall said the conference's planning committee had a goal of bringing as much agricultural information to the attendees as possible.

"Our goal was that people who have an interest in agricultural land will find sessions that will be very helpful and help them be more productive and more effective in using agricultural land as a steward," Crawford said.

Everette Wood, executive director of the Saline County Farm Service Agency [FSA], said the conference provided various members of the agriculture community an opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge.

"This is an opportunity for us [agriculture professionals] to meet a certain population of the agricultural community. We're talking about the widows, heirs, people who have bought land, people who have inherited land ... people who have never had farm experience and don't know about all the programs that are out here," Wood said. "We can meet with people who don't know what to do in order to be a profitable business and this is an opportunity for them [new agricultural landowners] to meet with several people in a one-day period that have the opportunity to share with them what they should be looking for."

Although the conference did touch on several topics and included something for everyone, much of the focus was aimed at women agriculturists, who operate 41 percent of the farms in Missouri.

Wood, however, said that number isn't as deceiving as it might sound. "It's really not amazing when you think about it," he said. "Women, historically and statistically, live longer than men. Therefore, a man and his wife start farming, and then the husband passes away and the spouse is left to take care of the farm. So it's not an unusual number when you think about it."

Wood also went on to say that with modern technology, practically anyone can be an effective farmer.

"With the equipment and technology that is out here today, no one is limited in what they can do on the farm as far as the labor that needs to be done. The equipment and technology is mind-boggling in the ag community today," Wood said.

Contact Eric Coley at


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