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(Updated Monday, March 12) Women in Ag wraps up another successful event, gives glimpse of 2013 line-up

Friday, March 9, 2012

Even before the ninth annual Women in Agriculture regional conference wrapped up on March 9, the speakers for the 10th annual event set for March 8, 2013 were announced. Above, Jared Singer, FSA director, donned a tuxedo to help make the announcement in front of the more than 250 attendees.
Approximately 275 women and men from surrounding states and more than 30 Missouri counties were in Marshall on Friday, March 9, for the ninth annual Women in Agriculture regional conference at the Martin Community Center.

"We were delighted with the number of people who came to the conference," said Cynthia Crawford, University of Missouri Extension Specialist. "We were so pleased we were able to draw from such a large area. We had people coming in from Oklahoma, Kansas, as well as many counties in Missouri."

Crawford said money from the tourism commission helped bring in people from a larger area.

Chris Chinn, of Clarence, was the after-lunch speaker at the annual Women in Agriculture regional conference on March 8, at the Martin Community Center. Chinn encouraged others to speak up about agriculture.
"I think we need to thank the Marshall Tourism Commission that provided some funds so we could market this conference further from Marshall than in the past," she said.

She also credited the planning committee with the event's success.

"I really can't compliment the planning committee enough," she said, adding most of the eight members have been on the committee since the beginning of the conference.

Becky Plattner recreated the letter, "Why I want my daughter to marry a farmer" written by Saline County resident Mrs. G.B.S. in the 1920's. The writer's identity will be revealed at the 2012 Saline County Century Farm celebration in November.
This year the keynote speakers were Sharon Oetting of Concordia and Chris Chinn of Clarence. Both speakers encouraged the audience to speak up for agriculture.

"Remember there is a lot of stuff out there that people read and see all the time that isn't true or is a half truth, and we need to constantly share our story and keep it front and center for those people," said Oetting. "You can tell your story and you can do it effectively."

Chinn expanded on that message by encouraging the audience to "Stand up for Agriculture." She also explained the use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

University of Missouri Extension specialist Cynthia Crawford presented a gift basket to morning speaker Sharon Oetting of Concordia. Oetting, a family farmer from Concordia encouraged participants to "Tell Your Story" about agriculture.
She spoke about the difference between farmers and heavily funded special interest groups.

"We have a passion for agriculture that you can't buy and they can't take away from us," she said.

The participants also were able to choose three breakout sessions to attend during the day. The topics were rural families, farm business, rural development and gardening.

The lunch was provided by Smith's Food Bank in Slater and background music was performed by the Roadkill Clarinet Quintet.

Each year as the conference ends, the planning committee members begin planning the next year's event. However, in anticipation of the 10th annual Women in Ag, much of the planning for 2013 has already been accomplished.

"Each year it is our goal that we are able to say this one is the best one we've had yet," Crawford said. Usually at this point we are going 'Well how are we going to top that?,' but we do have a plan already that will make our 10th even bigger and better than this year."

After Chinn spoke, Farm Service Agency Director Jared Singer, donning a tuxedo and sunglasses, and Becky Plattner announced the lineup for the 2013 celebration: All Stars: The Best of 10 Years and More.

Set for March 8, 2013 at the community center, the 10th annual event will feature some of the most popular speakers from the past, as well as two new nationally-known speakers. The "Erma Bombeck of Agriculture," humorist Susie Oberdahlhoff will again entertain the crowd and Saline County Judge Hugh Harvey will return to explain the newest estate planning laws. Although not a stranger to the county, Trent Loos, national syndicated radio host and agriculture advocate will be making his first appearance at the Saline County event. Headlining the celebration will be Dr. Temple Grandin, an expert in animal science and subject of the award-winning HBO special "Temple Grandin" starring Clare Danes. In 2010, Time Magazine named Grandin one of the 100 most influential people.

Registration for the event will be limited and will open on Jan. 7, 2013.

"We'll have a certain number of people that can attend," Crawford said. "People will want to register early."

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