Old traditions become new at 2016 Women in Ag conference

Friday, April 8, 2016
Festive farm decor is the focus on each table centerpiece at the Women in Agriculture regional conference on March 11. The arrangements were done by Springwater Greenhouse and Landscaping. (Michaela Leimkuehler/Democrat-News)

A sold-out crowd of agriculturalists packed Martin Community Center Friday, March 11, at the 13th annual Women in Agriculture regional conference. The 'home grown' theme was prevalent throughout the event space with burlap ribbon garnishing pieces of rustic farm decor. A farmers market was set up to display refreshments. A lemonade stand with glass mugs was provided by Wood & Huston Bank. Attendees were encouraged to strike a pose in the photo booth donated by Ag-Power and shop for Missouri-specific products from the AgriMissouri market throughout the day.

"What's new about this year is something old," Saline County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Jared Singer said.

He referred to the return of the breakout sessions due to feedback from the questionnaires from previous conferences. Guests could choose the session that most appealed to them. The topics were diverse to fit a wide variety of needs of the participants.

Rita Emmett, a self-proclaimed recovering procrastinator and author of "The Procrastinator's Handbook," "The Procrastinating Child" and "The Clutter-Busting Handbook" was the first presentation of the day.

Baskets of fresh fruit are displayed as part of the "farmers market" refreshment table at the 2016 Women in Agriculture regional conference on Friday, March 11. (Michaela Leimkuehler/Democrat-News)

"How does procrastination tie-in with home grown," Emmett started. "...because sometimes our home grown stuff isn't right. Maybe sometimes in our home we procrastinate."

Emmett's lesson was taught through animated story-telling. Her presentation was filled with activities and lollipops for those who shared answers aloud to the group. Her take-home message was to realize that procrastination is just a habit.

"So often, procrastination keeps us from taking a risk, keeps us from trying something new, (and) keeps us from pursuing our dreams," Emmett declared. "I'm living a really joyful life. That's something that I clearly procrastinated about. I put off having fun. I put off joy."

Glasgow resident, Cheryl Adams said she enjoyed Emmett's presentation.

"She gave several ideas to try to quit procrastinating in your life," Adams said. "Some of which I already use but there's some new ones."

Kathleen Theis, a three-year attendee of the conference, said the reason she returns is because of the quality of the speakers every year.

"I really enjoyed a couple years ago when Tyne Morgan was here because we watch the U.S. Farm Report and I see her every week now and I think, 'oh gee I saw her at the Women in Agriculture Conference,'" Theis said.

"I always learn something new and interesting that helps me in real life," Adams added.

Despite the fact that the title of the conference may deter men from attending, everyone is encouraged to attend in the future.

"We try to make it not just a meeting, but an event that our participants can look forward to," Singer continued. "It would not be possible for us to do that without the support of the community that we have."

Community sponsors for the Women in Agriculture regional conference included: Wood & Huston Bank, Ag-Power, Wilson Toellner CPA, Exchange Bank of Missouri, Monsanto, Larry Askins Insurance, Mid-State Seed, Cindy Hayob with Farm Bureau Insurance, Community Bank, FCS Financial, WB Young Co., Soil & Water Conservation Districts and AGRI Services of Brunswick LLC.