MANHATTAN, Kan. - Producing a variety of health-promoting foods is essential if growing populations are to thrive.
Food producers, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness professionals can, however, face challenges that others might consider unimaginable, and that's why an upcoming conference - Women Managing the Farm - is important. The 2012 edition of this educational event is scheduled Feb. 10-11 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in in Wichita, Kan.
Why an agriculture conference for women?
More women are choosing careers in agriculture; others who are actively engaged in food production may have married an agricultural producer and into food production, inherited land, or become an absentee landlord unexpectedly, said Janet Barrows, an ag career professional and chairperson for the conference organizing committee.
Spouses, business and family partners also are welcome, said Barrows, who noted that the annual conference typically attracts several hundred participants.
Attendees will be able to choose from more than 25 concurrent sessions exploring topics such as: sustainable agriculture; business planning; financial management; markets; animal welfare; crops; water; weather; energy contracts; government regulations; family partnerships, along with tips for managing them successfully; operating a home-based business; support systems for young farmers and ranchers; health; sustaining rural communities; social media, and others.
The keynote speaker is Ed O'Malley, representing the Kansas Leadership Center.
O'Malley will focus on leadership in rural communities and offer tips for what Barrows describes as "bringing out the leader in everyone, and building leadership skills to enhance personal and professional opportunities and build community."
Planned general sessions include:
* Dan Thomson, Kansas State University's Beef Cattle Institute - Update on Animal Welfare.
* Dana Peterson, National Association of Wheat Growers - Farm Girl Turned CEO: Policy Perspective.
* Cheryl Tevis, Successful Farming Magazine - Striking a Balance.
* Cheryl Unruh, author and columnist for the Emporia Gazette - Flyover People.
Attendees will have opportunities to meet and network with others who share similar challenges and opportunities, said Barrows, who added that former attendees cite networking as an especially valuable part of the conference.
The conference is recommended for agricultural partners, independent producers, helpers, absentee landlords, industry professionals, business managers and others serving agricultural businesses or otherwise involved in agricultural communities.
The cost to attend is $145, if registration is received by Jan. 27 and $170 after that date.
The Hyatt Regency in Wichita, Kan., is making a limited number of rooms available at a reduced conference rate; reservations and more information are available online at www.womenmanagingthefarm.info or by calling 1-316-293-1234 or 1-888-421-1442.
More information also is available from conference sponsors, including K-State Research and Extension, which has offices in each of Kansas' 105 counties.
SIDEBAR or BOX: What Makes This Conference Different?
This conference is a "must" for all women of agriculture, as rarely do Kansas women engaged in agriculture have the opportunity to attend one conference where they can network with one another and, also, choose from a diverse array of high-quality agricultural seminars.
-- Gregg Hadley, Assistant Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources at K-State Research and Extension
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.