Washington State's women farmers have a unique opportunity to attend a locally based statewide agricultural conference offering speakers, practical advice and collaborative discussion on how to improve farm management skills in addition to networking opportunities with other women in agriculture.
"Growing Your Successful Farm Business," the title of the annual meeting, will be held Feb. 23 at 21 different locations throughout the state.
Visit the website, www.womeninag.wsu.edu, to find the location that is nearest. The conference begins at 8 a.m. with breakfast and ends at 4 p.m. following a catered lunch.
"Women are uniquely tasked with the demands of farm, family, even a job, which can make long-distance travel a challenge," says Washington State University Douglas County Extension Director and conference chair Margaret Viebrock.
"This new approach allows us to offer our headline speaker at all locations, while also giving each site the opportunity to customize programming to address the farming challenges unique to that region."
Keynote speaker Trini Campbell, owner of Riverdog Farm in Guinda, Calif., will share her experiences beginning to farm in 1990 on two rented acres to being the co-owner of a 500-acre organic farm northeast of San Francisco.
She will discuss her strategies for facing farming's multiple challenges of managing labor, financial planning, and dealing with crop loss and market instability, while still maintaining balance with family obligations.
Another session focuses on helping producers become better prepared financially to take advantage of opportunities to grow as well as survival techniques during economic downturns. This session, led by a financial expert at each location, will focus on working capital and what it means to your farm.
According to Viebrock, while many have skills to grow wonderful crops and livestock, many farms lack the skills necessary for good decision making including how to use financial records to improve farm bottom lines.
A producer at each of the 21 locations will discuss personal risks, challenges, and opportunities, including strategies and financial tools the use to manage risk.
Registration for the conference is $25 ($35 after Feb. 18) and includes a copy of "Farmer Jane – Women Changing the Way We Eat," and a catered lunch.
Download registration forms at www.womeninag.wsu.edu.