Ag conference to focus on women’s interests

An agricultural conference that focuses on women is set for next month in Muncie.

The Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference, presented by Purdue Extension, is Feb. 21 to 22 at the Horizon Convention Center.

The conference offers attendees about two dozen breakout sessions from which to choose. Topics range from serious issues (Opioids and Rural Families) to helpful tips (Small Flock Poultry Basics) to legal information (Is an LLC Right for You?) to health (Mindfulness — A Way to Tackle Stress).

“I think that reflects the breadth of women’s interests in farming,” Medic said, noting that women in a variety of situations attend the conference, from those who are in complete control of an agriculture enterprise to wives who want to be more informed and prepared in case something happens to their husband.

She added that the conference has grown since it started about six years ago, with more attendees and items offered on the agenda.

“We’re finding there’s a lot to be gained from a women-focused learning environment,” Medic said.

Sometimes the conference even draws some girls local FFA chapters.

“The idea of the conference is a really wonderful one. The percentage of women involved directly and indirectly with agriculture has increased significantly over the years. Because of this, it is absolutely important to give them a support system for the challenges they may encounter being women involved in agriculture. Not only does it create support, it empowers the women to continue to make their mark in agriculture,” said Aleesa Dickerson, Hauser High School’s FFA adviser.

“By inviting the young ladies that are just getting their start, it shows them that opportunities abound for them in our industry. The girls that have attended before gained valuable skills and life experiences through their involvement with this conference,” Dickerson added.

However, national FFA Week activities conflict with the conference this year, preventing any of the chapter’s girls from attending, Dickerson said.

Jeff Washburn, an attorney with the Columbus-based firm Sharpnack, Bigley, Stroh & Washburn, will present the breakout session about limited liability companies (LLCs). In the session, Washburn will discuss the positives and negatives, and provide examples of farm families who have becomes LLCs, according to the registration brochure.

“He occasionally presents for me, often when we’re doing estate preparing,” Medic said of Washburn, also noting that he has farming in his background.

The Opioids and Rural Families breakout session will explain how the drug is affecting rural families, and what Delaware County is doing for treatment for those addicted, the registration brochure said.

“The opioid epidemic has really hit rural families hard,” Medic said.

The conference also features four keynote speeches, including one by Jason Henderson, associate dean of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and director of Purdue Extension.

If you go

What: Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference

When: Feb. 21-22

Where: Horizon Convention Center, Muncie

Breakout sessions

  • Living Without a Will in Indiana
  • Opioids and Rural Families
  • Empowering Women in Agriculture Technologies
  • Why Dig Herbs
  • Legislative Update
  • Amplify Ag’s Message
  • Tools to Tell Your Story
  • Small Flock Poultry Basics
  • Caring for the Caregiver
  • The Holistic Farm – Conservation Planning for Your Land
  • Hands-on Tractor and Machinery Program
  • Using Alternative Feed Ingredients in Livestock Diets
  • How Can Agriculture Result in Policey, Systems and Environmental Change?
  • Home Garden Food Safety
  • Travel Indiana
  • Is an LLC Right For You?
  • Secrets to Aging Successfully: It’s All Greek to Me
  • 4-H STEM: Growing Our Youth
  • Setting up a Livestock Grazing System
  • Income Opportunities from Farm Woodlands
  • Mindfulness – A Way to Tackle Stress
  • Saving Money With Precision Agriculture
  • High Tunnels: The Whys and Hows

Keynote speakers

  • Jason Henderson, associate dean of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and director of Purdue Extension
  • Katie Dilse, motivational speaker
  • Claire Baney and Natalie Taylor, Indiana State FFA officers
  • Lindsay Sankey and Sarah Mahan, farm wives discussing life on the farm in 2018

Registration costs: $90 single session Feb. 21 or 22 before Feb. 5, $125 afterward; $100 both sessions before Feb. 5, $150 afterward.

For brochure, registration form: extension.purdue.edu/WIA

Author photo
Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.