"Growing our future, valuing our traditions" will be the theme of the 2018 Women in Agriculture Conference Feb. 22-23 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Kearney, Neb.
"This year's theme really addresses holding on to those traditions that are important to us as farmers and ranchers, but also adjusting and adapting to the current issues and economic situation of today," says Jessica Groskopf, Nebraska Extension educator for agricultural economics and one of the event coordinators. "We're jumping off that theme with our concurrent workshop sessions, which will focus on issues specifically important to women in agriculture today."
Following this year's theme, the conference will cover five areas of agricultural risk management, with over 30 concurrent workshops focusing on production, market, financial, human and legal risk.
"I think many of us are looking to reduce our cost of production or understand our cost of production more clearly. Workshops at this year's conference will address that directly," adds Groskopf. "We're also doing something unique this year. We're having three separate classes on the first day, focusing on Quicken Deluxe and the following day, a class on Quickbooks. Depending on where you're at in your record keeping, those will be addressed through those specific tracks."
This year's keynote speaker is Ruth Hambleton, the founder of the Annie's Project, a nationwide program focused on education for women in agriculture. Hambleton counseled hundreds of farm families as a University of Illinois Extension educator in the 1980s, and event organizers say she will be bring a fresh perspective to the current financial crunch.
Ann Finkner, senior vice president and chief administrative officer at Farm Credit Services of America, will be the capstone speaker. Finkner understands the complexity, stress and multiple roles women in agriculture face and will share resources to help women recharge themselves.
Leslie McCuiston of Columbus, who was recently named America's Pig Farmer of the Year by the National Pork Board, will also share her story at WIA.
In addition to a computer lab to teach participants about Quicken Deluxe and Quickbook for agriculture enterprises, this year's concurrent sessions include an ag policy outlook; resources for stressed farmers and ranchers; crop and beef production; Medicare and Medicaid; estate and transition planning; trends in Nebraska farm real estate and flex lease arrangements; engaging and motivating employees; loans and financials; crop, pasture and annual forage insurance products; taxes; family communication; emergency first aid on the farm; identity fraud protection; and grain marketing.
Registration is $125, with early-bird registration from Jan. 1 through Feb. 4. Registration is $150 starting Feb. 5.
There are also scholarship opportunities for students to attend the conference. Five $125 scholarships are available to University of Nebraska Lincoln College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources students, and 10 $62.50 scholarships (half registration fee) are available to Nebraska FFA, 4-H or community college students. Students receiving a half scholarship are expected to pay the remainder of the registration cost during the registration period, or find a local sponsor. Students can apply online.