Meaningful conversations between women farmers, rural business leaders and landowners have been a goal of the Women Managing the Farm Conference since the event began in 2005, and the 2023 meeting is no exception. The conference will be held February 15-17 in Manhattan. From ag advocacy at large and small scales to the impact of military aggression on global food security to mental health, the 2023 Women Managing the Conference offers women the chance to explore how to grow their operations, their communities and themselves.
“As we approach the 20th anniversary of WMF, we are looking at some long-term planning to identify what changes would be most beneficial to women farmers and conference attendees. We are going to be soliciting some feedback this year about ways we can improve the structure of the conference and provide additional educational opportunities for women in ag.” Said Marsha Boswell, Vice President of Communications at Kansas Wheat and Past-Chair for WMF. “We encourage women to come to the conference for the excellent lineup this year, and to also provide us with feedback as we plan future events.”
This annual conference provides a supportive setting in which women can develop the skills, resources and knowledge needed for success in a competitive agricultural environment. Conference sessions are designed to keep women up to date on the latest advancements in agriculture and thriving within their rural communities.
The 2023 conference will open Thursday morning with keynote speaker Brandi Buzzard, presenting “Small Talk, Meaningful Conversations.” Brandi Buzzard is a cowgirl, rancher, working mom and wife. For more than a decade, she has also been a passionate agriculture advocate while helping others share their agriculture stories.
“There are many factors that lay the groundwork for meaningful conversations – current events, parenting hacks, restaurant choices, etc.,” said Buzzard. “And all of that ‘small talk’ is essentially what leads to deeper, more meaningful conversations. Whether the discussion is focused on food, ranching or societal news, audience members will learn how thinking critically and having authentic conversations makes us all better in the long run.”
Other general session presenters will include Dr. Antonina Broyaka, K-State Department of Ag Economics, who will discuss “War in Ukraine and Global Food Security.” From September 1998 to March 2022, Broyaka carried out scientific and educational activities at the Vinnytsia National Agrarian University, Ukraine. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Broyaka moved to the United States and received refuge in Manhattan, Kansas. She is continuing research activity as an extension associate in the Agricultural Economics Department of Kansas State University on the economic impact of Russian military aggression on Ukrainian agriculture and global food security.
The two-day conference will wrap up with Adrienne DeSutter, an ag mental health specialist who is part of her husband's fourth-generation farm family in Midwest Illinois. DeSutter recognized a need for mental health advocacy in agriculture and began partnering with ag businesses and organizations to promote healthy minds and prevent farmer suicide. In addition to public speaking, she helps create and connect valuable ag mental health resources, writes wellness articles, and has been featured in articles, podcasts and initiatives across the globe.
“With smirks and satire, ‘Sow Hope Grow Hope’ takes you on a playful journey of self-discovery," said DeSutter. Adrienne’s message reminds you that “your growth is greatest when YOU are holding the measuring stick. And when you hit your peaks, so does everyone around you.”
During the two-day conference, attendees will also select from presentations covering many topics, including a K-State calving school. This session will outline calving management, including stages of the normal calving process and tips to handle difficult calving situations. They’ll share tips on when and how to intervene to assist the cow or heifer. They’ll also demonstrate proper use of calving equipment on a life-sized cow and calf model. farm finances, relationships and health, agricultural and estate law, crop production and marketing, management and more. Attendees also choose networking sessions tailored to the different roles women hold, providing an opportunity to learn from other women who may have similar roles on their operation.
“Making those connections can be a way to reach out when you run into a new situation and need someone to bounce ideas off,” Boswell said.
Thursday night’s entertainment will be The Fabulous Feud. This fun event will transcend age and gender while offering audiences a memorable opportunity to participate. The surveys generate thought and laughter, an engaging and affable host and attendees as contestants!
Registration is $200, and includes both breakfast and lunch on Thursday and Friday. New this year is a student rate of $60 for any high school or college students. Additional pre-conference sessions are available for $25. Preconference sessions are offered Wednesday for Quickbooks; an overview of drones licensing, uses and technology; and an interactive farm safety seminar.
Learn more or register for the Women Managing the Farm Conference at http://womenmanagingthefarm.com/. Stay up to date with the latest from the conference on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/womenmanagingthefarm.
Written by Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat