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Women In Agriculture Conference a Success

Women In Agriculture Conference a Success

Kay and Noble Counties Host

Participants stayed over time to hear marketing ideas from Dr. Lynn Brandenberger.
Participants stayed over time to hear marketing ideas from Dr. Lynn Brandenberger. The food crops specialist gave advantages and disadvantages to using different ways of selling produce to local communities.

OSU Kay County Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator Mary Rhyne shows the fat content of a serving of french fries versus a baked potato.
OSU Kay County Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator Mary Rhyne shows the fat content of a serving of french fries versus a baked potato.

Rhyne notes that the baked potato in question has no toppings but also has no fat.
Rhyne notes that the baked potato in question has no toppings but also has no fat. This was a demonstration to illustrate heart healthy choices in cooking.

“I don’t like to go places and when asked what a person does the person responds, “Oh, I am just a farmer. There is a small percentage of people in the US who need a lawyer, another percentage will need an accountant, everyone needs a farmer,” said newly appointed Oklahoma Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Francie Tolle. Tolle spoke to a crowd of nearly 200 about her experiences as a woman in agriculture at the Women in Agriculture (WIA) conference hosted by Kay and Noble counties, on the Northern Oklahoma College campus in Tonkawa February 11, 2010.

The success of the event was due in large part to Kay County District Manager Susan Henning, who, along with many volunteers, NRCS and district staff and sponsorship from many area businesses, planned and executed an outstanding conference.

Women In Agriculture is an organization of women whose lives depend on agriculture. The aim of the conference is to address some of the challenges and issues that women face when they become part of farm culture. A woman’s place on a farm is not to be taken lightly. There isn’t much training but often they are called on to handle the business side of farming in addition to helping with labor and handling domestic duties.

“I drive the combine, I haul a 90 foot sprayer, the only thing we hire done is cutting the wheat because it isn’t as forgiving as other crops,” says veteran farm wife Louise Rigdon, “ we’re both in our 60‘s and it’s just the two of us.” They work on the same piece of property, they labor over the same crops and their interest is common, but when it comes to just about anything, Rigdon says to her husband, women and men are just different.

One of the sessions offered at this year’s conference was assertiveness training to give women the tools to be better with business dealings. Rigdon attended this session because she says she is really good at helping other people get what they need but she isn’t as good at helping herself. She says, “I was able to learn some things from this session that I can use when I go home.”

The other session she attended was about insurance. Many attendees visited this session to get a refresher on things they knew but haven’t thought about in a while. Rigdon said she learned about a new program that hasn’t been implemented yet but that she will know what to expect when it is finally rolled out to the public.

Other sessions addressed internet skills for the farm, introducing ways to use the internet to find everything from equipment to informational resources that can be used to find solutions to unique problems. For the women in agriculture who feel they have enough time on their hands to start up a garden there was a session on starting a horticultural market garden. Kay and Noble County District Attorney Mark Gibson spoke about the growing concern in rural communities over the issue of abuse of prescription medications. OSU Extension Educator Mary Rhyne spoke about the importance of choosing heart healthy cooking.

Rigdon says even though she goes to other conferences with her husband where she is sometimes the only woman attendee, she likes this conference because it gives her the opportunity to meet other women who are involved in agriculture. She says, “Even if my husband and I go to the same meetings we pick up different things, we hear different. I think a good farm wife is a good listener as well as good with input.”

The next conference will be held in 2012 and participants can look forward to possible session topics to include social media networking, livestock information, horticultural information and possibly some hands on demonstrations.

By Public Affairs Specialist Crystal Young
NRCS March 2010

Last Modified: 04/08/2010

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