Women in Agriculture Conference set for February

Submitted by Susan HenningKay County Conservation District

Kay and Noble County Conservation Districts and their respective Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agencies (FSA), and OSU Extension offices are joining together to hold their seventh Women in Agriculture Conference on February 11, 2016 from 8:45am to 3:00pm in the Renfro Center on the Northern Oklahoma College campus in Tonkawa. AmericanAg Credit of Ponca City is generously sponsoring the morning refreshments of muffins and pastries to kick start the conference. Past conferences have drawn nearly 200 participants. The theme will be “Winds of Change.” The conference will recognize the many roles that women play in today’s agricultural community and provide these women with management skills that are needed to make informed business and family decisions. The 2012 Census of Agriculture reports that women farmers and ranchers are growing in numbers while the traditional male-dominated farming industry and total number of farmers is declining. Women control over 40 percent of all leased farmland in the U.S., with over 32 percent of all privately held farms in Oklahoma owned by women. Women-owned farm businesses in Oklahoma generate over $293 million worth of economic impact annually.

“We are very excited to welcome this year’s keynote speaker for the upcoming conference, Lyndall Stout, Director of OSU Ag Communications and Host and Executive Director of SUNUP TV,” reports Susan Henning, conference chairman. Lyndall returned to Oklahoma to help tell the story of agriculture after a decade-long career in television news as the main anchor for NBC affiliate, WBRE-TV in Pennsylvania and as an anchor and reporter for KARK-TV in Little Rock and KTEN-TV in Denison, Texas. This “local gal” has fond memories feeding cattle and riding in a wheat truck on her grandparents’ farm on the Arkansas River in Osage County.

Morning break-out sessions for the attendees to choose from are: Farm Transitions & Estate Planning – Shannon Ferrell, OSU Ag Economics; Back Yard Poultry 101 – Dana Zook, NW Area OSU Livestock Specialist and Corbin Dewitt, Kay County OSU Ag Educator; So You Want to Take a Trip? – Pam Smith, Global Dream Vacations; and Reading Food Labels: What Do All of the Terms Mean? – Sarah Weeks, Gordon Cooper Technology Center.

Afternoon break-out sessions to choose from are: Farm Leases – Damona Doye, OSU Ag Economics; Management for Improved Performance in Beef Cattle - Dana Zook, NW Area OSU Livestock Specialist and Corbin Dewitt, Kay County OSU Ag Educator; Organic Gardening 101 – David Hillock, OSU Asst. Extension Horticulture Specialist; and Wind Turbine Development – Jeff Neves, Amshore Energy and Graham Furlong, Duke Energy.

Four featured “Women in Ag,” two each from Kay County and Noble County, will be honored during the conference’s catered luncheon. These women’s stories will appear in newspapers in December and January preceding the conference. AmericanAg Credit of Ponca City is again sponsoring these featured women’s registration.

Each registered guest will receive a reusable insulated shopping bag full of goodies and a chance to win door prizes throughout the day with a big door prize given away at the conclusion of the conference. A variety of informational and vendor booths of interest to women may be visited during the conference including governmental agencies, crop insurance, financial institutions, women’s health care, and gift items.

A $15 pre-registration fee per person will include the catered luncheon and conference happenings. Pre-registration forms will be mailed to previous attendees but may also be picked up at banks, chambers of commerce, conservation districts, NRCS, and FSA offices. Forms are also available by email by calling or emailing your local county conservation district office: Kay County (580-362-2438) kayccd@conservation.ok.gov or Noble County (580-336-2003) nobleccd@conservation.ok.gov. Conference information and registration forms may also be found on our website: www.kaycountyconservation.com/Meeting_and_Events.html. Pre-registration is due by February 1, 2016. Registrations at the door will be $25.