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WA-OR-ID: Women in Ag Conference Preview

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You can now register for the 2014 Women in Agriculture Conference which offers women in Washington, Oregon and Idaho a unique opportunity to gather in 28 locations for a 1-day event featuring knowledgeable speakers, inspiring stories, practical advice for improving farm management skills and networking with other women producers.

"Women are uniquely tasked with the demands of both farm and family, which can make travel to one state location a challenge," said WSU Douglas County Extension Director and chair of the conference Margaret Viebrock. "The format of this conference enables us to offer our headline speaker at all locations, while also tailoring the conference content for each region."

This year's event, "Change Happens: Make It An Opportunity," covers topics including farm business decision-making, using financial records to improve the bottom line and problem solving for change.

"Last year nearly 500 women attended," said Viebrock. "Many attendees reported it was one of the best conferences for women producers because it presented practical information they could use right away for handling their finances, communicating with other businesses, networking with other women and improving their business operations."

This year's keynote speaker Heather Darby, a seventh generation owner of the 200-year-old Darby Farm in the Lake Champlain Islands near Alburgh, Vermont, will share her strategies for success. The 130-acre diversified farm a produces a wide array of vegetables and fruit, a small apiary, CSA program, farm stand and operates a custom grazing service for local organic dairies.

Heather will discuss how change has been a constant in her operation presenting her with a variety of opportunities related to financial issues, organizational management, employees, starting a family and handling risk management issues related to weather, prices and work-life balance.

The keynote will be broadcast to all 28 conference locations. In addition to the keynote address, each location will feature three local women producers who will share their experiences with change.

This conference is designed for women who have been farming for years, as well as for new and aspiring farmers.

The registration fee is $25 before March 1, and $30 after. Registration includes the workshop, light breakfast, lunch, handouts and a book.

To learn more, view specific event locations, or to register, visit www.womeninag.wsu.edu.

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