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College of Human Ecology

Supporting women in agriculture: the conference tradition celebrates 7th year

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Women Managing the Farm: 2010 Annual ConferenceThe target group is women who are involved in agriculture. Why?

Kristy Archuleta has two answers.

“Women need access to pertinent information in an environment that feels safe to ask questions” is Archuleta’s first, and easiest, answer.

The second reveals a complexity that entwines tradition, the economy, and the mixing of family and business that may become accentuated in a rural environment, Archuleta said.

Archuleta, assistant professor in family studies and human services, has helped coordinate the Women Managing the Farm Conference for 6 years. The 2-day meeting will be Feb. 5 and 6 in Wichita.

The relationship managers

“Women are often the relationship managers in family businesses. This can be a very complex role to fulfill in a farm family because the farm business is always intertwined with the family and it’s very difficult to separate the two. We want to protect the relationships that can tear a farm operation apart,” Archuleta explained.

The mission is to help the farm family succeed in business.

“We offer an environment that gives women in agriculture a safe place to ask questions, network with other women like themselves, and an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills to help their farm businesses be successful. Farm women often put themselves last on the list of farm and family priorities and this conference allows some time away from their daily lives to enjoy themselves, too,” the professor and family financial counselor said.

Number of women in agriculture careers grows

While more women are choosing agriculture as a career, women also sometimes land in agribusiness unexpectedly, by marriage or a change in responsibilities in managing a family farm or agribusiness, she said.

In 2009, more than 225 women from Kansas and Oklahoma attended. This year Archuleta expects around the same number. “They are college age to women in their 70s,” she said. “They are farm operators or connected to agriculture as an absentee landlord or just want to learn more about working with women in agriculture.”

Conference topics will include business planning, health, managing employees, estate planning, trusts, long-term care insurance, coping with clutter, facilitating family meetings, water rights, farm safety, beef quality assurance, soil and crop rotation and mental health.

The WMF conference has been developed for all women involved in an operation from the fulltime manager to the absentee landowner needing a bit of insight about managing their investment.

Speakers to address farm law, consumer debt, health

The five keynote speakers are:

  • Ellie Kay, a military spouse currently based in Palmdale, Calif. She is an author, corporate educator and spokesperson, and mother of seven who worked to eliminate $40,000 in consumer debt in 2-1/2 years. She is founder of the Shop, Save and Share Seminars, now lives debt-free, and will share her financial management tips in her presentation.
  • Roger A. McEowen, professor in agricultural law at Iowa State University in Ames. He also is director of the ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. Formerly, McEowen was an associate professor of agricultural law and an Extension specialist in agricultural law and policy at Kansas State University.
  • Dr. Tana Goering, a physician practicing in Wichita, Kan. Her practice includes obstetrical care, and focuses on family care and health education.
  • Shannon Ferrell, assistant professor at Oklahoma State University where he serves as Extension agricultural law specialist and teaches a course on agricultural law. Ferrell earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics and a law degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. He is licensed to practice in the state and federal courts of Oklahoma and specialized in agricultural, environmental and commercial law before joining the faculty at Oklahoma State.
  • Kyle Bauer is general manager of KFRM 550 AM radio. In leading one of the nation's largest farm radio signals, Bauer believes "everyone has a story." For the conference, he will share agriculture stories and offer tips for attendees in sharing their story.

"One of the key benefits of attending the conference is meeting others who share similar challenges and concerns," Archuleta said.

Registration and more information, including scholarship opportunities, are available on the conference web site. For questions about registration, call 1-320-224-0154 or e-mail wmf@ksu.edu.

The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. For reservations or more information, contact the hotel by calling 316-293-1234.

The conference is sponsored in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency, Farm Credit Associations of Kansas, Kansas Soybean Commission, Kansas Wheat Commission, ProAg Insurance, USDA Farm Service Agency, Kansas Agri-Women, the Kansas Department of Commerce, KFRM Radio and Kansas State University.

Prepared by Human Ecology communications and K-State Research and Extension News Media Services

This article was posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010, and is filed under Family Studies & Human Services.