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Margaret Viebrock

WSU Douglas and Chelan County Extension director

On Jan. 25, the 2020 Women in Agriculture Conference will offer women in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii a unique opportunity to gather in 34 different locations for a one-day event featuring knowledgeable speakers, inspiring stories, networking with other producers and practical advice for learning new skills.

This year’s event, “Healthy Farms,” covers the topic of cultivating personal resiliency to handle all the “ups and downs” as a woman farmer.

It is no secret that things can be tough for farmers, whether it is things that can be controlled or issues farmers try to control when they can’t. The stress in farming has always existed, but the levels soar during times of high costs and low returns.

Locally, the conference will be held at Confluence Technology Center in Wenatchee, Colville Reservation WSU Extension Learning center in Nespelem and 3 Bears Quilt Shop in Winthrop.

Visit the website at womeninag.wsu.edu for details about the conference and registration.

This interactive and engaging conference will motivate women in agriculture to develop a self-care plan and realize the connection between a healthy person and a healthy farm. The format of this conference enables us to offer our headline speakers at all locations, while still tailoring the conference content for each region.

Last year, nearly 500 women attended. Many attendees reported it is the best conference for women producers because it presents practical information they can use right away.

The lineup for the day includes Brenda Mack, a third-generation farmer in Minnesota who is also a behavior and wellness professor with Bemidji State University and Shauna Reitmeier, also a third-generation farmer who specializes in behavioral health with the Northwest Mental Health Center in Minnesota. Together they will help women farmers strengthen their personal health care to reduce the effects of stress , worry and exhaustion.

Sue Schneider, Colorado State University Extension, will teach women how to make mindful farming and personal decisions without reacting to negative thoughts, emotions and judgements.

Each location will have a local panel of women farmers who will explain how they have developed their own self-care plan to deal with day-to-day events and make mindful decisions that helped them be successful in farming.

Gabrielle McNally, who represents the Women for the Land: American Farmland Trust’s Initiative, will explain their program that engages women farmers on topics of conservation, farmland preservation and land access. A partnership with this initiative can implement peer-to- peer learning circles in local areas.

This conference is designed for women who are farming, as well as new and aspiring farmers. Supporting spouses, students, interns or people who own an agriculture-related business are also welcome.

The conference registration fee is $35, but people who register between now and Jan. 17 will receive the early bird special of $30. The conference registration fee includes the workshop, light breakfast, lunch and conference materials.

Persons with a disability requiring special accommodations while participating in this program may call 509-745-8531 or email viebrock@wsu.edu.

Margaret Viebrock is the WSU Douglas and Chelan County Extension director and chair of the local Women in Agriculture conference.