"Connecting Threads: Weaving the Fabric of Agriculture," Wisconsin's first statewide conference for women farmers, will run Dec. 5-6 at Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells.
More than 7,000 Wisconsin women are principal farm operators, according to the 2002 Census of Agriculture.
"Despite these numbers, women farmers are frequently isolated and disconnected from information and services that can help them farm more profitably. This conference is designed to bring them together with service providers and other women farmers to share information and resources that can make their farm operations stronger," conference organizer Kathy Schmitt said.
Registration is $60 for both days of the event or $35 per day. Exhibit space is also available. Women entrepreneurs are encouraged to consider exhibit space as are service providers. Visit www.datcp.state.wi.us/registration/wfarming.jsp to view the agenda and register, or to download a conference brochure. A limited number of scholarships will be available for women farmers needing financial assistance. Contact the Wisconsin Farm Center for more details 800-942-2474.
A block of rooms will be held for participants until Nov. 4 at $70 a night for single occupancy.
Women farmers and farm women alike will learn risk management tools that can help them analyze possible loss areas on their enterprise. Conference topics include financial, production, marketing, and social risk management tools. Jane Eckert, CEO of Eckert AgriMarketing, St. Louis, Mo., and Carol Roth, Starfish Consulting, Soldiers Grove, will be the keynote speakers. Workshops include agriculture law issues, farm promotion and diversification ideas, farm succession, crop insurance under the new farm bill, relationships between mothers and daughters-in-law, grant writing skills for producers, preparing to meet the banker, farm financial record-keeping, and livestock risk management. Friday evening will feature a networking and edible art event.
The conference is aimed at women who are the primary decision makers on their farms, whether they have established enterprises, are just starting or are exploring farming as an occupation. Women who play a role in their family's farm operations and professionals who work with women farmers are also welcome.
This event is sponsored in part by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency and Farm Service Agency. Additional sponsors include the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection; University of Wisconsin-Extension; UW Center for Dairy Profitability; UW Environmental Services Center; Wisconsin Farmers Union; and Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative.