Extension knew it has a success when more than 300 people attended the first Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference in Marshall County nearly two decades ago. All but a handful of the audience were women. I know – I was there. I was after stories, and there were plenty there because the agenda was packed with topics and speakers that appealed to farm women.
But to put it mildly, a man there stuck out like a sore thumb. Men and women think differently. So since then we've carried many stories from the annual meetings, but female correspondents have attended and wrote the stories. After all, a female perspective on female- minded topics likely carries more weight.
That doesn't mean the topics discussed there aren't serious and full of meat. Last year's session featured a succession planning session by Angela Gloy, former Purdue University Extension specialist who moved out of state recently with her husband. She returned to help advise women what they needed to know in assisting set up generation to generation transfers and more. Susan Hayhurst, a Terre Haute farm wife, captured the story.
This year the conference is Feb. 18 and 19 at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville. You can learn about the meeting on Purdue's Women in Ag event website.
New this year is a one-day conference within the overall conference. Billed as the young Ladies of Agriculture Forum, it's designed for girls and young women in grades 8 through 12.
"Our goal is to inspire and educate girls and young women who have an interest in farming or agribusiness, " says Kelly Heckaman, Kosciusko County Extension educator. She has played a large role in the Midwest Women in Ag Conference from the start.
Speakers are Angie Abbott, program leader and assistant director of Purdue University's Health and Human Sciences Extension program, and Lindsey O'Hara.
O'Hara is the current 2014-2015 northern region vice-president of the Indiana FFA. Having just graduated from high school in the spring of 2014, O'Hara can relate to the young ladies who will be in the audience. She plans to bring an inspiring message, the same type of message she has carried to FFA members all over Indiana.
Cost for this special program is $10, which includes dinner and admission for the young lady and adult guest. Sign up online by February 6.
The Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance are sponsoring this event.