A delegation of 32 Wisconsin farm women attended the Farm Bureau National Women's Leadership Conference April, 25-29 in Louisville, Ky.
The Wisconsinites were among the nearly 700 farm and ranch women from 38 states representing all types of agriculture. They sharpened their leadership and networking skills and accepted a charge from American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman for women to lead Farm Bureau at all levels of involvement.
"Our Wisconsin women learned so much by attending the conference general sessions and leadership workshops," said Dale Beaty, Wisconsin Farm Bureau's director of training and leadership development.
The conference included sessions on family business dynamics, grassroots political advocacy, adapting to change, challenges and opportunities in animal agriculture, educating consumers about agriculture, tips for marketing farm products, women's health issues and much more. In addition to the U.S. farm women, guests from South Africa also attended the meeting.
"Many of them commented that they got the most out of the conference by networking and sharing stories with other Farm Bureau women from around the country," Beaty said. "They learned that although each state and county Farm Bureau is different, many of the challenges and issues faced by Farm Bureau women are nearly the same," he added.
In his remarks at the conference's opening session, AFBF president Bob Stallman said the organization needs strong women leaders, both within women's leadership programs and elsewhere in the organization. He issued a challenge to the women attendees.
"Crash through the old perception of Farm Bureau being a good ol' boys club," Stallman said. "Make this organization one that people think of first when the words 'women, agriculture and opportunity,' are linked in a sentence. Your Farm Bureaus – whether county, state or even AFBF – will be better off due to your positive input and leadership."
The next National Women's Leadership Conference is being planned for an east coast location in the spring of 2010.
For more information about the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's women's program, contact Dale Beaty at (608) 828-5714.