WSU conference brings women in agriculture together to network and learn

WINTHROP – On Saturday, Jan. 25, the 2020 Women in Agriculture Conference will offer women in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii an 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 women 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, according to WSU Douglas & Chelan County Extension Director and chair of the conference, Margaret Viebrock. 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 3 Bears Café & Quilt Shop- 414 Riverside Ave, Winthrop, WA 98862. For information and questions please contact our WSU Okanogan County Extension Director, Kayla Wells, at or 509-422-7245. Visit the website at www.womeninag.wsu.edufor 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, Viebrock added.

Last year, nearly 500 women attended,” said Viebrock. “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 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 January 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 contact Margaret Viebrock at 509-745-8531 or