Women in AG conference set for March

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


The second annual the second annual Women in Agriculture Conference that will be held at the Washington County Fairgrounds on March 24, with ?The Power of You,? being the theme. The event is hosted by Washington County Extension and Outreach along with the Washington County Women in Agriculture Advisory Board.

Nancy Adrian, Washington County Extension director, said the goal of this year?s conference is to show women of all ages the power they can have in their chosen agricultural field in sharing their story in agriculture, even in the simplest of day-to-day activities and conversations.

?We were very pleased with the results of the first one,? she said. ?We had about 100 people in attendance and got rave reviews.?

Adrian said that the origins of the conference had begun years ago when a donor had contacted the extension office and said her ancestors had lived in Washington County and that she wished to help the extension fund more women in agriculture programs. The extension partnered with her and have increased their programs for women in agriculture. The conference was the result of some of that work.

?We hope attendees will be able to take away an understanding of the true power they have to inspire others and implement new ideas, and also just focus on the future of agriculture,? Rebecca Vittetoe, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist, said. ?Everyone?s voice is important to tell the story of agriculture and being an advocate for agriculture.?

The conference will feature the following five speakers: April Hemmes, a fourth-generation farmer; Barbara Hall and Kathryn Gamble, author and photographer of Women and the Land; Cristen Clarke, farmer, wife, mother, blogger, and award winning cook and baker; Dr. Ruth MacDonald, the former chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and newly appointed interim senior associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University; and Kristine Tidgren, director of the Center for AG Law and Taxation at Iowa State University. Hemmes, Hall, and Clarke will focus on the importance of telling agriculture?s story and why people need to know about what we do in agriculture. Hall and Gamble?s book feature several women from southeast Iowa. MacDonald and Tidgren will provide attendees with talking points that attendees can use to in sharing agriculture?s story. MacDonald will focus on consumer perceptions of food and biotechnology while Tidgren will focus on current legal issues in agriculture.

Registration for the conference starts at 8:30 a.m., with the conference kicking off at 9 a.m. The conference will conclude around 3 p.m. Registration to attend the conference is $25 or $15 for students. You can register by calling the Washington County Extension Office at 319-653-4811 or online at The registration deadline is March 16. Late registrations and walk-in registrations will be accepted based on availability.

The conference is being made possible in large part thanks to: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Azariah and Martha Foster Heritage Endowment, Hills Bank and Trust Company and other local sponsors.