ROSBURG, Wash. - Washington's women farmers will soon have a unique opportunity to attend a locally-based statewide agriculture conference offering speakers, practical advice and collaborative discussion about how to improve farm management skills in addition to networking opportunities with other women "farmtrepreneurs."
"Growing Your Successful Farm Business" will be held Saturday, Feb. 23, at 21 different locations throughout the state, including at Johnson Park (the old Rosburg School), at 30 Rosburg School Road. The conference begins at 8 a.m. with a light breakfast, and ends at 4 p.m., with a catered lunch available for $8.
"Women are uniquely tasked with the demands of farm, family, even a job, which can make long-distance travel a challenge," said Washington State University (WSU) Douglas County Extension Director and conference chair Margaret Viebrock. "This new approach allows us to offer our headline speaker at all locations, while also giving each site the opportunity to customize programming to address the farming challenges unique to that region."
Keynote speaker Trini Campbell, owner of Riverdog Farm in Guinda, Calif., will share her experiences in farming beginning in 1990 on two rented acres to now owning a diverse 500-acre organic farm in the prime agriculture area called the Capay Valley just north of San Francisco. Campbell will discuss her strategies for facing farming's multiple challenges of managing labor, financial planning and dealing with crop loss and market instability, while still maintaining a balance with family obligations.
Another session focuses on helping producers become better prepared financially to take advantage of opportunities to grow as well as survival techniques during economic downturns. This session, led by a financial expert in each location, will focus on working capital and what it means to individual farms. According to Viebrock, women producers have the skills to grow wonderful crops and livestock, but they have requested assistance with financial management to help them make better farm business decisions and how to use financial records to improve the farm's bottom line. In addition, a local producer panel at each location will discuss their own personal risks, challenges and opportunities, including the strategies and financial tools they use to manage risk.
Registration for the conference is $25 if purchased online or at the door. Registration includes a copy of the book "Farmer Jane - Women Changing the Way We Eat," and a catered lunch. For a list of all locations, links to register online, and/or download a registration form, visit www.womeninag.wsu.edu
Conference sponsorship comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the WSU Extension Western Center for Risk Management Education.