Posted February 17, 2022
Fancy cowgirls and ag professionals alike gathered together in Manhattan February 10-11, for the 2022 Women Managing the Farm Conference. From new mothers to proud grandmothers, the conference provided updates on critical farm management topics, introductions to new practices and the opportunity to reconnect with peers.
“Since 2005, Women Managing the Farm has brought together Kansas women who are working to grow their businesses and create positive changes in their communities,” said Marsha Boswell, Kansas Wheat vice president of communications. “This year’s conference offered attendees not only the chance to learn more about risk management tools and professional resources but also come together again with others working in similar roles in Kansas agriculture.”
Courtenay DeHoff — a television personality, keynote speaker and podcast host known as “Fancy Lady Cowgirl” — kicked off the conference by discussing how she celebrates a cowgirl spirit and an urban lifestyle. She encouraged attendees to embrace both the commonalities of those with ties to agriculture and the attributes that make them “fancy” and unique.
During Thursday’s luncheon, DeHoff moderated a panel of Kansas leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges they faced over their career paths. Panelists included Kelsey Olson, Deputy Secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture; Meagan Cramer, Kansas Farm Bureau director of communications and marketing; and Karol Fike, Kansas State University faculty member in the Department of Animal Science.
Friday’s breakfast keynote focused on the mechanics of building a farm legacy. Shannon Ferrell, professor at Oklahoma State University, led a stimulating call to action for farm families to develop a farm transition approach and create the mechanisms needed to make those transitions successful.
The conference ended with an agricultural economic outlook by Tanner Ehmke, a CoBank economist. From inflation to commodity prices to nitrogen, Ehmke broke down the macroeconomic factors influencing both farm prices and the U.S. economy. Attendees left with a clearer picture of how to position their operations to take advantage of current low interest rates and higher commodity price projections while guarding against inflation and steep increases in farm input prices.
Additional breakout sessions throughout the two-day conference focused on on-farm management issues, opportunities to explore cover crops and soil health and discussions of physical and mental health resources for rural Americans.
A particular highlight for conference attendees was the networking roundtables, which allowed attendees to connect with other women working in similar roles within agriculture. Agriculture partners discussed the challenges of farm decision-making, while agriculture industry career women coalesced around the changes in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other roundtables gathered independent agriculture producers, agriculture helpers, absentee landowners and business managers. The sessions, like the entire conference, offered women the chance to reconnect and re-inspire each other for tackling agriculture’s challenges and exploring new growth opportunities.
Missed the conference? Mark the calendars for next year’s Women Managing the Farm Conference, scheduled for February 15 to 17, 2023. Keep up with conference updates at http://womenmanagingthefarm.com/ and follow the conference on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/womenmanagingthefarm.
Written by Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat