Posted February 18, 2021
From homesteading the Kansas prairie to developing new ways to market products to today’s consumers, women have played a critical role in the success of Kansas agriculture. The annual Women Managing the Farm Conference provides a supportive setting for women to develop the skills, resources and knowledge needed for success in a competitive agricultural environment.
“From day-to-day decisions to record-keeping and financial management, women are heavily engaged in American agriculture,” said Marsha Boswell, a past conference chair and vice president of communications for Kansas Wheat. “The ultimate goal of the Women Managing the Farm Conference is to provide women with the tools they need to manage their farm investment and thrive in rural communities.”
Kansas is home to nearly 32,700 women agricultural producers, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Nationwide, 36 percent of U.S. farmers are women and more than half (56 percent) of all farms have at least one female decision-maker.
The Women Managing the Farm Conference, started in 2005, gathers these women farmers with rural business leaders and landowners for learning sessions and networking — this year in a virtual setting. Kansas Wheat was a gold sponsor for the event.
Over the three-day event from February 10-12, 2021, sessions discussed personal motivation, tractor and equipment maintenance, urban agriculture and inner-city food desserts, handling stress, entrepreneurship, grain and livestock marketing, family communication, financial management, healthcare, family dynamics, farm succession planning, livestock fencing, direct marketing and more.
The conference kicked off with Matt Rush, an inspirational speaker and author, providing motivation to continue connecting and innovating with others in agriculture. Naomi Blohm, a specialist in helping farmers understand their cash marketing needs, broke down how farmers can better understand and manage their cash flow. LaVell Winsor, K-State farm analyst, and Robin Reid, K-State Extension farm economist, discussed how to determine the cost of production and strategies for developing and implementing a marketing plan. Mary Kay Thatcher, a former lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation who is now on the government relations team for Syngenta, provided insights on how the 2020 election will impact the agricultural industry.
New this year, the conference added a digital resource library of videos and materials to help put the ideas in these sessions into action in their operations and daily lives. Combined, these resources will provide support throughout the year for the women who work to continually advance American agriculture.
Keep up to date with Women Managing the Farm at Facebook.com/WomenManagingtheFarm.
Written by Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat