Conserving Ag’s Future Together
Iowa Women in Agriculture Conference
By KRISS NELSON
Bringing a wide variety of up-to-date issues surrounding the world of agriculture today will be focus of an upcoming Iowa Women in Agriculture conference.
“Conserving Ag’s Future Together” is the theme of the conference scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 5 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny starting at 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We are looking forward to the conference and getting together in person again after doing it virtually last year,” said Cheryl Tevis, president of the Iowa Women in Agriculture volunteer board.
Tevis said at each conference they try to cover the basic topics including marketing, financial and tax planning.
“We also try to look for timely topics,” she said. “We look for ways that women can learn together and bring something back to the farm.”
Keynote speaker is Landus Cooperative’s business unit leader, and former Iowa Farm Service Agency executive director, Amanda De Jong.
“She is going to highlight how data can help position Iowa farmers to participate in new carbon and soil health programs and also share her experiences as a woman to head the Iowa FSA,” said Tevis.
Sue Martin, CEO of AG and Investment Services, Inc. commodity analyst and an Iowa Public Broadcast’s Market to Market commentator, will offer her perspective and insights on the challenges of today’s current marketing environment.
This year, Tevis said one of the focuses is on the volatility of weather.
Dr. Beth Hall, Indiana State Climatologist at Purdue University will deliver a timely focus on climate trends, outlooks and the impact of climate on agriculture, with the goal of achieving environmental sustainability and global food security.
“We think we are going to have some good information that is going to be very helpful,” said Tevis.
During the luncheon portion of the event, participants will enjoy a give-and-take of their own personal pandemic perspectives, “What’s Your New Normal?”
Following lunch, attendees can choose two of the three following afternoon breakout sessions and presenters:
– Dr. Emily Brunner, American Farmland Trust Midwest science director and Dr. DeAnn Presley, Kansas State University professor of environmental soil science and management, will share the tangible benefits of soil health improvements.
– Angie Treptow, Farm Credit Services of America regional vice-president for east central Iowa will offer a financial overview as well as key coping strategies.
– A workshop will be led by Mary Kate Thatcher, a former American Farm Bureau veteran lobbyist and currently Syngenta’s senior lead for Federal government relations. Tevis said Thatcher will talk to the group about what policies are facing legislation such as estate tax, capital gains, climate, the Clean Water Act, H2A worker reform and other critical issues involving agriculture.
The capstone speaker is Amada Radke, an ag advocate and fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, South Dakota.
“She will talk about advocating for agriculture as consumers and also as a cattle rancher from South Dakota she will talk about how does livestock fit into the climate message that agriculture and farmers want to give,” said Tevis.
Prior to the conference on Aug. 5, there is a pre-conference tour on Wednesday, Aug. 4. Hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Agriculture program, the tour features the new ISU Poultry Science Farm and the ISU Horticulture Research Station.
There will also be a complimentary Wine and Cheese welcome and networking reception on Aug. 4 at 4-6:30 p.m. at Prairie Moon Winery in Ames. Katie Olthoff, co-founder of ChopLocal, and a former IWIA board member, will share her experiences of launching the “Etsy of meat” startup marketplace.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, participants are asked to provide their own transportation. Route information and addresses will be included in tour registration materials.
Early bird registration is $50 until Aug. 2 and $70 after that date. Registration includes the pre-conference tour, evening welcome reception, continental breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Early bird registration is required for those attending the pre-conference tour. For questions about the tour, contact Madeline Schultz at 515-294-0588.
For conference information, contact Tevis at 515-353-4425 or visit www.iowawomeninag.org.
About the conference
Tevis said there are some unique underlying factors about the conference.
“It is the fact that we are primarily a woman-centered conference, we certainly welcome men to attend and we also respect their expertise in being part of the agenda,” she said. “But, we really do focus on women presenters at the conference. We feel that we do this because women tell us they enjoy learning together. They enjoy asking questions among each other rather in an audience of men and women. I think that is one of the unique factors that we can offer.”
Tevis also pointed out the conference and the IWIA is not a membership organization, therefore limiting the attendance to members.
“We open to everyone who is farming, landowners or works for an agribusiness,” she said. “We are wide open to anybody to attend the conference.”
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