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Ag conference to focus on success in changing world


Women involved in farming, ranching and agribusiness are encouraged to attend the 2013 edition of Women Managing the Farm Conference Feb. 7 to 8.

The conference will be held in Manhattan, Kan., at the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center. Previous locations have been in Wichita and Hutchinson.

Moving the conference to the university community will increase delegates' access to experts at Kansas State University, said Janet Barrows, who is serving as volunteer chairperson for the conference. For example, Vincent Amanor-Boadu, associate professor in agribusiness economics and management in the Department of Agricultural Economics in the College of Agriculture at K-State, will speak about "Women Transforming Management: Re-Imagining the 21st Century Farm Business."

In considering the traditions that have come to define rural America and agriculture, Amanor-Boadu noted to sustain the values nurtured over past decades, women managers will need to actively engage in transforming how agriculture and the agri-food chain is managed.

"Doing so will require educating ourselves about our consumers and the industrial customers, and determining how we as resource and input providers can take advantage of their idiosyncrasies," he said.

Amanor-Boadu, who speaks on business and entrepreneurship, compared this concept to the tech industries' success in recent years, and promised strategies that can foster success.

Virginia Moxley, dean of the College of Human Ecology at K-State, also is a featured speaker at this year's conference. She will offer insight into achieving life balance, in "Balancing it All."

In balancing work, family and community, yet also making time to nurture oneself, Moxley can speak from experience: She is well-known for creating educational opportunities to improve the quality of life and health for families. She works tirelessly to help others; yet, she also is a wife, mother and successful agribusiness partner.

Jolene Brown, a nationally known advocate for agriculture and featured speaker at previous conferences, will lead off the conference with a realistic look at agriculture and family life in today's world, and suggest ideas for managing stress, keeping peace in the family and moving forward successfully.

The two-day conference includes more than two dozen breakout sessions on a variety of topics and opportunities to network with others who share similar challenges, Barrows said.

This year, attendees also have the option of attending a one-day pre-conference session, "Blue Jean Basics," which is recommended for women who are new to agribusiness or who have previously been unable to attend short courses at K-State.

The session will offer two educational tracks:

--Mindy Young, K-State Research and Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Doniphan County, will lead an animal science session featuring best practices for managing a successful livestock operation.

--Jeanne Falk, a K-State Research and Extension multi-county agronomy specialist based in Colby, Kan., will lead the crops track.

According to Young, the sessions will combine lectures and hands-on experiences, and that's why blue jeans are recommended.

Cost to attend the conference is $170; cost to attend "Blue Jean Basics" pre-conference session is $40.

More information about conference, sessions and registration is available at www.womenmanagingthefarm.info.

The conference hotel (Hilton Garden Inn) will offer a limited of rooms at a conference rate ($104 plus tax). Reservations can be made at 785-532-9116. The conference code is WMFC.

Date: 1/28/2013

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