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Women in Agriculture conference: 21 locations statewide

Feb 1st, 2013 | Category: Features

This year’s Women in Agriculture conference, “Growing Your Successful Farm Business,” will take place at 21 locations across the state on Saturday, Feb. 23. The statewide conference offers speakers, practical advice, and collaborative discussion on how to improve farm management skills in addition to networking opportunities with other women. The keynote speaker will be broadcast to all locations, followed by local panelists and financial experts at each location.

This year's keynote speaker is Trini Campbell, owner of Riverdog Farm in Guinda, California. COURTESY PHOTO

WSU Douglas County Extension Director and conference chair Margaret Viebrock said this 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, California, will share her experiences beginning to farm in 1990 on two rented acres to being the co-owner of a diverse 500-acre organic farm about 100 miles northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area. Campbell will discuss her strategies for facing farming’s multiple challenges of managing labor, financial planning, 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 resilience and survival techniques during economic downturns. This session, lead by a financial expert in each location, will focus on working capital and what it means to your farm.

According to Viebrock, while many have the skills to grow wonderful crops and livestock, many farms lack the skills necessary for good decision-making including how you can use your financial records to improve your 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.

All five northwest counties are participating – Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island and San Juan – at separate locations. (Last year, Whatcom and Skagit shared the Skagit site.) Other areas across the state participating are: Bremerton, Chehalis, Colville, Goldendale, Nespelem,  Olympia, Port Angeles, Prosser, Pullman, Puyallup, Rosburg, Spokane, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and Yakima.

JoanE McIntyre from Rent’s Due Ranch & Osborne Seed will speak at the Snohomish location, and the Whatcom location features Dorie Belisle of Bellewood Acres, Angie Costani from Curt Maberry Farm and Joy Rubey from Acme Farms + Kitchen. Remaining local panelists are still being confirmed as of press time.

Registration for the conference is $25 ($35 after Feb. 18) and includes a copy of the book “Farmer Jane – Women Changing the Way We Eat” and a light breakfast and catered lunch. The conference begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.

For more information or to register, visit www.womeninag.wsu.edu. Contact Margaret Viebrock at (509) 745-8531 or viebrock@wsu.edu.

County information

Local panelists and other details were still being confirmed as of press time. For more information, contact your respective county:

Island: WSU Extension, 101 NE 6th Street, Coupeville. Contact Tim Lawrence at (360) 679-7323 or timothy.lawrence@wsu.edu.

San Juan: Skagit Valley Community College – Community Room, 221 Weber Way, Friday Harbor. Contact Candace Jagel, WSU Extension, at (360) 370-7664 or candace_jagel@wsu.edu.

Skagit: WSU Mount Vernon, 16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon. Contact Sarita Schaffer, WSU Extension, sschaffer@wsu.edu, or Leigh Newman-Bell, Viva Farms, (360) 707-3223 or leighnb@gmail.com.

Snohomish: Waltz Building Community Hall, 116 Avenue B, Snohomish. Contact Mary Embelton, Cascade Harvest Coalition, (206) 632-0606 or mary@oz.net, or Kate Halstead, WSU Extension, (425) 357-6024 or khalstead@wsu.edu.

Whatcom: Bellewood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian Drive, Bellingham. Contact Tanya Dostal, Farm Service Agency at (360) 428-4322 or tanya.dostal@wa.usda.gov.

For other location details, visit womeninag.wsu.edu.

Published in the February 2013 issue of Grow Northwest magazine

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