Women's ag group spreading 'truth about agriculture'

Western Nebraska Agri-Women members Elaine Pile, Louise Lorent, Marla Marx, Barb Cross, Chabella Guzman, Janeene Brown and Mattie Brown (junior member) work their Farmer's Share Breakfast booth at the KNEB Farm and Ranch Expo.

SCOTTSBLUFF - An upcoming conference will give women who work in agriculture a chance to laugh, commiserate about their experience and learn tricks for making their lives easier.

Stronger Together, a Women in Agriculture Conference, will take place on Oct. 5 and will feature keynote speaker Jolene Brown, who is a leading family farm business consultant.

The conference will begin at 10 a.m. and will wrap up around 1 p.m. It will be held at the Western Nebraska Community College Harms Center.

The conference is hosted by Nebraska Extension and is inspired by Annie’s Project, a non-profit designed to make women stronger in their roles in agriculture.

Organizer and associate extension educator Jessica Groskopf said she felt the event is an opportunity to bring women together and let them know they’re not alone in their challenges.

“We have had a tough year here in the valley,” Groskopf said. “We started off with a big blizzard which led to a wet spring. We thought things were going to turn around, then there was the canal break and a major hail storm.”

While planning the conference, Groskopf and the steering committee discussed who they should bring in to speak.

“Jolene (Brown) immediately popped into my mind,” she said. “She’s a farmer, first and foremost. When you have farmers talking to farmers, that’s really powerful because they just get it.”

Brown definitely gets it. In the 80s, the farm crisis led to Brown losing a farm. Over the years, she’s run into a number of hardships. Most recently, her Iowa farm was also ravaged by the polar vortex that struck the area last spring.

“We moved snow four days out of seven and chipped ice the other three,” Brown said.

She said that being in agriculture requires some grit.

“I’d call it a roller coaster, but there aren’t than many peaks,” Brown said. “There have been a heck of a lot of valleys and they’ve been filled with water.”

Brown said that producers today are facing unique challenges with mother nature as well as global politics.

“If we’re strong together, it will help us ride this roller coaster,” she said.

She’ll make two presentations at the conference that she believes will give attendees a better sense of community as well as inspiration to keep moving forward, despite the obstacles that they may be facing.

The first, called Harvest the Humor: A Celebration of Life on Our Ranches and Farms, will cover “everything from going after parts to in-laws, from communication to a lack thereof,” Brown said.

In the second presentation, called the Balancing Act, Brown will teach attendees several ways to relieve stress and bring renewal to their farm or ranch.

“It’s 10 realistic things you can do that will bring you joy, laughter, perspective and camaraderie,” Brown said.

Groskopf encourages any woman who has a role in agriculture to attend the conference.

“If you’re involved in ag or you have a connection to a farm or ranch, you’re still in that decision making process and you probably need to hear what Jolene is speaking about,” Groskopf said. “She’s not just an inspirational speaker. You’re going to leave with real tools in your pocket that you can take back home and use as we finish out this crazy season and this crazy year.”

The cost to attend is $25 per person, which includes lunch and conference materials. Groskopf said that she’d like to have registrations turned in by Oct. 2.

“We may be able to do some registrations at the door if we have space available, but there’s no guarantee,” Groskopf said.

To register, call the office at 632-1276 or visit wia.unl.edu.

kamie.stephen@starherald.com

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Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

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