Another successful South Dakota Women in Agriculture Conference is in the books! Living the Legacy You Want to Leave was our theme for the October 6th and 7th event. Attendees were greeted by the autumn colors of the Black Hills as Keystone was our destination. The K bar S Lodge was this years conference venue.
An optional pre-conference activity was a ride and lunch on the 1880 Train. I didn’t go on the train ride as I was helping set up. Ellen, one of the board members, made a variety of colorful centerpieces. I aided her in decorating the conference room. Another assignment I had was making sure we had the appropriate technology and helping our speakers get their presentations up and running.
At 4:30 Codi, WIA president, kicked off conference with a warm welcome. Denny Everson was our first speaker. Denny is an alumnus of South Dakota State University. He has been very active in the agriculture and banking industries and the South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership program. Mr. Everson’s presentation was “Leadership is for Everyone”.
Pictures: 1) WIA Board Members Amy and Kerry talking about the awards program. 2) Ag Woman of the Year winner, Laurie, and Board Member Jenn. 3) Young Gun Award Winner, Payton, and People’s Choice Winner, Tiffani.
After the awards supper the ladies participated in creative learning activities. This years activities included, Sip-n-Paint, creating quirky greeting cards and sewing an ipad bag or table runner.
Every year our committee does a Pay it Forward project. This year we collected toiletries and put together “blessing bags” to distribute to shelters in our state.
Friday morning our featured speaker was Jenny Dewey Rohrich. Jenny is a Northern California girl who grew up in her family’s meat market. She now lives with her husband, a third generation North Dakota farmer, on the prairie. Jenny’s blog, Prairie Californian, is her avenue towards bridging the gap between consumer and ag producers. Writer, photographer, recipe developer, ag-vocate are all hats Jenny wears.
Elizabeth Fraser, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and James M. Keegan, Medical Doctor were also Friday morning speakers. Dr. Fraser talked to us about the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and antibiotic stewardship for livestock.
Dr. Keegan and Randee Mason, RN, BSN, CPHQ, gave us insight about human usage of antibiotics and the research they are conducting concerning good bacteria and antibiotic usage in hospitals.
After lunch we had a panel discussion between Jenny, Dr. Fraser, Dr. Keegan and Nurse Randee. Denny Everson was the moderator. Many sophisticated questions were directed towards Dr. Keegan about human usage of antibiotics and the correct usage of them. Dr. Fraser gave great insight about the same issues via animal usage.
Denny dug deeper into leadership on Friday afternoon. The ladies filled out work sheets about their personal top two or three issues that keep them awake at night. The sheets were collected and grouped into similar topics. Those issues were voted on by the group and narrowed down to four. We broke into four groups, were given an issue and did a SWAT analysis. These ladies brainstormed and came up with awesome ideas concerning major issues facing agriculture today.
Conference wrapped up with door prizes, silent auction results and final thoughts. After conference our committee cleaned up and had a recap of the event. We had a lot of positive evaluations, a few good suggestions for next year.
After visiting with ranch and farm wives, women in agriculture office jobs and professional positions there is no doubt that we are making a positive difference on our operations, in our communities and within the ag industry. It takes a variety of people to build a strong culture. It takes a community who cares working together to make a difference. Women involved in agriculture are a passionate group that are leaders in their communities, helping their peers and educating consumers about where their food comes from. These individuals are leaving a legacy living and sharing their energy, knowledge and passion. Women in Ag 2017’s theme is “Do Big Things.” I think we are well on our way to doing big things in our every day living and networking.