BOZEMAN — Montana State University will be one of the hosts for the 2020 Women in Agriculture conference, which will be held in several locations on Jan. 25 and focus on topics related to women in the industry.

The conference, an interactive one-day event, will happen simultaneously in 34 locations around Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Each location will host networking opportunities for participants, hold a local farmer and rancher discussion panel and provide lunch. Webinar participants can interact with keynote speakers live-streamed from across the Pacific Northwest and Midwest. Locations in Montana include Bozeman at the MSU Extension Gallatin County office, 903 N. Black Ave., within the fairgrounds; Great Falls at Northwest Farm Credit Services, 700 River Drive S.; and Dillon at Northwest Farm Credit Services, 134 E. Reeder St.

Photo provided by MSU Extension.

The conference is designed to help women in agriculture develop a self-care plan and understand the connections between a healthy person and a healthy farm. This year’s theme, “Healthy Farms,” will cover the topic of cultivating personal resiliency to handle the ups and downs as a woman and farmer.

Conference speakers will include Brenda Mack, a third generation Minnesota farmer who is also a behavior and wellness professor at Bemidji State University; Shauna Reitmeier, a third generation farmer who specializes in behavioral health with the Northwest Mental Health Center in Minnesota; and Sue Schneider, a Colorado State University Extension agent who will teach about making mindful, non-reactive farming and personal decisions.

Each conference location will include a panel of women in agriculture who will explain how they developed their own self-care plans, deal with day-to-day events and make mindful decisions that helped them succeed in their operations. The discussion panel in Bozeman will include Caroline Reese of Little Creek Lamb in Townsend and JaTanna Williams of Ranch Wives Beef Co. in Three Forks.

“For those who work with the land, there is often no break between when you’re working and when you’re not, plus activities are often dictated by things beyond your control like the weather, markets or recent policy decisions,” says Dominique Woodham, MSU Extension agent in Gallatin County, and host in Bozeman. “It’s important whether you are a farmer, rancher, firefighter, logger or land manager to be able to recognize stresses in your life so they can be dealt with, or you can seek help. This conference is an opportunity to meet like-minded people with shared experiences and learn tools to help with life balance.”

The conference is designed for women who are currently farming as well as new and aspiring farmers. Spouses, students, interns or people who own an agriculture-related business are also welcome, as are financial lenders, who can learn the best practices for financial management.

Registration is $30 until Jan. 17 and $35 afterward. The fee includes the workshop, light breakfast, lunch and conference materials. For more information and to register, visit www.womeninag.wsu.edu.

- By MSU News Service -