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Third Annual Women in Ag Network Conference on February 15

By Megan L. Roberts, Extension Educator

The Women in Ag Network is excited to announce our third annual conference on February 15, 2018 in St. Cloud, MN at the Holiday Inn and Suites. Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. with conference programming from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This third annual event will be a day of learning and networking for women involved in agriculture. Our theme is “Overcoming Adversity.” The theme was selected to be a relevant and timely topic as farmers and agriculture face lower commodity prices and economic challenges.

Katie Pinke, publisher of AgWeek and blogger of The Pinke Post, is our keynote speaker.  Her presentation, “Accepting Interruptions to Define Your Path Forward,” will highlight that even the most well-orchestrated plans aren’t exempt from interruptions on the farm or off the farm. In this time of agricultural adversity, Katie will help attendees define their best path forward through life’s pivotal moments. Katie will draw upon trials and triumphs in her personal life and ag business career throughout her presentation.

Breakout sessions will feature five diverse tracks for attendees to choose from: farm business planning, stress management on farms, consumer advocacy, risk management, and farm safety and health. The day will end with a panel discussion with panelists sharing how they have overcome adversity, whether it be a health challenge, weather event, farm transition, or other farm challenge. Below is a list of our breakout sessions and speakers.

Business Planning
1. Joleen Hadrich, Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor of Applied Economics – Creating Well-Defined Goals and Job Responsibilities in a Multi-Generational Farm

2. Megan Roberts, Extension Educator in Agricultural Business Management – Multi-generational Communication Considerations in Farm Transition and Business Planning

Stress Management on Farms
1. Denise Stromme, Extension Educator in Leadership and Civic Engagement - Don't Just Get by...THRIVE, a workshop utilizing the PERMA Model of positive psychology
2. Ted Matthews, Therapist and Director, Rural Mental Health Program with Meg Moynihan, Senior Advisor, Strategy & Innovation, Minnesota Department of Agriculture – Stress Management Strategies for Farmers

Communications and Consumer Advocacy
1. Krishona Martinson, Associate Professor and Equine Extension Specialist, University of Minnesota, Agricultural Communication Efforts in Digital Spaces 
2. Sherry Newell, Communication and Advocacy Strategies for Farmers

Risk Management
1. Working with Farm Lenders in Times of Financial Adversity. Panelists include: Jennifer Klaphake, Vice President of Lending, Freeport State Bank; Karissa Fettig, Financial Services Officer, AgCountry FCS; Jerry Hurrle, FSA Farm Loan Manager, Stearns County; and moderated by Pauline Van Nurden, Extension Economist, Center for Farm Financial Management.
2. Sara Koenig, Grain Farm Marketer, and colleague, Cargill – Grain Marketing as a Risk Management Strategy

Farm Safety and Health
1. Emily Wilmes, Extension Educator in Livestock, Benton, Stearns and Morrison Counties, and Carol Peterson, Project Coordinator Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center –Minnesota Farm Safety 101
2. Sarah Schieck, Extension Educator in Livestock, Swine – Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management for Farms

Pre-registration is required for the conference at The early bird rate is $50 until February 1, 2018. After that date, regular registrations are $65 and accepted until February 8. Students receive a special rate of $20. Scholarships for the registration fee are available due to the generosity of our sponsors, please contact Megan Roberts at if interested in a scholarship. Our WAGN sponsors are AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Compeer Financial, Minnesota Corn Growers, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and Minnesota Farmer's Union.

The Women in Ag Network is a collaboration between University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota’s Farm Service Agency. For more information please visit Feel free to contact Sarah Schieck ( or 320-235-0726 ext. 2004) or Megan Roberts ( or 507-389-6722) with questions.

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