Rural Women in Ag Conference | TheFencePost.com

Rural Women in Ag Conference

Melissa Burke
Rapid City, S.D.

Jewelry making was one of the activities enjoyed during Fun Night.

The spectacular fall colors of Spearfish Canyon greeted nearly 60 attendees of the annual Rural Women in Ag Conference, held September 29-30, at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge near Lead, S.D.

To kick off the conference on Thursday afternoon, three workshops were offered in which the selections included Digital Photography Basics, Getting it Printed and What is New in 2011 Taxes. Participants were able to choose two of these.

Professional outdoor photographer Les Voorhis of Spearfish, S.D., was the instructor for the photography workshop. He led the class outside the conference room and down a short hiking trail to nearby Spearfish Falls, a 150 foot waterfall. Along the trail he answered questions and pointed out possible photo subjects, meanwhile explaining ways to best capture these on film. He also described how to use both natural lighting plus camera flash to emphasize the different effects they give.

Letitia (Letti) Lister, publisher of the Black Hills Pioneer newspaper, offered advice on how to get media outlets to notice your story. “There isn’t a paper out there that is not interested in the agriculture industry,” said Lister. One of the problems, she explained, is that often a story doesn’t grab her attention right away. She added that sometimes the information given is not clear enough.

Freelance writer Kindra Gordon addressed the class as well. She spoke about how to bridge the gap between people involved in agriculture and those who are not. She suggested that a good place to start is with the local schools. Read an ag-based book to the children. Or use a science or health class as a chance to illustrate an ag-related activity, such as vaccinating animals. Other ways include building a relationship with the media, or even hosting a tour of your farm or ranch.

After dinner, Sociology professor Dr. Sid Goss of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City gave an entertaining yet eye-opening discussion called Generations in the Workplace. These four generations are often referred to as the Traditionals (born before 1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1945-1963), Generation Y (1964-1980), and the Millenials (1981-2000). Dr. Goss explained that each generation has its own way of looking at things based on what experiences they grew up with. This in turn can manifest itself in the way they deal with one another in the workplace.

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The remainder of the evening was spent enjoying Fun Night. Activities included making aprons from old shirts, massage, jewelry making, and making pin cushions and needle cases.

Friday morning featured keynote speaker Jolene Brown. She is an active partner on a corn and soybean farm in Iowa, and an award winning communicator who has made numerous guest appearances for television and radio broadcasts. Her work has also been featured in several major agricultural publications.

Brown began by describing how both the pace of life and the people living it have changed. She listed five things that people today value. First is time; everyone wishes for more time. Second is youth, indicated by the popularity of plastic surgery, Botox, and collagen treatments. Next is health, indicated in part by the surge in supplement usage. Fourth is safety, and fifth is an experience. Brown made suggestions as to how the agriculture industry can facilitate these values. For example, animal identification and animal health products can help ensure food safety. An experience can be provided through shopping at a farmers market or joining a 4-H club.

Brown also gave a presentation on the Facts of Life as they pertain to growing a family business. She stressed that in order to make a family business work, priorities must be in order. “It should be a business-first family and not a family-first business,” she emphasized. While acceptance in a family is unconditional, acceptance in a business is conditional. A family business is not a place to rehabilitate a family member who may be angry, lazy or addicted.

Before a family business can get off the ground, the senior generation must be ready and willing to share or even pass on the responsibilities. There should be a clear vision as well as common goals. Put plans in writing and be sure to inform all family members of them, not just the ones who are in the business. “With family, more – not less – needs to be in writing,” cautioned Brown.

In regard to employees of the family business, values and expectations remain the same as for any employee. Be on time, be honest, communicate, cooperate, seek solutions to problems, and perhaps most importantly, maintain a sense of humor.

Richelle Hofer, Associate Wealth Advisor for Cornerstone Financial Solutions, was the next speaker with The Positive Side of Wealth Management. She reminded the audience of the importance of estate and investment planning. Estate planning makes your wishes clear, helps in avoiding disputes, preserves assets, and provides for loved ones following your death. Without it you can’t control what happens to your property.

Hofer also advised making a folder to include materials such as your will, funeral service preferences, financial suggestions, and letters to family members to be delivered to them upon key events in their lives.

The final speaker for the day was Patrick Garrity of the Value Added Ag Development Center in Yankton, S.D. His session was titled Buy Fresh, Buy Local. This proposal was actually introduced at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. In 2008 it was adopted in South Dakota.

The driving force behind Buy Fresh, Buy Local was the fact that the entire midwest area was still shipping food 1,500 miles away, while at the same time importing 90 percent for its own use. Most local foods are sold at farmers markets. Others go to grocery stores and institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. Garrity stated that a family spends $3,000 per year on food, and 63.8 percent of this comes from grocery stores. Selling more of it locally, then, is a huge economic development. “I have never seen agriculture look as positive as it does in the next 20 years,” he said. The first step is education and exposure to the population.

Sponsors for this year’s conference included Farm Credit Services of America, Farm Bureau, Grand Electric Cooperative Inc./ West River Telephone Co., First Interstate Bank, The Cattle Business Weekly, Land O Lakes Purina Feed, Pioneer Bank and Trust, and the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service.

The spectacular fall colors of Spearfish Canyon greeted nearly 60 attendees of the annual Rural Women in Ag Conference, held September 29-30, at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge near Lead, S.D.

To kick off the conference on Thursday afternoon, three workshops were offered in which the selections included Digital Photography Basics, Getting it Printed and What is New in 2011 Taxes. Participants were able to choose two of these.

Professional outdoor photographer Les Voorhis of Spearfish, S.D., was the instructor for the photography workshop. He led the class outside the conference room and down a short hiking trail to nearby Spearfish Falls, a 150 foot waterfall. Along the trail he answered questions and pointed out possible photo subjects, meanwhile explaining ways to best capture these on film. He also described how to use both natural lighting plus camera flash to emphasize the different effects they give.

Letitia (Letti) Lister, publisher of the Black Hills Pioneer newspaper, offered advice on how to get media outlets to notice your story. “There isn’t a paper out there that is not interested in the agriculture industry,” said Lister. One of the problems, she explained, is that often a story doesn’t grab her attention right away. She added that sometimes the information given is not clear enough.

Freelance writer Kindra Gordon addressed the class as well. She spoke about how to bridge the gap between people involved in agriculture and those who are not. She suggested that a good place to start is with the local schools. Read an ag-based book to the children. Or use a science or health class as a chance to illustrate an ag-related activity, such as vaccinating animals. Other ways include building a relationship with the media, or even hosting a tour of your farm or ranch.

After dinner, Sociology professor Dr. Sid Goss of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City gave an entertaining yet eye-opening discussion called Generations in the Workplace. These four generations are often referred to as the Traditionals (born before 1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1945-1963), Generation Y (1964-1980), and the Millenials (1981-2000). Dr. Goss explained that each generation has its own way of looking at things based on what experiences they grew up with. This in turn can manifest itself in the way they deal with one another in the workplace.

The remainder of the evening was spent enjoying Fun Night. Activities included making aprons from old shirts, massage, jewelry making, and making pin cushions and needle cases.

Friday morning featured keynote speaker Jolene Brown. She is an active partner on a corn and soybean farm in Iowa, and an award winning communicator who has made numerous guest appearances for television and radio broadcasts. Her work has also been featured in several major agricultural publications.

Brown began by describing how both the pace of life and the people living it have changed. She listed five things that people today value. First is time; everyone wishes for more time. Second is youth, indicated by the popularity of plastic surgery, Botox, and collagen treatments. Next is health, indicated in part by the surge in supplement usage. Fourth is safety, and fifth is an experience. Brown made suggestions as to how the agriculture industry can facilitate these values. For example, animal identification and animal health products can help ensure food safety. An experience can be provided through shopping at a farmers market or joining a 4-H club.

Brown also gave a presentation on the Facts of Life as they pertain to growing a family business. She stressed that in order to make a family business work, priorities must be in order. “It should be a business-first family and not a family-first business,” she emphasized. While acceptance in a family is unconditional, acceptance in a business is conditional. A family business is not a place to rehabilitate a family member who may be angry, lazy or addicted.

Before a family business can get off the ground, the senior generation must be ready and willing to share or even pass on the responsibilities. There should be a clear vision as well as common goals. Put plans in writing and be sure to inform all family members of them, not just the ones who are in the business. “With family, more – not less – needs to be in writing,” cautioned Brown.

In regard to employees of the family business, values and expectations remain the same as for any employee. Be on time, be honest, communicate, cooperate, seek solutions to problems, and perhaps most importantly, maintain a sense of humor.

Richelle Hofer, Associate Wealth Advisor for Cornerstone Financial Solutions, was the next speaker with The Positive Side of Wealth Management. She reminded the audience of the importance of estate and investment planning. Estate planning makes your wishes clear, helps in avoiding disputes, preserves assets, and provides for loved ones following your death. Without it you can’t control what happens to your property.

Hofer also advised making a folder to include materials such as your will, funeral service preferences, financial suggestions, and letters to family members to be delivered to them upon key events in their lives.

The final speaker for the day was Patrick Garrity of the Value Added Ag Development Center in Yankton, S.D. His session was titled Buy Fresh, Buy Local. This proposal was actually introduced at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. In 2008 it was adopted in South Dakota.

The driving force behind Buy Fresh, Buy Local was the fact that the entire midwest area was still shipping food 1,500 miles away, while at the same time importing 90 percent for its own use. Most local foods are sold at farmers markets. Others go to grocery stores and institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. Garrity stated that a family spends $3,000 per year on food, and 63.8 percent of this comes from grocery stores. Selling more of it locally, then, is a huge economic development. “I have never seen agriculture look as positive as it does in the next 20 years,” he said. The first step is education and exposure to the population.

Sponsors for this year’s conference included Farm Credit Services of America, Farm Bureau, Grand Electric Cooperative Inc./ West River Telephone Co., First Interstate Bank, The Cattle Business Weekly, Land O Lakes Purina Feed, Pioneer Bank and Trust, and the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service.