Morgan Ball, WIA Student Assistant
Saturday, March 25 was a rainy day, but that did not stop women’s smiles as they streamed into the Washington County Extension Office. More than 100 farm and industry women of all ages and backgrounds attended the First Annual Washington County Women in Agriculture Conference.
The conference idea originated with Julie Foster Van Camp’s passion for the land. Julie, a resident of the state of Washington, is a descendent of 1858 settlers in Washington County. To bring women back to their roots, Julie brought the conference idea to the Washington Women in Agriculture Advisory Board. The board partnered with the Washington County Extension Office and the first Annual Women in Agriculture Conference was born.
Jolene Brown, keynote speaker, kicked off the morning with a workshop called “Huff & Puff.” Based on The Three Little Pigs, this interactive session laid the foundation for ways to withstand challenges and surprises that test the family business. Jolene is a real Farmer Brown and a true champion for agriculture. She is a farmer, author, and professional speaker from West Branch, Iowa.
Jolene had the audience laughing, crying and learning! During her session “If We Huff and Puff, Will We Blow Your House Down?” participants learned the tools to transition labor, management and leadership.
During lunch the women heard from Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, Iowa State University Dean of Agriculture. She spoke from her own experience as a woman in agriculture. It was inspiring to hear and relate to Dr. Wintersteen as she shared her career path in agriculture.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program was one sponsor of the Washington County Women in Ag Conference. “It was great to see such a well-attended, local event. We were fortunate to hear two great presentations from Jolene Brown, Champion of Agriculture, and Dean Wintersteen provided great insight to her experiences,” said Lisa Scarbrough, ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Communication Specialist.
Jolene concluded the day with "A Balancing Act: Ten Ideas to Relieve Stress and Bring Renewal to Our Farm and Family Life."
“Women in agriculture are the doers,” said Jolene. “They have a sharp mind and a strong spine.”