NAMPA, Idaho—The second annual “Idaho Women in Agriculture Conference” will cover a wide variety of topics of interest to women involved in all aspects of the state’s farming industry.
“Our biggest challenge this year was narrowing the topics down to make them fit into one day,” said co-organizer Kelly Olson, administrator of the Idaho Barley Commission.
Olson said last year’s event drew about 85 women and organizers hope to meet or exceed that total this year.
The goal of the conference is not terribly profound, she said. “It’s an opportunity to bring women who work in Idaho’s largest industry together” to talk about the issues important to them and learn from each other.
The conference will take place Feb. 22 at the Nampa Civic Center from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
An event news release said the conference allows women to share their experiences and unique perspectives on the challenges and opportunities involved with working in Idaho’s largest industry.
“The conference allows women from all aspects of farming — from farmers themselves, to agency people, to educators and technical information providers — to get together and work together to learn more about our agricultural system,” said co-organizer Cinda Williams.
Topics of this year’s conference include proposed rules relating to the Food Safety Modernization Act, farm bill implementation, record keeping, credit scores, identity theft and the changing nature of land-use policies and how they impact agriculture.
One of the highlights is a special presentation on how to make the connection between farming and the local foods movement, said Williams, a University of Idaho extension educator in Moscow.
That session will include food journalists and other people involved with the local food movement who can help producers understand the popularity of the trend.
“We want to highlight what’s going on outside of our world of production farming,” Williams said. “We’re trying to help farmers get a sense of what is going on in the area of the local food movement that has come to the forefront in the last five to 10 years.”
Another session that will focus on some successes of Idaho women involved in agriculture will include the actual entrepreneurs themselves.
“We have some great examples of Idaho women who are prospering in agriculture,” Olson said.
One of those is Stacie Ballard, who will share some of the challenges she and her husband faced when starting what is now Ballard Cheese Co. in Gooding.
Ballard moved here from Los Angeles with no knowledge about agriculture and “it took us three years to just figure out if it was something we wanted to do,” she said. “It’s been a big learning curve.”
Conference registration costs $25 and can be made by calling the Idaho Barley Commission at 208-334-2090 or online at www.eventbrite.com.