Women in Ag conference 20 years strong PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor   
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 13:20
GRAND RAPIDS - For its 20th anniversary year, the Women in Agriculture Conference was again a huge success by all accounts. This year's event was again hosted on Friday at Nazareth Hall in Grand Rapids.
Though men have presented side programs in the past, this year marked the debut of a male keynote speaker. David Marrison, from the Ohio State University Extension Office in Ashtabula County, spoke about "Farm Succession," and how to formulate plans for the next generation of owners on the family farm.
Marrison's presentation was well received as he shared numerous ideas on estate planning as well as some general philosophies, for example, "Live like you will die tomorrow, farm like you will live forever."
More than 150 women attended the various sessions this year.
"This is an important day about celebrating all the women in agriculture and the important roles they play in the family, on the farms and in the community," said Susan Zies, Ohio State University Extension educator and Women In Agriculture committee chair.
Among those attending again this year were high school girls who are members of the FFA. This year one of the morning sessions was targeted toward them as Stacie (Wenig) Anderson, an FFA graduate, led the session for them. Otsego FFA had the largest contingent with 18 students attending. Other schools represented included Bowling Green, Anthony Wayne and Old Fort.
Grand Rapids resident, Caroline Battin, a sophomore at Otsego High School, said of the conference, "I enjoyed it a lot. It had a big impact for me."
She said she really enjoyed the FFA session and also enjoyed the "Putting the Skinny In Your Foods" session which talked about staying healthy through the foods one eats.
The Otsego FFA adviser, Debbie Ayers, also enjoyed the food session as well as "Homemade Cleaning Products - Do They Work? (and are they worth the effort?)." Ayers said she liked the ideas presented including making your own laundry soap.
She called Marrison's talk "very helpful."
Amanda Barndt, a junior FFA member at Bowling Green High School, said the day was "a lot of fun" with "a lot of information and good stuff to take with us."
Like Battin, she said her favorite sessions was the "Picture Perfect FFA" session.
Barndt's classmate, Taylor DeSmith enjoyed the fact that so much of the day was involved with hands-on activities and information she could relate to.
Regarding Marrison's talk, DeSmith said, "It was very well done and "everyone could connect to it."
Custar resident Julie Lause, a staff member with the Wood Soil and Water Conservation District, enjoyed the structure of the conference.
"I really enjoyed the personal development sessions as well as those that focused on the farm/business side," Lause said. "It is good to develop our personal growth."
Zies says they always look closely at the evaluations done by those attending each year.
The choice of Marrison for this year's keynote address was based on high praise from his appearance last year in a break-out morning session.
"Our objective every year is to provide educational information, as well as a relaxing and enjoyable day."

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