Late last summer I attended the AgChat conference in Austin, TX. The first of October I met fellow bloggers in Kansas City, KS for a face-to-face. This past Friday I attended my first Women In Agricultural Regional Conference in Marshall, MO. What do all of these little outings have in common? (Besides the fact that I travel more than I realize.) They each were a chance to chat with others involved in Agriculture.
I have already shared with you my time in Austin at the AgChat Conference. What I was able to learn there is still resonating with me today.
My face-to-face with fellow bloggers left me inspired and humbled in the fact that my voice, in many instances, is their voice too. Our backgrounds are completely different, but we share the common thread of being farmers, farmers wives, and mom’s to future farmers. That is enough for us. We are there for one another, even if our main form of communication is texts, emails and FaceBook messages. One weekend surrounded by these strong, opinionated, sweet, funny, spiritual, and determined ladies was a joy. Our time together was short, but we have plans to meet again and I for one hope it is soon!
My third chance to “Chat” with others happened this past Friday at the 2015 Women In Agriculture Regional Conference. My attending was a last minute decision and it hinged on if our high school boys basketball team played for third or first in the Class 1A State Tournament. I am happy to report that they played for first, AND WON, thus opening up my Friday and the opportunity to attend. (I owe a lot to these boys. It was through photographing them at home basketball games that I have improved my photography skills. Their skills and talents have lead to my improved skill and talent and I can’t thank them, their coaches and parents enough for letting me capture their talents with my camera.)
The first thing I learned when I walked into the conference is you do not attend these things alone. You bring all of your best farm gal pals and sit together! That being said, a new friend, The Feisty Farm Wife (more about her soon), saved me a seat at her table. I also learned that this was the 12th year for the Women In Agriculture Conference and now that I have attended my first, I do not plan on missing any more.
Jolene Brown was the featured speaker and I was very excited to finally hear her speak! Jolene is funny, witty and full of stories from her own farm as well as stories from those who she has worked with over the years. If you ever have the chance to hear her speak or attend one of her workshops, I highly recommend it. She had two messages for us; the first being, “It’s A Jungle Out There” and we are sometimes dedicated to being stuck. If we are willing to do things like educating everyday, finding humor everywhere and enjoying what we do, then we are on the right track to blazing a trail through that jungle. One of my favorite quotes that I heard her say is: “Row gently down the stream, but do not go it alone” – Jolene Brown.
Her next message was, “If We Huff and Puff, Will We Blow Your House Down?”. She was able to condense a two day workshop into a two and a half hour presentation on becoming a Business First Family. She hit the highlights of course, but in that two and a half hours my wheels were spinning and I was trying to absorb every little thing that she said. She was able to give us not only things to think about, but new tools to make the process of discussing the family business a little easier. “Sometimes You Need More Than a 2X4” – Jolene Brown.
Throughout the day there were also opportunities to hear additional speakers and network with other women. I do not always “mingle” very well, so I was glad that I reached out to Lorin, aka The Feisty Farm Wife, to see if she would be attending. Not only did she attend, but her mom, her Aunt, her cousin in-law and a close family friend were all in attendance with her. (See! I told you that you are to bring your favorite farm gal pals with you.) Again, it was a joy to be around and have the chance to chat with these ladies who I have much in common with. I could of sat there for hours and listened to their stories about their families and their farms.
If there is something I have learned in these experiences of “Chatting” with others involved in Agriculture, it is this: What makes us strong also makes us united. I will say it again, what makes us strong also makes us united. It is our connection to Agriculture that makes us a small percentage, but it is the strength of this noble industry that unites us. Unites us as women in agriculture. Unites us as virtual sisters. Unites us as agvocates.
The next time you have a chance to chat with others who have the same passions that you do, I hope you take it. I hope you make connections and form relationships that make you stronger. When you do, please share them with me! I would love to hear about it.
Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link