This past week I had the pleasure of attending the second annual ‘The heart of the farm’ conference and celebration of women in agriculture, hosted by Connect and Emerge Ag Solutions. I think I can speak for all who returned this year when I say, it was an event we spent the year looking forward to. With harvest being so drawn out and frustrating due to weather holds, there were quite a few ladies who did not know if they could make it until the day before. Like everything else that has to do with farming they were waiting on the weather to make the call. If it had been nice leading up to the conference many families would have been in the field working hard to finish harvest. I think us gals were all a little excited when it rained the night before as it ensured that we could go! But shhhh don’t tell our husbands that 😉
This conference is about so many things, recharging and getting a much needed break. Networking, gaining knowledge, personal growth and most importantly celebrating ‘the heart of the farm’! (That’s us ladies!) Each year the speakers and presentations are chosen based on the comments and feedback received the year before. I think Connect once again did a great job in their selection of speakers. Women in Ag covers such a diverse group of women. We all have different jobs and roles on our farms, wear different hats and have different interests.
This year the conference opened with a very emotional presentation on safety and how it is not just about identifying the hazards, but creating a plan and speaking up. We learned about talking care of ourselves and loved ones through proper hydration, time management and sleep. Did you know 30-40% of adults suffer sleep deprivation at some point in their lives and that it can be more dangerous then being under the influence of drugs or alcohol?? I know as a mom with two little ones that really hit home and I need to make some changes and prioritize better sleep habits. We had a presentation on sustainability in agriculture and what that can mean for our farm. Not just about being environmentally sustainable but financially as well. Without a stabilizer on your fertilizer you could be loosing up to 40% of the nitrogen you put in the ground specifically for your canola crop 😳 yikes talk about throwing money away! We learned about risk management and how to protect our investment (farm), if you are interested in this subject check out http://agrisksolutions.ca/
Farming food care gave a wonderful presentation all about communication between farmers and consumers and how as farmers it is important to share our stories. Most people are now 2 generations removed from a farm and 93% of Canadians have admitted to knowing little to nothing about farming. If we as farmers do not share our stories and our knowledge then someone else will. We all know and have witnessed all the crazy false information that is out there on farming and farming practises. As Canadians we have a huge resource and that is trust, and that trust is earned through our transparency. If you are interested in learning more there is a wonderful webpage and magazine that can be found online. You can even have a speaker come out to your school or community!
We had Chris Soules a farmer from Iowa come and talk to us about his family farm and of course his time on the reality TV show the Bachelor 😉 Connect even had the insight to set up ‘Couches on call’ experts in their fields that you could seek out to have a private one on one session. To learn about different topics including protecting your family and yourselves with benefit plans and insurances as well as succession planning and farm conflict management with the amazing Elaine Froese!
Over the course of 1.5 days we all shared a lot of laughs, a few tears and together we grew not only in our overall knowledge but also in our sense of connection to each other, our farms and the world.
I have last years conference to thank for my adventures into social media. I left last years event more knowledgeable, excited, passionate and fired up. Excited to share my little farm families story. I started on Facebook and Instagram and after having multiple friends (not in the agricultural industry) encourage me to start blogging I took the plunge a couple months ago and here I am!
Below is a link to connect with Connect 😘 You can check out their page, sign up for emails to stay in the loop of next years conference and shop their apparel store! Not only are they doing amazing things for women in agriculture but they are also working hard to support farming in developing countries! Profits from their clothing line will be used to purchase agricultural packages for farmers that include seeds, inputs, tools, training and marketing tools!