Eastern Montana Women's Conference Held In Sidney

The first annual Eastern Montana Women's Conference was held March 31 and April 1, in Sidney. It was by the Montana Farmers Union.

All attendees were invited to tour the Eastern Ag Research Facility on Thursday.

Friday night dinner with keynote speaker Courtney Kibblewhite, spoke on the Western Culture and the Stories that Shape Us. "Stories have power. Especially, the stories we tell ourselves, we have to tell the stories to our next generation. Let's focus on the silver linings. What are you creating and nurturing in your community? Connection? Opportunities to unite, are you focusing on differences? We can have pride in our culture and pass on stories that can equip our children and communities to handle challenges of the future," said Kibblewhite.

The Perennial Roots Program; Succession Planning with the Rancher Stewardship Alliance and Winnett ACES was the Saturday program. The perennial roots program between RSA and ACES, which aims to connect ranchers and those interested in agriculture to succession planning information, helpful tools, peer groups, mentoring and other opportunities that ultimately help keep working lands operational and local ranches contributing to their local communities economically, socially, and ecologically.

Penny Filler, SHS high school, presented a hands-on workshop on creativity and mental health.

A panel titled: Cooperatives: Working for Your Community was hosted by Montana Co-op Development Center. What's a cooperative? How can they serve your community?

A special guest speaker Morb Wicks, FSA and Kathleen Williams, USDA, spoke at lunch.

A session titled: Stress and Agriculture hosted by Roubie Younkin, Valley County MSU extension office. This was a hands-on work shop for identifying stress in yourself and your loved ones as well as learning strategies to manage stress.

A panel on "Agriculture from Our Side of the Fence", discussing to bridge the gap between Ag support specialists and local producers. "What opportunities are out there for women? How can we sustain our operations?"

This was moderated by Sara Degn, MFU board member; Marley Manoukian, Richland County MSU extension agent; Kathy Heintz, Farmers Union Insurance; Natalie West, research ecologist; Connie Iverson,west Sidney area farmer and rancher.

The Montana Farmers Union book club launched "Farmers Lawyer", by Sarah Vogel, and the conference closed with networking at the Meadowlark Brewing.


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