Women in Blue Jeans conference is scheduled Jan. 23-24 at Mitchell

Women in Blue Jeans conference is scheduled Jan. 23-24 at Mitchell When you think of agriculture, you don't always think of the women in agriculture. But they are the gatekeepers, the motivators, and the silent (or not so silent) partners in most farm operations today.

The first annual Women in Blue Jeans conference is for those women and all women of rural America.

Women in Blue Jeans will be held Jan. 23-24 in Mitchell at the Holiday Inn. Childcare is available, as is a spouse's program, so it really is something the entire family can attend.

Sessions during the conference are as diverse as the women attending. The keynote sessions are "Five Generations of Quilts" on Thursday, and "Are We Having Fun Yet? Survival Strategies for Women in Agriculture" on Friday.

On Thursday morning and afternoon, the ladies have three choices of sessions at any given time. The Business Skills track includes the following sessions: Ag politics, crop insurance, grain marketing, record keeping, and the 2002 Farm Bill. These sessions are for the woman who wants to learn more about the business of agriculture.

The Success Skills track includes sessions on goal setting, using technology, personality priorities, life balance, and stress management. These sessions are for the woman who wants to take control of her world to the benefit of herself and her family.

Finally, the Leisure Skills track includes sessions on quick and healthy cooking, quilting, gardening/preserving, photography, and bird watching. These sessions are for the woman who wants to take a break and enjoy having some time to herself.

Thursday evening, there are still three choices of seminars to attend. Those sessions include: home maintenance, women and money, scrap booking, tax tips, landscaping and garden architecture, women's health, self defense, and yoga. The evening will be capped off by a social event.

Friday takes on a different flavor, with one program running the entire day. The morning session is Marketing Blueprint, presented by Brian Hefty. The session will explain what a marketing blueprint is, why your operation should have one, and how to create your own marketing blueprint. The afternoon session is Investing in Your Future, which includes value-added opportunities, investment clubs and marketing clubs. If you're interested in finding ways to make your money work for you, one or more of these may be an option.

What started four years ago as a "Powder Puff Marketing" seminar grew to a three-hour seminar on crop insurance and marketing, which grew to a one day event that added stress management, Extension services, and personalities.

It is now a two-day conference directed by a steering committee of 12 people from the Mitchell community.

The conference was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Risk Management Agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in support of the women attending. Each of the first 250 women attending will be awarded a $60 scholarship. Despite mishaps in the application and review process, the steering committee was awarded the grant � something they consider a vote of confidence in the entire conference as well as the women they hope will attend.

The $15,000 grant from the Risk Management Agency is subsidizing the registration fee for the women, but the conference expenses are being sponsored by the following businesses: Hefty Seed Company, Mitchell Holiday Inn, First Dakota National Bank, Hamaker Crop Insurance, James Valley Imaging, Rain and Hail, LLC., DTN, Pioneer Hybrid International, SD Farm Bureau Federation, Ethan Coop Lumber, Santel, CorTrust Bank, County Fair Foodstore, Cenex, S.D. Cattlemen's Auxiliary, Iverson Chrysler Center, Central Electric Coop, Farm Credit Services of America, Wayne and Mary's Nutrition Center, Waddell and Reed, Fischer Rounds and Associates, US Bancorp Piper Jaffray, Dakota Third Party Administrators, KMIT/KOOL 98 Radio, USDA/NRCS Office, Endorf, Lurken, Olsen and Associates, Morgan, Theeler, Wheeler, Peterson, and Cogley.

For more information on the conference, contact Diana Goldammer, steering committee chair at 866-362-8724 during business hours or 605-996-8089.

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