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Source: Purdue University news release

A two-day conference focused on a woman's role in making the family farm profitable will give participants an opportunity to network with others who are in the same position.

The 2014 Midwest Women in Agriculture conference will be Feb. 19-20 at the Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel, 700 W. Riverside Drive, Jeffersonville, Ind.

Nikky Witkowski, conference chair and Purdue Extension educator in Lake County, said the goal of the conference is to educate women on farming practices while also offering them the opportunity to build relationships with other farm women.

"It is a great time for women to learn great information on farming and on how to run their farm," Witkowski said.

Session topics include farm management, marketing for small farms and niches, agriculture technology and legal issues.

There are 20 concurrent sessions, which include "Expanding Your Customer Base Through an Online Food Hub," "Top 10 Ways to Influence Young Consumers," "Farm Succession Planning," "Farm Family Conflict" and "Latest Health Care Options."

Key speakers and session topics:

* Katie Stam Irk, "From Dairy Farmer to Miss America: From Life on the Farm to Life on the Road." Irk, who was raised on a dairy farm in southern Indiana, will take participants through her year as Miss America in 2009 and how she helped raise awareness of agriculture.

* Julie Clark, "Pour Your Heart into Life." Clark shares strategies, which she calls ground rules, that teach others how to commit themselves to a fulfilling life in agriculture.

* Allie Abney, currently serving as the Indiana FFA state president, will deliver an message to inspire women in agriculture to begin their leadership early, promote activities for young women in the industry and encourage them to celebrate National FFA Week.

* Jason Henderson, associate dean of Purdue's College of Agriculture and director of Purdue Extension, will give his vision for Purdue Extension's role in making and building strong families and communities in Indiana.

Participants who postmark their registration fees before Feb. 4 can get a discount, with a fee for either Wednesday or Thursday at $80, or $90 for both days. After Feb. 4, the fee is $115 for either day or $140 for both days.

Checks should be made payable to the Purdue Education Fund and sent to Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference, Kosciusko County Extension Office, 202 W. Main St., Warsaw, IN 46580. A $10 handling fee will be assessed on all refunds, and there will be no refunds after Feb. 4.

To register, visit or contact Kelly Heckaman at 574-372-2340.

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