September 12, 2007 | By: Laura Skillman

Women involved in agriculture or those interested in agriculture, rural living and local foods are invited to attend the annual conference of the Kentucky Women in Agriculture, Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 in Lexington.

Kentucky women have always played an important role in agriculture, and in 1999 the Kentucky Ag Women’s Leadership Network was established to enhance those efforts. In 2003, the group incorporated and became known as Kentucky Women in Agriculture, Inc. The group meets annually to focus on ways to empower women through education, involvement, and action. The focus of this year’s meeting will be “Local Foods – Growing Our Heritage” and will include workshops, presentations and roundtable discussions.

“We wanted to tie the past to the present with our theme for this year’s conference,” said KWIA President Jenny Inman. “Locally grown food has been gaining more media and market place in recent years. It has always been a very important part of where agriculture has been and what agriculture is today. Locally grown food is the staple of our agricultural heritage.

Pre-conference workshops will be conducted on Oct. 31 and have limited availability. The Kentucky value-added workshop is a full day of learning about the state’s value-added products. It will include stops at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, Acres of Land farm, Three Toads Farm and Valentine’s Ice Cream. Registration is $25 and is limited to the first 42 registrants.

Producers wanting more information about risk management may want to attend the workshop on risk-assessed business planning for small producers. It is designed for anyone trying to improve the financial outcomes of their agricultural enterprises and will include fundamental steps of business planning, how to develop an enterprise budget and basic financial and accounting management practices. Marion Simon from Kentucky State University will conduct the workshop which is supported by a grant from the USDA-CSREES Southern Region Risk Management Education Center. Registration is $10 including lunch and materials and is limited to the first 20 registrants.

The home-based microprocessor workshop is designed to provide information on food safety, sanitation and home canning procedures. It is required for home-based microprocessor certification. More information can be found at
. The registration fee is $50 including lunch and is limited to the first 25 registrants.

Conference activities begin Nov. 1 with a full slate of activities for participants. Featured speakers include Lucy Breathitt, a leader in the effort to conserve open space and farmland in the bluegrass, and Cynthia Bohn, Equus Run Vineyards owner, winemaker and vineyard manager.

Concurrent sessions will run throughout the day offering participants options such as pioneer foods, preserving barns, enriching your life: cooking for your family, selling to restaurants and retailers, quilted barns, building female leadership and legislative and farm bill updates. Other sessions include historical artifacts and crafts, nutrition label making, finding your niche – a success story, selling to restaurants and retailers, estate planning with retirement options and presentations by the Kentucky Historical Society “Diary of the Depression” and “Tobacco Tales.”

A statewide candidates’ forum is set for 4 p.m. followed by A Taste of Kentucky Proud reception featuring products from around the state.

Nov. 2 events include roundtable discussions on Annie’s Project, composting, the 2010 World Equestrian Games, slow foods, heirloom seeds and plants, marketing goats, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, sustainable agriculture,, high tunnel production and season extending techniques and qualifying for federal, state and local grants.

A computing made easy course will be offered at the same time as the roundtable discussions. Advance registration is required and limited to the first 24 registrants.

The conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza-Campbell House in Lexington. Special KWIA conference rates are available if reserved before Oct. 1. Call the hotel at 877-227-6963 and ask for the KWIA rate.

Participants should pre-register for the conference by Oct. 1 to avoid late fees. Fee information and registration forms, as well as a full itinerary for the conference can be found at the For other questions regarding the conference contact Inman or Ashley Osborne at or call 877-266-8823.


Ashley Osborne, 859-257-2505