February 12, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald

The 2003 Kentucky Women in Agriculture Conference is packed with diverse and informative speakers. The latest to be added to the agenda is U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs William Hawks.

In addition to his USDA career, Hawks is a partner of Hawks Farming. He farms nearly 7,700 acres of land in three counties of northeastern Mississippi including 5,200 acres of soybeans, 3,000 acres of double-cropped winter wheat and 2,500 acres of corn.

"We're very pleased to have Under Secretary Hawks coming to the conference," said Kim Henken, conference planning committee member and Extension associate for environmental/natural resource issues at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.  "He's got a production background that a lot of the women will be able to relate to and he's also at a very high level of influence in the USDA structure."

A Mississippi native, Hawks was elected to his state senate in 1994. During his five years as a senator, he was a leader on committees with jurisdiction over agriculture and the environment. Hawks also has been active on a number of agricultural boards and committees over the years including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association and many state and local organizations.

Hawks will address conference attendees on Friday, Feb. 28 during the 8:30 a.m. general session.

Henken said three afternoon tours also have been added to the agenda for Feb. 28. Women will be able to visit a nearby farm where a tobacco barn has been converted to a certified kitchen. They may also choose to visit God's Pantry, one of America's Second Harvest Food banks, or the UK Horticulture Greenhouses to learn more about greenhouse irrigation systems.

The 2003 Kentucky Women in Agriculture Conference, scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Lexington, is limited to the first 300 participants. Henken said space is still available on a first-come-first served basis. For more information or to register, call Kim Henken at 859-257-5482.


Kim Henken  859-257-5482