Growing Your Story: 2011 Women in Ag Leadership Conference

June 3rd Leadership Conference Promises to Advance the Cause of Agriculture

By Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm Bureau

Arizona agriculturalists have a great story to tell! With leadership, courage and sharing from the heart, your story about agriculture will grow “agvocates” for agriculture and make a difference for your industry.

Reservations are being accepted for the 2011 Women in Agriculture Conference to be held June 3 at the San Tan Elegante Conference & Reception Center in Gilbert. Hosted by the Arizona Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC), the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Arizona Cattlewomen, Casa Grande Cotton and Ag Women, Arizona Beef Council and Arizona Dept. of Agriculture the 15th annual conference is open to anyone interested in improving leadership, professional and personal skills.

Partially sponsored by WLC annual partner Hickman’s Family Farms, the conference theme is Agriculture: A Growing Story. Explaining this year’s theme WLC State Chair Sharla Mortimer of Dewey says, “Knowledge is power. Telling the story of agriculture to the public was never more important than it is today. We can work together to meet the public’s expectations and build their trust and support for agriculture in Arizona.”

This year’s speaker lineup is right on target.

The conference keynote speaker will be Dr. J Scott Vernon, professor in the Agricultural Education and Communications Department at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Vernon is also a pilot, a successful auctioneer and a business owner. He is a partner in an auction firm that conducts sales for corporations and governmental agencies in California.

Dr. Vernon will speak on There is no Oz. Get over it. The world is filled with flying monkeys and wicked witches: How to save agriculture on our journey down a dirt road. Vernon will help us improve our leadership, find our courage, increase our knowledge and share our heart with all those who depend on American family farmers and ranchers. He will share how he and a group of “munchkins” are making a huge impact in “AGvocacy” all over America.

Children’s author and dairy farmer Cris Peterson, milks cows and writes books. Her crazy stories about her experiences communicating about agriculture will make you laugh and inspire you to tell your own story.  She will be speaking on Kissing Calves and Birthing Elephants:  One Writer’s Journey.

In January, Peterson’s book titled, Seed Soil Sun won the 2011 Book of the Year award presented by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. In this clearly written and beautifully photographed book, Peterson describes the seemingly miraculous process by which air and water combine with seed, soil and sun to create nearly all the food we eat.

New this year is an optional Farm tour that will follow the Women’s conference at 5:00 p.m. on June 3, 2011. Car-pooling to the Olive Mill in Queen Creek is encouraged.

On Saturday, June 4 join the Women’s Leadership Committee and the Young Farmers and Ranchers at the Effective Communication Course at the Arizona Farm Bureau in Gilbert. Attendees can stay overnight at the Legado Hotel where a special Farm Bureau lodging rate has been arranged. This 1-day Effective Communication Course gives participants training and hands-on techniques to improve their communication skills.

Accommodations are available now at the Legado Hotel, adjacent to the San Tan Elegante Conference Center. Rates: $79 per night, single and double. To guarantee this special conference rate, call the hotel reservations at 480.809.4100 or 1.888.695.3423 and ask for the Women in Agriculture special rate. Reservations can also be made online and enter the code Agriculture by the cut-off date. May 13 is the deadline for the reduced-rate rooms.

For more information, contact Peggy Jo Goodfellow at 480.635.3609 or

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