ISU Extension & Outreach Announces Annual Women in Agriculture Conference


“Starting the Conversation” is the theme for this year’s Women in Agriculture Conference, to be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Washington on March 23.

Sometimes, starting the conversation, especially on a tough topic, can be a big and daunting first step. That’s why this year’s conference aims to get women of all ages feeling more confident in starting the conversation, even on tough topics like farm succession and transition planning or mental health and struggles.

The conference is hosted by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Washington County office and the Washington County Women in Agriculture Advisory Board. Women from other counties are welcome to attend.

“We are looking forward to our sixth Women in Ag Conference, and we have a great lineup of speakers to help attendees feel more comfortable and confident in starting the conversation,” said Rebecca Vittetoe, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach and a member of the Washington County Women in Agriculture Advisory Board.

The conference will feature four speakers: Ron Rabou, a Wyoming farmer and entrepreneur; Liz Hulsizer, a fifth-generation Illinois farmer and grain originator; Rena Striegel, president of Transition Point Business Advisors; and Elaine Turner, certified public accountant specializing in small business and agriculture taxation.

Rabou will begin with a “Mind Shift” session, which will be a thought-provoking, interactive presentation as Rabou challenges attendees to look at things through different lenses without compromising who we are, what we believe and what’s important to us.

Following Rabou, Hulsizer will discuss the “Importance of Having Open Communication.” She will discuss the importance of not being afraid to talk about struggles, especially the topic of mental health. She will draw on some of her personal experiences with mental health and the impact it has had on her family and her family’s farming operation.

Following lunch, Striegel will present “Tackle the Tough Stuff: Strategies for Communication about Your Succession Plan.” Attendees should leave this session feeling more confident in communicating goals, ideas, thoughts or concerns related to their succession plans.

The program will conclude with Turner, who will share her expertise in ag taxation and maximizing tax benefits in agriculture. 

Registration and check-in starts at 8:30 a.m. The conference will begin at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 2:15 p.m.

The registration fee is $25 and $15 for students. A light breakfast and lunch is included. The early registration deadline is March 16. Late and walk-in registrations will be accepted based on availability, and the registration cost jumps to $35 and $25 for students.

For more information or to register, call the ISU Extension and Outreach Washington County office at 319-653-4811 or visit

The conference is made possible largely thanks to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Azariah and Martha Foster Heritage Endowment, Hills Bank and other local sponsors.

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