Its that time of year again, a time I look forward to every year; meeting season. Its a time when all of the industry groups say ‘farmers are not busy now, lets pack as many events into the next three months as we can’. I enjoy it because its an excuse to get off farm and socialize with other like minded farmers, and hopefully learn something to bring back to our farm. A cheap entry fee and the inclusion of a hot lunch makes it easier to decide which one to attend.
Between my husband, brother and myself we generally have varied interests and it’s easy to decide who goes to what meeting. I am fortunate to have two people to rotate chores with so I could attend these meetings even when my daughter was young. I find myself to be one of a few women in the crowd, but this year at our veterinarians producer day something exciting happened; I had to wait in line for the bathroom. That has never happened to me before at a producer meeting. Why is that? What obstacles are holding women back from attending these meetings, or being on a board of directors is a reoccurring topic at the Ag Womens Network. And that got me to thinking about why I do or don’t go to meetings myself. Child care is a huge obstacle, my work schedule is so spread out and inconsistent that daycare doesn’t suit. Working is the next thing keeping me from being able to attend meetings. Mid day meetings are great, but there is such a long list of variables that can change my planned schedule that often its not worth signing up when I’m unsure on how often I can be there.
I would love to hear from you on what your favourite meetings to attend are, any upcoming conferences you are looking forward to and what you do to make attending those events possible. If you are unable to attend meetings because of distance or time restraints I’d love to discuss that too.
AWN is hosting ‘AWN Winter WarmUP ’ this weekend, January 15, 16 and 17. The AWN Winter WarmUP is an online forum hoping to get around most of the traditional obstacles of distance, time and child care by being an open, flexible forum to share ideas, experiences and network with everyone in our group. I’m looking forward to it and I hope to see you online!
-Mary Ann Doré