Five Highlights from AWIA 2022

More than 150 women in agriculture from across Arkansas gathered in Little Rock for the 16th Annual Arkansas Women in Agriculture Conference on March 15 & 16, 2022.
Here are five highlights from this year’s conference.

1. We tackled hard topics like mental health.

Keynote speaker Lesley Kelly from High Heels and Canola Fields and Do More Ag shared a study about mental health in farmers that showed:

  • 35% of farmers met the definition for depression
  • 45% for high stress
  • 64% for anxiety
  • BUT 40% of farmers would feel uneasy seeking professional help

Lesley reminded us that mental health looks different for different people and shared some of the warning signs of those dealing with farm stress, anxiety, or depression. Here are a few phrases she shared to help start the conversation around mental health:

  • I’ve seen these changes the past few days? Is everything okay?
  • How are you doing? How are you really doing?
  • Would you like to go for a walk or drive?

For more information about mental health resources in Arkansas, visit the AR-Connect website. If you are struggling with mental health issues like depression, anxiety and/or stress, please call AR-Connect at 501-526-3563 or 800-482-9921.

2. We made new friends.

When 150 women with similar interests come together, there are sure to be strong connections built! Icebreakers, social time, and breakout workshops allowed attendees to connect and find women who shared their passion for agriculture. Tuesday’s social hour with trivia, games, and karaoke gave attendees a chance to unwind, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company.

3. We took the time to learn.

15 breakout sessions gave attendees the chance to learn something new. A few of this year’s workshop topics included:

  • Using Arkansas beef to cook Mediterranean Beef Stir-Fry with Alyssa Frisby, RD
  • An update on policy issues affecting Arkansas farmers with U.S. Senate Ag Committee Legislative Assistant Taylor Wiseman
  • How to sell direct-to-consumer with Angela Mahan from Rabbit Ridge Farms
  • How to create a beautifully balanced garden pot using flowers, ornaments, herbs, and vegetables with Randy Forst from the Pulaski County Master Gardeners
  • Important things to know about succession planning with Rusty Rumley from the National Ag Law Center

4. We were reminded there’s a place for everyone in agriculture.

Fancy Lady Cowgirl Courtenay DeHoff wrapped up the conference by inspiring attendees to find their voice and share their story. She reminded us:

  • If one person sees your story, it’s a story worth telling.
  • You don’t need perfect. You need authentic.
  • Never settle.
  • Embrace the season you’re in.

5. We celebrated the impact women have on Arkansas agriculture.

To recognize and celebrate the impact women have on Arkansas agriculture, Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed March 13-19, 2022 as Arkansas Women in Agriculture Week. Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward and Representative DeAnn Vaught presented the proclamation to Arkansas Women in Agriculture President Donette Spann at the Arkansas Women in Agriculture Conference.
Fun facts about Arkansas ag women:
  • Farming is the primary occupation for 9,447 women in Arkansas.
  • Arkansas women are full owners of 12,693 farms with a total acreage of more than 1.7 million acres.
2022 Arkansas Women in Agriculture Conference
Missed out on this year’s conference? We hope you’ll join us in 2023! Keep watching for information about upcoming AWIA events.

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