MFU’s Eastern MT Women’s Conference Provides Support, Inspiration to More Than 35 Attendees
More than 35 women enjoyed a weekend of learning and networking during the first ever Eastern Montana Women’s Conference hosted by Montana Farmers Union in Sidney.
“It brought people together in community and celebrating women and agriculture,” said Rachel Prevost, MFU’s member services director.
The inaugural event held earlier this month featured panel discussions on cooperatives, succession planning, managing stress in agriculture, leadership development; hands-on workshops; and plenty of time to get to know the other attendees.
“People were really excited that there was an event coming to their area,” said Peyton Cole, who planned the conference.
Attendee Darlis Nordhagen attended to reconnect with MFU after watching her mom be involved with Montana Farmers Union and National Farmers Union when Darlis was a girl, as well as network with women in her area.
“Support networks are important for all people, but, in our exceedingly remote area with harsh weather that can be even further isolating, opportunities to network with other rural women are extremely important to well-being,” Nordhagen said.
During the conference, Nordhagen was struck by how many resources are available.
“It can feel pretty lonely and overwhelming as a woman farmer and rancher in Eastern Montana. The conference was a reminder that there are many women involved in a vast array of agriculture businesses in Eastern Montana, and there are many resources available for help and inspiration,” Nordhagen said.
Since the conference, Nordhagen already has started utilizing some of those resources, including joining MFU and becoming a member of the Montana Premium Processing Cooperative, as well as tapping into MFU resources for a co-op startup project.
Also during the women’s event, Montana Farmers Union launched the statewide Montana Farmers Union Book Club, adding another option for folks to gather, network, and talk about the importance of family farms.
The first book selection is “The Farmer’s Lawyer” by Sarah Vogel and registration is open at https://montanafarmersunion.com/MFU-bookclub/. For the club’s first meeting, Vogel will join participants via Zoom for a Q&A and book discussion at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 17.
Because the Eastern MT Women’s Conference was so well-received by the attendees, plans are already in the works for another, Cole said.
“We’re excited to do this next year,” she added.
To learn more about other opportunities and upcoming events through Montana Farmers Union, go to www.montanafarmersunion.com.