Bringing farm women together for fun, learning, and fellowship was the objective of the Farm Women's Symposium (FWS), held March 10-12 at the Doubletree Hotel in Bay City, Michigan. Chairperson Louise Courter welcomed the attendees on Wednesday morning and Dennis Stein, from Tuscola County's MSU Extension, gave an overview of the area's agricultural landscape, and local attractions.
Rosemary Ward shared "The ABC Advantage" and "Flexing your style for Improved Results." Participants also heard the basics of insurance from Karen Tremble and Shawn Seal of Farm Bureau Insurance and the basics of beef cuts from George Quackenbush.
Photographer and storyteller, Paul Mobley delivered a heartfelt message about his travels. Mobley covered 100,000 miles and spent three years photographing farmers and ranchers from all over America and published American Farmer: The Heart of our Country in 2008. The group enjoyed a magnificent banquet prepared by the staff at the Doubletree. After seeing a great deal of leftover food, organizers made arrangements to donate the food to a local homeless shelter.
Each year participants look forward to seeing agriculture from the local area and this year's tour was above and beyond. The support from the Thumb area was outstanding in not only financial donations but also their generosity of time and talents. The group was welcomed by Michigan Sugar Company, Leitch's Maple Syrup Farm, Bob Hirn at the Octagon Barn, the children at Verona Mills one-room schoolhouse, the Co-operative Elevator Company in Pigeon and enjoyed the windmills in Ubly. Lunch was a fabulous banquet catered by Al's Restaurant & Bakery and sponsored by the Huron, Tuscola and Sanilac County Farm Bureau offices. We were also treated to a wonderful meal donated and served by the staff of the Co-operative Elevator and Nietzke & Fauple and Leiprandt Orchards before heading back to the Doubletree.
Friday's program gave us a look into state issues including the Asian Carp and a peak into national legislature issues such health care reform from Representative Pete Hoekstra. Before heading home, participants enjoyed a lesson in cartoon writing with Nationally syndicated cartoonist, Leigh Rubin.
Thanks go out to the FWS committee for all their hard work in producing an educational and enjoyable symposium for all women involved in agriculture in Michigan. Thanks also to our generous sponsors for making this event possible.
FWS 2011 will be held in Muskegon. For more information, check us out on the Web at www.farmwomenssymposium.com or on Facebook at "Farm Women's Symposium."