Making farm life safer, healthier and more organized were among topics explored at the annual Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Conference in Birmingham, April 1-2.
Heather Ann Dineen of Texas, Monsanto’s 2014 Farm Mom of the Year, told the crowd of 220 members her story of losing a son in a farm accident eight years ago. The tragedy led her to become an advocate of farm safety for children and a spokesperson for agriculture. State Women’s Leadership Committee Chairwoman Cheryl Lassiter said Dineen’s talk during the conference’s opening banquet was the high point of the meeting.
“Her story was so full of emotion and very genuine,” Lassiter said. “It is a sad story, but shows how it led her to take action that could help save hundreds of lives.”
Lassiter said she enjoyed the heart health seminar by Susan Guin of Tuscaloosa, noting it inspired her to make changes on the farm she and her husband, Jeff, have in Choctaw County.
“The information on CPR made me realize I haven’t done everything I need to with my family to make us prepared for an emergency,” Lassiter said. “I’m going to make sure I teach CPR to my 10-year-old grandson, too. He spends a lot of time with Jeff, and much of the time, it’s just the two of them. If an emergency happened, it’s vital he knows what to do and how to do it.”
Michelle Thompson of Lauderdale County has attended the annual State Women’s Leadership Conference for over 20 years, but this was one of the best, she said.
“The seminar on making your home work for you by reducing clutter was tailor-made for me,” Thompson said with a laugh. “There were tips on how to get started, get it done and keep it organized. It’s definitely something I will use.”
Thompson said she also enjoyed the Alabama Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) workshop focused on beef cattle. Many of those lessons will be shared with classroom teachers through the AITC Summer Institute in June.
“We raise beef cattle on our farm, and there were a lot of facts I didn’t know,” she said. “That will help me be a better spokesperson for our farm and agriculture.”
Debbie Roberts of Fayette said the conference was motivating and inspiring, describing it as a “golden opportunity” to glean agriculture promotion ideas from other farm women.
The meeting also included updates on legislative issues in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery and comments from Federation President Jimmy Parnell.
The Alabama Farm-City Awards program was part of a luncheon at the conference April 2. Outstanding Farm-City programs were recognized, as were winners in the state essay, poster and multimedia contests. Alabama’s 2015 Farm of Distinction winners, Rickey and Connie Cornutt of Marshall County, also were recognized at the luncheon.
For more on the awards program, visit AlfaFarmers.org. Photos of the conference are available on the Federation’s Flickr and Facebook pages.