Women in Ag Get Together for More Than Just Agriculture

Inspiring conference speakers, informative sessions, and educational workshops are all worthy reasons for ranch women to gather every September, but for many, it’s the chance to get away, catch one’s breath, and let the family be self sufficient for 24 hours.

Ranch women know they’ll walk away from the conference with useful information they can apply at home but the idea of having some girlfriend time was likely what each woman was thinking about on her drive to Spearfish Canyon Lodge. I looked forward to reconnecting with friends, past attendees, and getting to meet other women who share the same lifestyle I do.

This year’s conference couldn’t have been at a better time and place. Getting a chance to absorb all the changing colors that surrounded the lodge made the overnight stay a place where women could relax, catch their breath, and get their bearings again.

As women arrived late Thursday afternoon, there were several discussions about what it took to be able to leave husbands in charge, make arrangements for kids’ obligations and leaving the family to fend for themselves for a while. From there, stories about kids and husbands getting by without mom in the past unraveled with waves of laughter among old friends and new ones. Throughout the conference, more stories surfaced as well as discussions about ag life, issues, and ag practices.

The sessions included tips and creative ways to cook healthy meals in a hurry, navigating social networking sites, organizing one’s life through journaling, learning about the new and popular beef cuts being used from the beef chuck (The Denver Cut and Del Monaco), what Farm Service Agency provides to farmers and ranchers, and fall gardening and yard preparation tips.

The keynote speaker was May Kay Mueller, who talked about the power that positive thinking has for achieving goals, happiness, and success in life. Various craft activities were available to try in the evening, but the ten minute massage session, wine sampling, and conversation were the most popular activities.

Friday morning, women interested in a walk met in the lobby at 6:45 a.m.

The crisp morning air and brisk walk was invigorating but the beautiful views and colors caused me and several others to stop and savor our surroundings; knowing the moment would soon be forgotten once we all returned home later that day to our families and the chaos we call life.

South Dakota and Montana Friends

The walk to see Roughlock Falls was short and easy.

Many had never been to Roughlock Falls before.

I had been to Roughlock Falls before there were sidewalks and handrails and railings to keep people from walking up behind the Falls. I’d even been there once in the fall but never remembered it looking as beautiful as it did on this particular day.

Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

 As I parted ways with friends that I don’t see often enough except on occasions such as these, I felt a twinge of sadness in my heart. By Friday evening, most everyone was home again and life was back to normal for all of us. While reliving in my mind the conversations and events that took place prior to my return home, I was reminded that there’s more to the Women in Ag Conference than just agriculture. It’s the connection I have with these women who may be miles apart but will always share the same ground with me.

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