Right now, before the change of seasons really settles in make plans to attend the upcoming 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture. Registration is open and if you hurry you can still make the early bird registration deadline.
Here’s a list of excuses for why you can’t be there…this should save you a little time in your decision-making.
1. I can’t afford it. Well it is true that there is a cost to attending. But there are also scholarships and discounts to help. And the organizers have been working hard to raise sponsorship money to keep the registration costs low. You can share a room to reduce your costs further. And here is the real reason you can afford the investment — because the investment will be fully recouped in improved management, better marketing, new operating strategies. Professional development is an investment not a luxury.
2. I could never leave my farm for that long. It is true that you are a critical part of the farm’s operation. But, that is also exactly why you need to leave occasionally. Getting away helps you to be more creative, more innovative and more focused when you return. The opportunity to share with other women from around the country will sharpen your thinking, energize you and provide you with more ideas for the next phase of your business than you can imagine. When you return you will be a better manager, a better boss, and a better partner than you are today.
3. I could never leave my family/kids for that long. Well why don’t you check in with them on that before you decide? Most families are pretty resilient — they figure out how to cope with a few changes to the schedule every now and then. And when you come back you will have new stories to share and you will be modeling for your children the importance of travel and seeing new things.
4. I don’t have a spouse/partner to take over my responsibilities. It is hard when it seems like everything rests on your shoulders. But if you start now you can likely find a friend, a neighbor, a relative or a community member that can fill in for you for a few days. Hire some help if you have to. Sometimes the hardest part of this solution is that you have to make yourself vulnerable enough to ask for some help. Do it! You’ll be so thankful you did.
5. There won’t be anything there that applies to my business. Sure there will be. First of all there will be women there that are farmers, ranchers, land owners and technical assistance providers. No matter what hat you wear…there will be someone else there wearing a similar hat. And, here is what I have learned from 25 years of working with women farmers — we all hit the same walls at some point. It doesn’t matter what business you are in…you will find others that are facing similar challenges. And the farm tours ROCK!!
6. I don’t know enough to keep up — I’ll just feel dumb. Within 1 hour of your arrival you will be giving someone advice and swapping stories. There will be women at all ages and stages of business ownership — you’ll find a group you can relate to.
7. I’ve been doing this a long time — there won’t be anything new for me to learn. I know that you know better than this. Anytime you have the opportunity to gather with a group of peers you will learn something. Even more importantly you will be able to share your knowledge and experience with others.
Ok, now post your excuse below and give us a chance to poke some holes in it….because there there are a few reasons why you really should plan to attend. We want you to be there. Your story is unique, your experience is real, you have lessons that we would all benefit from. Please make plans to attend. Do it today.