2019 WIA Conference Agenda


Kickoff Speaker: Tim Hammerich

Founder - Ag Grad, 10:00-10:55 a.m.

Tim Hammerich is an Agribusiness Recruiter and the host of the “Future of Agriculture” weekly podcast. He is the Founder of AgGrad.com, which helps students and young professionals find their place in modern agriculture. Tim spent the first eight years of his career in the feed and grain industry as a merchandiser and manager. He is a former National FFA President and graduate of the University of California, Davis. He and his family now live in Eagle, Idaho.

Lunch Speaker: Giannella Alvarez

CEO - Beanitos, 12:20 – 1:20 p.m.

Today, women are stepping up to lead industries where they haven’t traditionally played a leading role – and agriculture is one of them. Across industries, women now make up a majority of entry level hires, and even make up a majority of college graduates with degrees in agriculture.

The future is indeed female, and the benefits of women in business are clear: businesses with women leaders are more profitable, are more collaborative, and hire and retain more diverse employees. As a company that sources its main ingredient from American farmers, Beanitos is fully vested in the farmer community success, and empowering women is key to that continued success. The women leading in agriculture and food today are trailblazers, and while they’re generating remarkable results, they also face significant challenges in this industry.

The world needs women’s voices in agriculture and the food industry. Giannella Alvarez, chief executive officer of Beanitos, LLC., will share her thoughts and experiences on getting a seat at the table, and how women can have their voice heard at any table, be it a meeting room, the dinner table, a bankers’ table or a board room and how she has found her own voice and the confidence to Take A Seat At The Table.

Keynote Speaker: Marji Guyler-Alaniz

President and Founder of FarmHer, 5:30 – 7:15 p.m.

Marji Guyler-Alaniz, President and Founder of FarmHer, is a lifetime Iowan and lover of photography.  That love, combined with Graphic Design, Journalism, and Photography degrees from Grand View University, an MBA from Drake University, and an 11-year career in corporate agriculture working for a crop insurance company led her to launch FarmHer in the spring of 2013. Through FarmHer she is updating the image of agriculture by showing the female side of farming and ranching, creating community amongst women in agriculture, and outreach to young women interested in agriculture.  In addition to the photography side of FarmHer, Marji has expanded the organization to include a weekly award-winning television show, airing on national cable network RFD-TV, a weekly SiriusXM radio show and podcast, annual events to inspire and empower women in agriculture, and a line of merchandise aimed at women in agriculture. Her work for FarmHer has been featured in an expanse of arenas ranging from Public Television and RFD-TV to USDA’s National Ag Day Celebration, Successful Farming, and O, the Oprah Magazine. 

Friday Breakfast Speaker: Jim Robb

Director and Senior Agricultural Economist at the Livestock Marketing Information Center, 8:30 -8:50 a.m.

Jim Robb is the Director and Senior Agricultural Economist at the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). Prior to joining the LMIC, Jim was an Agricultural Economist at the University of Nebraska.  He also has worked in the agricultural banking sector. He received degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of California – Davis and Michigan State University. Throughout his career, Jim has served on advisory committees and working groups for industry, USDA agencies, academic institutions, and professional organizations.  Currently, he is President of the Foundation for Livestock and Grain Marketing, a non-profit. Also, he is Chair of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association Economics, Statistics & Information Resources Committee.  Jim has authored or co-authored over 1,400 articles, research reports, and newsletters on a variety of livestock marketing and economic topics.  He is a regular speaker at conferences throughout North America and has given expert testimony to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.

The LMIC has been a Center of Excellence for over 60 years.  It is a unique cooperative effort that supports market education, research, and outlook. The Center is comprised of: 28 Land Grant Universities; seven USDA agencies; and associate industry and educational institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

Capstone Speaker: Joan Ruskamp

Chariman of the National Cattlemen's Beef Board, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Joan Ruskamp and her husband, Steve, operate a feedlot and row-crop farm west of Dodge, Nebraska. The farm has been in Steve's  family for more than 100 years. On the farm, Joan's main jobs include walking pens, cattle doctoring/ processing, and office manager. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Curtis, where she earned an associate degree in veterinary medicine in 1980. Joan has been very active in the beef industry, with service to local and national organizations. She received the Livestock Industry Appreciation Award from the Nebraska Corn Board and the FarmHer Hall of Fame award. In addition, she has been active in her community as a 4-H leader, EMT, and other local organizations. Joan received a Certificate of Merit from the Catholic Order of Foresters, Outstanding Catechist from the Archdiocese of Omaha, and a 25 year 4-H leader award from the Dodge County 4-H Council. Joan currently serves as Chair on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB). Joan is also on the planning committee for the annual Ag-Ceptional Women's Conference held in Norfolk, NE, is an alum of the Nebraska LEAD program, and volunteers for a national advocacy program known as CommonGround. Joan and Steve have been married for 37 years, have five children, three sons-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and six grandchildren. Joan is actively sharing her farm’s story on social media and through a personal blog.

Session 1 (Thursday 11:00am - 12:15pm)
Getting Clear on Your Impact, Tim Hammerich

Ever seen a commercial and thought "I have no idea what they were trying to advertise"? This is due to a lack of clarity in brand and what they bring to the table. The same thing could be happening to you! Does everyone understand your unique value proposition and how you can help them? This is important for individuals, businesses, and all organizations. This interactive session will equip you with the tools to be very clear on who you are and what you offer your customers, your industry, and your community.

Happy in the Heart: Caring for Yourself so You can Care for Others, Holly Hatton-Bowers & Lynn Devries

 There can be many moments in life that present challenges and uncertainty. While many of us face these challenges and survive, we may not be living a life that fosters our ability to thrive. Maya Angelou said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Attend this workshop and learn what it means to thrive by cultivating self-care and compassion. In order to care for others, you need to nurture yourself and intentionally work to create and maintain a healthy life. Self-care helps us reduce stress and build our resilience to thrive. During this workshop learn creative self-care approaches and how mindfulness can help in developing healthy ways to deal with family stress.

Curiosity Killed the “CAT”. Crop Insurance - What you have wanted to know but have never asked, Carmen Egging-Draper

 Ever wonder how moving up from free insurance “CAT Coverage” to buy-up policies can assist you in marketing your crop.  Learn how Revenue Insurance works, being able to read the paperwork, and using supplemental products, such as hail insurance to assist you in your marketing plan. Get your questions answered here. There will also be many other tips that can make crop insurance easier to understand.

Unlock the Secrets of Your Soil, Aaron Hird & Rebecca Hodges

Understanding soil health and the role of cover crops in a Soil Health Management System can make it more feasible for you to consider adopting and/or implementing the suite of good farming practices necessary to improve the health of your soil.

“Outlaws and In-laws” the ins and outs of family communication when transitioning your farm operation, Allan Vyhnalek

Lack of communication among family members is the most common issue in estate and transition planning.  This workshop will focus will be on effective yet simple strategies tackle communication breakdowns and barriers. Allan will share his best tips and tricks to improve family meetings, hone your listening skills and  improve your ability to ask clarifying questioning. No matter if you are an in-law or an outlaw you can use these tidbits you will establish better a family communications strategy.

“Refinance” is not a dirty word! Dallas Zimbelman

You’ve heard your lender mention a refinance and immediately your heart skips a beat!  The word refinance carries a lot of uncertainty and fear to most producers.  What if there was a better way of looking at it? This workshop will take you through some refinance examples from the lender’s prospective.  It will highlight some of the positives that can happen in an operation after a refinance.  The session will conclude with steps that an operation can take after a refinance to ensure the operation stays going for years to come.

Trends in Nebraska Cash Rent and Crop Share Leases, Jim Jansen

Leading into 2019, Nebraska farmers and ranchers face rising interest rates and low commodity prices. The upcoming production season appears to be financially challenging for many agricultural producers across the state. Making informed financial decisions remain more critical than ever when purchasing or renting crop land. This presentation covers current trends in Nebraska crop land rent and provisions for crop shares to give participants an edge when negotiating lease terms.

Session 2 (Thursday 1:30 -  2:45pm)
The Mechanics of Estate and Business Transition Planning (Part 1 of 2) Pam Olsen

Ms. Olsen will discuss the issues that can and should be considered as part of developing a generational or business transition plan and the types of tools that may be utilized by owners/operators in creating a transition plan to best accomplish their goals. This seminar will address these issues in the context of business planning, estate planning, and long term care planning.

“I want a candy bar” to “I want a new car!” The skill and art of negotiation. Allan Vyhnalek & Austin Duerfeldt

Negotiation is life.  Everyone uses some form of the skill to accomplish tasks each day.  Learn about better negotiation skills in this session as we explore how win-win and positive outcomes can become obtainable. Negotiation is about preparation, knowing your ‘no agreement’ position, knowing your possible agreement options, and finding the greater value to the negotiation.  Negotiation is about good communications. The session will also look at how emotions will interfere with negotiations and will examine strategies to overcome emotional situations and people. 

Building Stewardship Through Your Herd Health Plan, Rob Eirich

Today’s beef cattle industry faces many challenges and regulations with animal health. Herd health is a top priority for all livestock operations, to insure the best care and welfare of our animals. This workshop will help to build the structure for a strong herd health program for your herd. Participants will leave with some basic tools to outline herd health needs and disease risks throughout the year. These tools can then help in building a Valid Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship (VCPR), Preventative Health Plan, and Treatment Plan for your operation.

Using Your Financial Documents to Succeed, Robert Tigner

This presentation will discuss ways to utilize current farm and ranch accounting records and tax documents to measure and compare financial progress of the farm or ranch. The presentation will also show how to compare an individual farm or ranch analysis to other farms and ranches and to expected standards.

CSI: Crop Scout Investigation, Sarah Sivits, Jenny Rees, & Megan Taylor 

Have you ever wanted to scout your fields, but don’t know where to start? Or, maybe you have scouted a little in the past but are interested in learning more. Then this is the workshop for you! Join us at our CSI: Crop Scout Investigation workshop to learn more about scouting your fields. At this workshop we will cover the basics of crop scouting, pest identification, learn the differences between harmful and beneficial pests, and how to properly use IPM strategies to manage pests in the field.

Fit to Farm-We have your back! Linda Emanuel

As the “Salt of the Earth” female farmers face unique environmental exposures, ergonomic  challenges, and health disparities across the age continuum. This program will actively engage you to identify ergonomic issues leading to musculoskeletal injuries as well as to discover resources to aid in injury treatment and prevention. Your good health and safety in your daily work matters!

Flexible Grazing Land Leases and Considerations, Jim Jansen

Grazing land in Nebraska typically rents on a per acre or head basis. Renting for a fixed amount each grazing season does not allow for the rate to respond to weather conditions or market prices for livestock. Flexing grazing land rent to reflect changes in the weather, livestock prices, or other factors more equitably adjusts the lease rate to account for these forces. This presentation covers current rental trends in Nebraska grazing land and examples of flexible leases for pasture or range.

Session 3 (Thursday 3:15 -  4:30pm)
The Mechanics of Estate and Business Transition Planning (Part 2 of 2), Pam Olsen
Confronting and anticipating the unexpected! Why long term care insurance may be relevant to the continued success of your family’s farm/ranch operation. Brandon Dirkschneider 

Many families face the decision on whether or not to purchase long term care (LTC) insurance. Some of these families do not understand the exact implication it may have on their family’s operation. In this session, we will learn about the who, what, when, and why regrading LTC insurance and how federal programs like the Partnership Program and tax law can help your family mitigate this risk.

Figuring Farm Budgets – What price is needed to sell above break-even? Glennis McClure 

Let’s dig into how to determine your break-even costs for crops and livestock. Knowing your costs and break-even price is foundational to establishing a good marketing plan. Is it a complicated process, you ask? It doesn’t need to be if you understand what data goes into a budget. In this session we’ll look at a farm income statement and a Schedule F and demonstrate how this information can be used in enterprise budgeting. In addition, we’ll utilize the current University crop and livestock budgets and share news about the new budget format that the UNL Ag Econ department is working on.

Food Label Fact or Fiction, Megahn Schafer 

Manufacturers want you to buy their food, so they use special catchphrases to entice you. "Pure," "organic," and "natural" are just a few. Some of the food labels you encounter at the supermarket are useful. However, there are many that are misleading. There are ways you can decode the mysteries behind food labeling. Attend this workshop to:
1. Clear up confusion about food labels.
2. Learn why this is an important topic for farmers and ranchers.
3. Practice ways to communicate to consumers the care farmers and ranchers take to raise nutritious,
affordable food.

Fuzz, Spores, and Mold, Oh My! Sarah Sivits, Jenny Rees, & Megan Taylor

Have you ever wondered what diseases were growing on your crop? Have you ever wanted to look at them up close and personal? Here’s your chance! At this workshop, you will have the opportunity to look at different crop diseases and learn about identifying characteristics that scientists, agronomists, and educators use every day to identify these diseases. Participants will have the opportunity for hands-on learning by using microscopes and other tools to identify diseases found in the field.

Cover Crops, Cattle, and Cash, Mary Drewnoski 

The high pasture rental rates in Nebraska have led some cattle producers to ask if there are alternative forage options available that might lower costs. While there are many annual forage options available, the potential window for planting and/or the window in which the forage is needed will narrow down the options. This presentation will cover keys to selecting annual forages that may fit into your cropping systems, the feeding value, and how to evaluate the economics.

Bonus, S179, and Like-Kind Exchange… Oh My! The changes and how to calculate for tax purposes. Austin Duerfeldt

This class will provide you a basic understanding of depreciation under the tax law. Questions such as:
• When can you expense rather than depreciate an asset?
• What exactly is MACRS and how is it calculated?
• What does bonus depreciation mean?
• What changes were made to Section 179?
• How does trading equipment work without Like Kind Exchange?
Expect to find answers to these questions and more.

Session 4 (Thursday 7:15 - 8:30pm)
Circles of Support: Building Resilience Through Relationships, Bob Bertsch

How can you remain resilient when faced with a crisis, a disaster or just the constant stress of life? Your personal strengths are important to your resilience, but so is your social support. Having good social relationships improves your psychological and physical well-being, but how can you control your relationships with others? In this workshop, you’ll learn how to intentionally build your circle of support by practicing discovery, generosity, sharing, growth and relationships. Working on your social support can help you feel happier, more fulfilled, and in control, while improving your resilience.

Session 5 (Friday 9:00 -  10:15am)
The Mechanics of Estate and Business Transition Planning (Part 1 of 2) Pam Olsen

Ms. Olsen will discuss the issues that can and should be considered as part of developing a generational or business transition plan and the types of tools that may be utilized by owners/operators in creating a transition plan to best accomplish their goals. This seminar will address these issues in the context of business planning, estate planning, and long term care planning.

Prepping for Grain Market Opportunities (The Basics), Elaine Kub 

The 2019 grain markets may not be a total apocalypse ... yet ... but grain producers will sleep more soundly knowing they've stocked up on the knowledge and tools they need to confidently market grain. This presentation will offer a friendly environment to learn the basic vocabulary and mechanics of trading grain, making the industry's complex jargon clear to beginners or anyone who's ever had a question they were too flustered to ask.

Cattle Markets: Drivers and Issues, Jim Robb 

An overview of the drivers in the cattle markets will be presented focusing on demand and supply.  Then, some current issues and what’s on the horizon will be discussed.

What in the World are People Eating? Pat Jones and Sandra Barrera Fuentes 

Identify, taste, and learn how to prepare those fun and unique looking fruits and vegetables that are being seen in our market place. Such as Romanesco Broccoli, Daikon, or Dragon Fruit. Along with why we eat them (benefits and nutrition facts).

Increase Your Profits With Sheep and Goats, Randy Saner 

Adding sheep or goats to a beef or crop operation can increase profits while helping rid the farm/ranch of troublesome weeds and brush. Producers pay money to spray weeds and brush in their operation. You can raise meat while ridding yourself of problem weeds using sheep and goats. Small ruminants prefer forbs and woody plants and will graze them first. You can sell more total pounds of meat from the same operation while reducing your chemical cost and amount of chemicals used.

Hiring through Firing: Legal issues when employing people in agriculture, Katie Samples Dean 

Having employees can be one of the best and worst things for many farmers and ranchers across Nebraska. They provide much-needed assistance, but there are multiple legal issues that you now must work with. We will break down the most common employment-law issues such as pay, workplace injuries, employer-provided housing and a few others.

Keeping Good Records…its more than a computer program. Tina Barrett 

As a tax preparer and financial consultant for farmers, I constantly wish for good records but what exactly am I wishing for? Good records are more about information being gathered than a specific record keeping system. We won’t be learning to use a program like Quickbooks or PcMars but will be talking about what information you should have easily available as part of your records. When you have good records, everything from tax preparation, annual loan renewals, and financial analysis become much easier. Then you have time to use those records for financial management decisions to really improve your business.

Session 6 (Friday 10:45am - 12:00pm)
The Mechanics of Estate and Business Transition Planning (Part 2 of 2) Pam Olsen 
Prepping for Grain Market Opportunities (The Whole Shebang), Elain Kub 

The 2019 grain markets may not be a total apocalypse ... yet ... but grain producers will sleep more soundly knowing they've stocked up on the knowledge and tools they need to confidently market grain. This presentation will offer a fully-stocked bug-out bag of grain marketing tools, including futures and options strategies tailored to the current market environment, storage strategies, alternative contracts, and a look at the future of blockchain technology in grain logistics.

Exploring Revenue Protection Options, Jay Parsons 

Agricultural producers make decisions in the presence of risk every day. It is generally not a matter of determining if risk is present but rather what the risks are and what, if anything, you can do about them. We will explore some of the primary risks facing livestock producers today and some of the tools available to help protect your bottom line.

“Honey, Can You Stop by the FSA Office for Me?”: What to Expect When Doing Business with the County Farm Service Agency Office, Deidra Werner

The County Farm Service Agency (FSA) Office can play a big role in the success of your agricultural operation. These offices implement farm bill safety net programs, disaster assistance programs and farm loan programs, all of which can be important to your farm or ranch but all of which also have a decent amount of paperwork.  Whether you are the principal farm/ranch operator, or you are your spouse’s right-hand-woman, it’s important to understand the programs  and resources available to you and some of the key things you might be asked to do when you stop by your County FSA Office. This session will explore these important points.

What happens when a state agency wins a farming competition? Economic, production, and water quality implications. Katie Perkarek, Cara McCullough & Sam Radford

Farming, livestock and economics should be mutually beneficial with water quality, environment and quality of life.  As water quality professionals, we examine the world from the lens of how our actions on the land impact water quality and how the quality of water impacts our health and way of life.

 In this session, we will discuss how a state agency won the most profitable farm in the Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) competition and got second place in the most efficient category – all while reducing inputs.  From here, we will highlight water quality issues and successes across the state, voluntary approaches being used to prevent runoff pollution and protect drinking water sources, and how you can use these things to benefit the economics and long term sustainability of your operation.

2018 Farm Bill: Debate Over, Decisions Ahead, Brad Lubben

The 2018 Farm Bill was completed just before the end of the year, setting the stage for farm program roll-out in 2019. While the programs may look and sound familiar to those under the previous farm bill, producers will need to make new decisions about commodity programs in an increasingly risky environment. This presentation will cover current programs and developments and help producers make decisions to manage programs and risk in 2019.

PDF of Schedule

Schedule at a Glance

Thursday February 21, 2019
  • 10:00 - 10:55 a.m. Welcome & Kickoff Speaker - Tim Hammerich
  • 11:00 – 12:15 p.m. Workshop Session 1
  • 12:20 – 1:20 p.m. Lunch & Speaker Giannella Alvarez
  • 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. Workshop Session 2
  • 2:45 – 3:15 p.m. Break
  • 3:15 – 4:30 p.m. Workshop Session 3
  • 5:30 – 7:15 p.m. Dinner & Keynote Speaker - Marji Guyler-Alaniz
  • 7:15 – 8:30 p.m. Workshop Session 4

Friday February 22, 2019

  • 7:30 – 8:15 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
  • 8:15 -8:50 a.m. Morning Update & Speaker - Jim Robb
  • 9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Workshop Session 5
  • 10:15 – 10:45 a.m. Break
  • 10:45 – 12:00 p.m. Workshop Session 6
  • 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch & Capstone Speaker - Joan Ruskamp

More Information

Registration Types

TWO DAY —Two-day registrations postmarked or submitted on or before February 12 are $125 per person.  Beginning February 13, the fee for a two-day registration is $150 per person.

ONE DAY— One-day registrations are $75 per person, regardless of the day postmarked or submitted. 

GUEST - Participants can register a guest for $15 per meal, regardless of the day postmarked or submitted. Guests are spouses or family members of an attendee. This registration only allows them to attend meals, not participate in workshops. 

How to Register

1. Register Online at www.regonline.com/NEWIA2019 

2. Register by mail: Mail a completed Registration Form with a check made out to University of Nebraska. to:

c/o Women in Ag Conference
4502 Ave I
Scottsbluff, NE  69631

If you have any questions about the online registration process, contact Eric Buck at 402-472-1576 or ebuck3@unl.edu. For questions about the conference or the workshops, contact Jessica Groskopf at 308-632-1247 or wia@unl.edu.

Hotel Information

Reservations should be made directly with the Kearney Holiday Inn. Their special room rate is $104.95 per room. The hotel is holding a block of rooms until January 20 for the Women in Agriculture Conference.

Phone: 308-237-5971

Address : 110 Second Ave., Kearney, NE 68848. Located north of I-80 at Kearney Exit 272

Credit Card  Payments - The University of Nebraska cannot take credit card numbers by mail or email. If you would like to pay via credit card, please register online.

Cancellations - The full fee is refundable up to February 16, a 50% refund until February 20, and no refund on or after February 21. In the event of a weather cancellation it will be announced on KRVN and local TV stations, as well as by email and posted on the WIA website and Facebook page.

Tax Deductible - The expenses of continuing education when taken to maintain and improve professional skills are tax deductible. Consult your tax advisor for more details.