Aggies network at Women in Ag |

Aggies network at Women in Ag

Joan Ruskamp, center back, and NCTA Aggies

KEARNEY, Neb. – College students were inspired by mentors and role models during the recent Nebraska Women in Ag conference in Kearney.

Seven student members of the Women in Ag club from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis joined over 250 attendees in sharing marketing, policy, leadership and more as they networked at the 34th annual WIA conference on Feb. 21-22.

“As a college student and future educator, this was a great resource for me to learn from and pass on to future students,” said Kayla Mues, an NCTA agriculture education major from Cambridge.

Opening speaker, Tim Hammerich, founder of AgGrad kicked off the presentations to the theme, “Take Charge of Change.”

He challenged attendees to define and clarify the impact they want to have in their lives and that of those around them, whether in agricultural production, business, education or other service-related careers in agriculture.

“What is the underlying impact you want to have?” Hammerich asked.

Marji Guyler-Alaniz of the FarmHer television show broadcast on RFD-TV was another highlight. The Iowa-based farmer likes to mentor younger people as well as showcase women serving in leadership, ownership and management roles in agriculture.

“The conference really opened up my eyes to the world of agriculture according to females,” said Jocelyn Kennicutt, an NCTA freshmen animal science major from Gothenburg. “Just by speaking with and learning from the women agriculturalists from all over Nebraska, I am inspired by their hard work and dedication.”

Two program presenters have roots with NCTA and its predecessor institution, The University of Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture.

Allan Vyhnalek, extension educator based at the UNL Department of Agricultural Economics, taught farm management at UNSTA in the 1970’s. Now, he assists audiences with generational transition and ownership of farming operations. He emphasizes communications and planning for farm and ranch families.

Keynote lunch speaker was Joan Ruskamp, an UNSTA alumna in veterinary technology. She and her spouse, Steve, own and operates a family feedlot and diversified farm near Dodge, Nebraska.

Her motivational and informative message was uplifting and encouraged young women from NCTA to continue their education, agricultural advocacy and life balance in a demanding yet rewarding career.

Meredith Cable, NCTA assistant professor of animal science and faculty advisor for the college’s Women in Ag club, said the educational programs, and variety of exhibits from USDA and other vendors were helpful to Aggie students for their careers.

“This conference is a wonderful networking opportunity that allows our students to meet high quality agricultural producers not only from Nebraska but from across the country.”

In addition to Kennicutt and Mues, other NCTA students who attended were Tiffany Dickau, Elwood; Emily Giese, Papillion; Catherine Ljunggren, rural Harvard (Hamilton County), Chantelle Schulz, York; and Aurora Urwiler, Laurel.