Women In Agriculture Conference

About 175 were in attendance at the Mid-Mo Women In Agriculture Conference held at California High School Thursday, March 28.

Taking note of the theme of the ninth year of the event "Hats We Wear... Memories We Share," many of the women in attendance wore vintage and modern work, fun and dress hats in a myriad of styles and colors.

Carolyn Miller, a vintage clothing collector from Sedalia, served as speaker for the general session. Her presentation included facts and stories on the fabrics, clothing designs and stories about some of the original owners of the 1950's clothing on display.

Starting with small suits and frilly dresses worn by small children, Miller talked about the clothing of the era all the way to mature adults. She made a point that wearing the vintage clothing in the original fabrics was not so easy because it did not stretch or give. For some of the vintage clothes, Miller said assistance proves helpful in putting it on. The time was more formal and people tended to dress up a little to even leave the house.

Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary Russell, formerly of Hannibal, was the luncheon speaker. Noting that she grew up on a small dairy farm and that her husband is a "recovering farmer," Russell described some of the experiences of growing up on the farm.

The dairy herd was 40 Holstein cows. "Every cow had a name and a distinct personalilty." As an example, Russell said, "Helen was the mother of every calf whether it was hers or not."

As products of the Great Depression, Russell's parents "never bought anything for the farm they couldn't pay for with cash." That included such "big ticket" items as tractors. She said that is why she grew up driving tractors built in the 1940's.

Her mother made sure the children had good manners and followed the Golden Rule. Her father worked hard, read from the encyclopedia and challenged the children on the information he gained. His first "vacation" was in a hospital with broken ribs after he was knocked down by his registered Holstein bull.

Russell went into law in college, encouraged by her father's attitude. She practiced law for 12 years before being appointed to an Appeals Court. Now she is on the Missouri Supreme Court.

She commented about the court being like dairy farming - it is a seven day a week job.

Russell commented that material things aren't the important things. They are what a person gives their children and grandchildren by their life.

"What's important are the lessons my parents gave me," she said.

Other parts of the event of interest were vendors on-site and the breakout workshop sessions.

Capital Region Medical Center provided a heart health screening all day. Other vendors offered items ranging from spring plants, jewelry and cooking utensils to Sydenstricker John Deere tractors and Gators and information on cost-share ponds.

Workshop session topics included diabetes, farm estate taxes, container gardening, drought effects on ponds, sustainable agriculture, beef cooking and a "critter health" session about "What's Bugging Your Critters."

Thanks to generous support of local businesses, door prizes were awarded throughout the event day.

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