Networking, leadership opportunities, workshops and even "funshops" will empower women during the annual Women in Agriculture Conference Feb. 21-22 at the Kearney, NE, Holiday Inn.

"The Heart of the Farm" is the theme for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension conference that will celebrate 23 years of education and recognition of women in agriculture – the heart of every Nebraska farm, says Megan Voss, program coordinator in UNL's Department of Agricultural Economics.

"We hope this will provide an opportunity for women to develop management skills in every facet of agriculture," Voss says. "The workshop will provide leadership, learning support and networking avenues to empower women."

The two-day conference begins Feb. 21 with 9 a.m. registration followed by a 10 a.m. welcome. The conference kicks off with one of four keynote speakers, Shannon Zetterlund, Mrs. Iowa 2002. Zetterlund will encourage the group to celebrate life and live it to the fullest. Other keynote speakers include: Joseph E Hall, an Elvis tribute artist, who will entertain the group during dinner Feb. 21; Jill Brown, UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources career specialist; and T. Marni Vos, humorist and motivational speaker, who will close the conference during lunch Feb. 22.

The conference features nearly three dozen workshops on various topics, including the farm bill, stress management, distillers grains, GPS and record keeping.

"Funshops" are optional workshops with a goal of networking and fun. Topics include personal safety, making a garden stepping stone and an intro to e-Bay.

Cost for the two-day conference is $90 if paid before Feb. 8. After Feb. 8, cost is $110. The fee includes workshop materials, registration, breaks, lunch and dinner on Feb. 21 and breakfast and lunch on Feb. 22.

For more information about the conference, including a complete list of workshop and speaker bios, conference sponsors and booths, visit the Women in Ag Web site at http://wia.unl.edu/ and click on WIA Conference. Registration is available online or by mail, phone or fax. Mail completed registration form with check or credit card number to Women in Agriculture, UNL Agricultural Economics, 304 Filley Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0922, call 800-535-3456 or fax 402-472-0776.

For the second year, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will provide 20 scholarships for 4-H, FFA and community college students who are interested in attending the conference. The scholarship will cover $45 of the $90 registration fee. The remaining $45 will need to be paid by the student. In addition, five current CASNR students will receive a full scholarship to the conference. Application forms are available on the WIA Web site or by e-mailing Voss at mvoss2@unl.edu. Applications are due Feb. 8.