A cow to 'Crowne' Women in Agriculture Conference


Daphne is expected to attend the Women in Agriculture (WIA) Conference this upcoming March. While she is going to be at the conference, she isn’t going to be moooving around.

Turns out, Daphne is an acrylic cow housed at a Connecticut farm. Her attendance is to draw attention to the conference and how it can assist the female farmers of Rhode Island. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women comprise of 38 percent of the farmers in Rhode Island, which is slightly higher than the national average of about 33 percent. According to Lyn A. Spinella, a treasurer and board member for the event, that is one of many reasons that attending the WIA Conference is a great way to connect with the community.

According to a press release, woman interested in agriculture and looking to learn more about it or meet like-minded individuals, should attend the conference at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick on Tuesday, March 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. According to the release, the conference is an opportunity for people to connect with each other, converse about agriculture, give mutual support, and to hone their skills.

The WIA conference is a biennial event funded mostly by donations and grants. Spinella hopes about 200 people will attend the conference.

According to Spinella, about 80 percent of the attendees are going to be from the local Rhode Island area, so you may see some friendly faces in the crowd. In addition to the special guest Daphne, real live people scheduled to attend include meat producer Kim Coulter of Stoney Hill Cattle Co., winemaker Nancy Parker Wilson of Greenvale Vineyards, beekeeper Celeste Nadworthy of RI Fruit Hill Apiaries, and oyster farmer Cindy West of Cedar Island Oysters.

According to the release, the event offers a wide range of workshops providing opportunities to learn practical skills including chainsaw safety, tractor management, and composting practices. Round table discussions will cover a variety of topics including grant and other funding opportunities, food safety, and craft beverages. Free skin cancer screenings are also being offered by the RI Department of Health.

Dignitaries invited to attend the conference are Governor Gina Raimondo; Rhode Island State Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Susan Sosnowski; Chief of the RI Division of Agriculture, Ken Ayars; Catherine Feeney, RI DOH Center for Food Protection Retail Chief; and RI State Veterinarian, Dr. Scott Marshall.

The registration for the conference is $35 and can be completed online through Eventbrite.com. Any attendee who brings a non-perishable food item to benefit the RI Food Bank will receive a ticket to a special raffle. A gift bag, continental breakfast, lunch, and a handbook containing essential agricultural resources are included in the fee. A silent action is also planned. Spinella is hopeful it will raise $1,000.


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