More than 200 members of the Alabama Farmers Federation enjoyed a humorous and inspirational speaker as part of the Women’s Leadership Conference held April 10-12 in Birmingham.
Donya Lester of Linden, Ind., delivered an encouraging message, recounting funny tales as a farmer’s wife and lessons from her grandmother, which included being intentional about enjoying each day.
“I am here to tell you that we need to be happy, and we need to put on our glad pants,” Lester said. “I fully believe we all choose the attitude we have. It’s a choice we make to be a positive person and have a good outlook on life.”
Workshops on estate planning, women’s wellness and Alabama Ag in the Classroom were offered during the conference.
Sharon Byrd, vice-chairman of the 2013 State Women’s Leadership Committee, said the estate-planning workshop was especially beneficial.
“Estate planning is something the average farmer keeps putting off, and then the unexpected happens,” Byrd said. “Then we aren’t prepared. Particularly as farmers, most of our assets are in land and equipment. If you have not made preparations, you can get hit big time even if you’re just passing your assets to your family.”
Members showed their charitable side at the conference by bringing in 925 pounds of aluminum pop tabs, which help fund the Ronald McDonald House of Birmingham. Byrd said tabs also are collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Mobile in December.
“We had a couple counties surpass the 100-pound mark on pop tabs,” Byrd said of the April collection. “They just keep coming up with new ways to collect. Some of them are doing contests with schools to collect the most tabs.”
A morning breakfast program during the conference included a legislative update by Federation National Legislative Program Director Mitt Walker. The Alabama Farm-City Awards Luncheon was held in conjunction with the conference, and many Federation leaders were recognized for their participation.
The closing banquet, sponsored by Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit, featured live bluegrass music by The Allen Tolbert Unit.
Women’s Leadership Division Director Kim Ramsey said this year’s conference was one of the best yet.
“Our State Women’s Committee works hard to make this conference excellent each year,” Ramsey said. “I’ve heard wonderful feedback about Donya Lester. She gave advice we can all use. We had a great crowd, and I’m pleased we were able to offer something for everyone.”