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On behalf of the conference planning committee, welcome to the 13th annual ARWIA Conference. You’re in for a treat! We’re excited to have Krista Cupp join us as our keynote speakers and proud to have added additional workshops designed for our collegiate members. We hope you benefit from the wide variety of educational opportunities this year and cultivate relationships with other women in ag that will last a lifetime.

Monica Paskewitz President

Jenni Burke Committee Chair

WE NEED YOU Want to be a part of something greater than yourself? Do you like the thought of working as a team to serve other women in agriculture? If so, we need YOU!  Our annual membership meeting will be held Tuesday at 4:10 p.m.   An update on ARWIA happenings and board elections will be conducted during this time. The slate of nominations will be presented during the membership meeting and we will take nominations from the floor. We encourage all members to attend this meeting and to consider this unique opportunity to use your talents and abilities to help make a difference in the lives of other women in agriculture in our state.





9:00 - 10:00


10:00 - 10:15 Silver City 1 & 2

Opening & Welcome Taylor McNeel, Former National FFA President

10:15 - 11:30 Silver City 1 & 2

Farm Bill Discussion Panel Krista Cupp, The Herald Group Brandy Carroll, ArFB Cynthia Edwards, AR Ag Dept

11:30 - 12:00 Silver City 5,6,7

Break with Vendors

12:00 - 1:30 Silver City 3 & 4

Keynote Luncheon Krista Cupp, The Herald Group

1:40 - 2:30 Silver City 1

Afternoon Breakout Sessions Track 1 – Canning 101 Terrie James

Silver City 2

Track 2 – Got Trees? Now what? Dr. Tamara Walkingstick


Track 3 – Careers in Ag Matt Shekels

2:30 - 3:00 Silver City 5,6,7

Break with Vendors

3:10 - 4:00 Silver City 1

Late Afternoon Breakout Sessions Track 1 – Telling Your Story Pam Billingsley

Silver City 2

Track 2 – How to Market Crops Jordan Thomas


Track 3 – Resume Building & Dressing Your Best Charla Keys

4:10 - 5:00 Silver City 1

ARWIA Membership Meeting

5:00 - 7:00 Silver City 5,6,7

Wine and Cheese Social with the Vendors

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 7:00 - 8:30 Silver City 5,6,7

Breakfast with the Vendors

8:30 - 9:00 General Assembly and Morning Welcome Silver City 1 & 2 Taylor McNeel, Former National FFA President 9:10 - 10:00 Silver City 1

Morning Breakout Sessions Track 1 – Agri Tourism Ruth & Grace Pepler

Silver City 2 Track 2 – Changes in the Poultry Industry & Impacts on Arkansas Harlee Haney Razorback

Track 3 – How to Start the Conversation (Estate Planning) April Pollard

10:00 - 10:30 Silver City 5,6,7

Break with Vendors & Silent Auction Closes

10:40 - 11:30 Silver City 1

Morning Breakout Sessions Track 1 – Beekeeping 101 Roger & Janet Fryar

Silver City 2

Track 2 – Cattle Herd Health Jeremy Powell, DVM

Razorback Track 3 – Cultivating Your Family’s Future (Estate Planning) Elizabeth Rumley 11:45 - 1:00 Silver City 3 & 4

Closing Lunch Krista Cupp, The Herald Group

#ARWIA18 Arkansas Women in Agriculture @ARWomenInAg


Thank you


PLATINUM ($5000+)

GOLD ($2500+)


BRONZE ($500+)



Arkansas Women in Agriculture is a proud sponsor of Annie’s Project in our state. Annie’s Project is an agricultural business education program that empowers farm and ranch women who want to become more knowledgeable about their agricultural enterprises in a comfortable, supportive learning environment.

Find an Annie’s Project class near you at:



Pay your $25 annual membership fee at our conference or online at Receive our quarterly newsletter to keep you connected and receive a discount on our annual conference & workshops. 5

Keynote Speaker KRISTA CUPP


Krista Cupp is a communications veteran with more than a decade of experience in communications, public affairs and crisis management for both corporate and nonprofit sectors. In her current role as Vice President at The Herald Group in Washington D.C., she leads the food and agriculture practice for the firm, specializing in strategic communications, crisis management and grassroots activation for both corporate and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining The Herald Group, Krista led and managed Tyson Foods’ corporate brand identity and was the primary speechwriter and executive visibility lead for the Tyson Foods CEO and executive team. Krista also served aas the former spokesperson for the National Rifle Association. She’s a member of the Arthur Page Society, Agribusiness Club of Washington D.C., Women in Agriculture and Public Relations Society of America. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and communications from William Jewell College in Kansas City, Missouri.


Sessions & Speakers TAYLOR MCNEEL

FORMER NATIONAL FFA PRESIDENT 2015-16 Taylor McNeel is no stranger to hard work, hot days, sweat on the brow and the agricultural world. She grew up in Vilonia with her family on their small family farm showing livestock and horses as a FFA and 4-H member. She is a proud Southern Arkansas University (SAU) Mulerider studying agricultural business and Spanish. She hopes to pursue a career in agricultural policy, trade, and international agriculture. Taylor is committed to serving others and agriculture. She has been able to live out this purpose serving as a state and national FFA officer, serving as a President’s Ambassador at SAU, and giving back to youth in FFA and 4-H. In addition to her studies and work on the farm, she is a sweet tea fanatic and loves watching the New Orleans Saints play football.


Sessions & Speakers Farm Bill Panel Discussion Tuesday, March 13

Silver City 1 & 2 10:15 - 11:30 AM

Krista Cupp, our keynote speaker for the 2018 conference, serves as Vice President for The Herald Group in Washington, D.C. Krista’s strong roots in agriculture advocacy and policy are sure to contribute to our panel discussion. Read Krista’s full bio on page 6. Brandy Rennicke Carroll grew up on a rice and soybean farm in northeast Arkansas. She has been a member of the Commodity and Regulatory Affairs staff of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation for nearly 20 years. Brandy is the Director of Commodity Activities and Market information, working with the rice, cotton and aquaculture divisions. She also serves as administrator of the Rice Research and Promotion Board and the Catfish Promotion Board. Brandy was appointed to the American Farm Bureau Farm Bill Working Group by President Zippy Duvall, a committee of staff charged with helping Farm Bureau members prepare for the 2018 Farm Bill by providing information and recommending ideas for discussion, and advocating Farm Bureau’s positions in D.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Lyon College and was awarded the Patterson Decade Award in 2005. She is also a graduate of LeadAR Class 10. Brandy is married to Tim Carroll and has two children, Arden, 10, and Sophie, 8. Cynthia Edwards is currently the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture for Arkansas at the Arkansas Agriculture Department. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business at Arkansas State University, a Juris Doctorate at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, and a Master of Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Ms. Edwards previously served on the staffs of U. S. Senator Dale Bumpers and U. S. Senator Blanche Lincoln. Her primary duties included serving as the staff liaison for agricultural and natural resource issues and as director of constituent services. Cynthia currently serves on the Arkansas State University College of Agriculture and Technology (CoAT) – Agriculture Advisory Council, the Agribusiness Industry Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Arkansas Foundation for Agriculture, and the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Steering Committee.


Sessions & Speakers IN ORDER BY TIME SLOT

Canning 101 Silver City I Tuesday, March 13 1:40 - 2:30 PM Terrie James works for University of Arkansas Systems, Division of Agriculture, Research and Extension. She has been the County Extension Agent Family and Consumer Sciences, Staff Chair for Hempstead County since Sep 2013. She has been with Extension since 2003 and prior to that, worked in Mena, AR as a Clinical Assessment coordinator at Mena Regional Hospital. She is originally from St. Joseph, MO where she earned her bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University in Leisure Management (Recreation Administration as some folks call it) and also was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Army. She served eight years in the Reserves and National Guard attaining the rank of Captain.She earned her Master’s in Gerontology from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO. Terrie is married to Ralph James and they have two grown single sons and their mother is looking for appropriate daughters in laws.

Got Trees? Now What? Tuesday, March 13

Silver City II 1:40 - 2:30 PM

Dr. Walkingstick has worked for the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service as an Associate Professor of Extension Forestry since 1996. She also serves as the Associate Director for the Arkansas Forest Resources Center. Her state-wide responsibilities include general forest management education for adults and youth. She completed her Ph.D. in Forest Economics and Sociology of Natural Resources at the Auburn University, her MS at Oklahoma State University, and her BS at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. After receiving her BS, she served in Nepal as a Community Forestry Volunteer for US Peace Corps. Tamara serves on several boards including the Arkansas American Indian Center, Arkansas Women In Agriculture, and is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She was appointed to the USDA Forest Resources Coordinating Committee in 2014. She and her husband, Dr. Jack Gazin, live outside of Perryville and are non-timber private forest landowners and bee keepers.


Sessions & Speakers IN ORDER BY TIME SLOT

Careers in Agriculture Razorback Tuesday, March 13 1:40 - 2:30 PM After growing up on a dairy farm in northwest Arkansas, Matt Shekels started his career in western Kansas upon graduating from Arkansas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in ag business. Matt worked for Select Sires as a reproductive specialist and his work was focused on managing the entire reproductive programs of dairies ranging from 1,200 to 20,000 cows. During that time, Matt began working on his Master of Agribusiness at Kansas State University. After completing his master’s in 2012, Matt took the position of agriculture program director at North Arkansas College. Matt served there for 4 years before taking his current position as assistant professor of agriculture at College of the Ozarks. At College of the Ozarks, Matt teaches upper level ag courses and sponsors the department’s Collegiate Farm Bureau club.

Telling Your Story Tuesday, March 13

Silver City I 3:10 - 4:00 PM

Pam Billingsley works for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arkansas. She started her job with NRCS working for the district and has worked her way up to a District Conservationist in Ouachita and Union Counties. Pam serves on the Arkansas Women in Agriculture board as Southwest Area Representative. She also serves on the Environthon board and the Soil and Water Conservation Society board. Pam says she has a deep love for the land, driving her passion for her career. Join Pam’s workshop to tell your success story in agriculture and to hear others’ stories as well!


Sessions & Speakers IN ORDER BY TIME SLOT

How to Market Crops Tuesday, March 13

Silver City II 3:10 - 4:00 PM

Jordan Thomas has been helping farmers manage their marketing risk at Scott Agri Crop Marketing for a year and half. They consult farmers who raise corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, rice and cattle. Before that, he worked for Bunge North America as an elevator manager for 5 years in Lake Providence, Louisiana. Jordan is originally from North East Georgia and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business. He currently lives in Little Rock.

Resume Building & Dress Your Best Tuesday, March 13

Razorback 3:10 - 4:00 PM

Charla Keys recently retired from a 25-year career with Farm Credit of Western Arkansas where she served as Vice President of Human Resources. She has taught various human resource related topics for businesses across Arkansas, as well as Arkansas Tech University’s Continuing Education Department and Professional Development Institute. She currently serves as an Adjunct Instructor for ATU’s Department of Agriculture where she teaches the careers class. Charla is a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) with the Society of Human Resource Management as well as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) with the Human Resource Certification Institute.


Sessions & Speakers IN ORDER BY TIME SLOT

Agri Tourism Silver City I Wednesday, March 14 9:10 - 10:00 AM Ruth Pepler is a native of New Jersey, well transplanted to the Arkansas Ozarks. She has worked as a registered nurse, caterer, private chef and instructor. Now, she and her family run Dogwood Hills Guest Farm, an agritourism experience in Searcy County by the Buffalo National River. They host guests on their homestead farm as well as tour groups and monthly farm to table dinners. Love for the land, people and education on healthy living have guided many of their choices. Ruth has an eclectic background that brings together all they do on the farm. She has her hand in most of the daily happenings on the farm, along with her daughter Grace. Together they tackle everything from morning chores, feeding and milking the dairy animals, growing products to use or sell on the farm, hauling hay, delivering babies and entertaining guests with fine dining. It is truly a family farm that has developed from the vision of “learn something new every day...and teach it to someone new.” Ruth has a passion for agritourism and the impact it can have on the youth, her community and the state of Arkansas. She now serves as the President of the newly formed Arkansas Agritourism Association.

Changes in the Poultry Industry Wednesday, March 14

Silver City II 9:10 - 10:00 AM

Harlee Haney is a broiler service technician for Peco Foods in Pocahontas, Arkansas. Harlee and her husband Derrick currently live in Jonesboro; she has spent the last two years working with contract growers who are just starting up their operation. Growing up on a broiler farm, Harlee always knew the industry she wanted to work in. She was active in 4-H and FFA, and was a member of the Sigma Alpha sorority at the University of Arkansas, where she received her bachelor’s degree in poultry science and agribusiness. Harlee enjoys working in an industry that is growing and changing on a daily basis. Attend Harlee’s workshop for insight in changes in the poultry industry and how these changes impact the state of Arkansas.


Sessions & Speakers IN ORDER BY TIME SLOT

How to Start the Convo (Estate Planning) Wednesday, March 14

Razorback 9:10 - 10:00 AM

April Pollard is a local financial advisor who helps others have the hard conversation around estate planning, transfer, and protection. She is passionate about helping women have confidence in their financial plan and estate plan of action. Sometimes starting the conversation of estate planning can be difficult. From what to do, who to talk to, why, and even when to start - the process can seem overwhelming. So let’s help you start your conversation.

Beekeeping 101 Silver City I Wednesday, March 14 10:40 - 11:30 AM Roger Fryar is retired from U.S. Forest Service, still occasionally working during fire season. He has a Bachelor of Science in forestry and worked as an fire ecologist. Roger has been a beekeeper for about eight years. During his spare time, Roger likes to fish, play guitar, golf, do woodworking and gardening. Roger is also a Master Gardener. Janet Fryar, Robert’s wife, is a homemaker who homeschooled all of their children. In her spare time, Janet enjoys playing the piano. She has been a beekeeper for about seven years. Together, Robert and Janet have a total of 12 hives. The couple has been married 45 years and have four children and five grandchildren. Robert and Janet are active members of their church, First Baptist in Russellville.


Sessions & Speakers IN ORDER BY TIME SLOT

Cattle Herd Health Wednesday, March 14

Silver City II 10:40 - 11:30 AM

Dr. Jeremy Powell is a professor and veterinarian with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. He is an Arkansas native, born and raised in Mountain Home. He received a B.S. degree in Animal Science from University of Arkansas, a DVM from Oklahoma State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. He provides leadership in beef cattle health research coordinated through the Department of Animal Science. Dr. Powell also currently teaches two courses on the Fayetteville campus, in addition to advising undergraduate pre-veterinary students.

Cultivating Your Family’s Future Wednesday, March 14

Razorback 10:40 - 11:30 AM

Elizabeth Rumley is a senior staff attorney at the National Agricultural Law Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. At the Center, her primary research and scholarship focus is on legal issues in animal agriculture, and she frequently lectures on those issues and others to audiences nationwide. She is a co-teacher of a course covering “Animals and Agricultural Production, Law and Policy” at the University of Nebraska College of Law, and has developed and is teaching a graduate/undergraduate level course on legal issues in animal agriculture at the University of Arkansas. Additionally, Elizabeth teaches a course on Environmental Law in the Bumpers College. She is licensed to practice law in Michigan, Ohio, and Oklahoma after earning her B.A. from Michigan State University, her J.D. cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law, and her LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Elizabeth lives in Fayetteville with her husband Rusty and their almost two-year-old daughter, Abby, and four-month-old son, Ethan.




• 2-L Cowhide Purses • Arkansas Agriculture Department • Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association • Arkansas Forestry Association • B&D Genetics/Delta Livestock Diagnostics • Edward Jones Investments • Farm Credit • Farm Service Agency • Greenway Equipment • Jordan Essentials • Lipsense and Sengence & Southern Style Salon & Boutique • Natural Resources Conservation Service • Scentsy • Snap Jewelry • Spirited ReCreations • Team National • U of A, Cooperative Extension Service - Forest Resources • USDA, Agricultural Research Service • USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service



Thank You

TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED MAKE THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE POSSIBLE! Our purpose is to provide the women of Arkansas educational programs related to agriculture and to provide a network of support in balancing the demands of family, community, and professional lives.

Contact Info 1000 Vine St., Suite W North Little Rock, AR 72114

#ARWIA18 Arkansas Women in Agriculture @ARWomenInAg


2018 ARWIA Conference Program  
2018 ARWIA Conference Program  

Arkansas Women in Agriculture's 2018 conference program. The booklet contains the agenda, sponsors, vendors and a list of biographies from t...