Each year, the conference features great speakers and a theme for the year.  Here are some highlights from past years conferences:

2020 Virtural Speakers

Michael Kerr will be helping us see the lighter side with humor at work for less stress and more success!


Leading and Laughing During Turbulent Times

  • The humor advantage: How so many businesses, families, and humans-in-general are benefiting from leveraging their humor resources

  • Finding the funny during challenging times

  • Embracing an attitude of leadership during challenging times

  • How and why attitude drives success

  • Simple but effective strategies for maintaining a healthier, more optimistic mindset

  • The mental and physical health benefits of humor and laughter

  • Simple ways to tap re-energize with humor

  • Reframing humor: How to find the funny in a fun-sucking situation

  • The rewarding power of humor: Lessons from search and rescue dogs

  • Communication is everything: How humor builds trust, strengthens relationships and breaks tensions

Michael's Website

Rebecca Gray will speak about the revamped Mental Health First Aid Course as well as some tips for all our overall Mental Health.

About Rebecca.

My name is Rebecca Gray. I have my Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba and my Master of Education from Brandon University. I’ve worked as a professional foster parent, a child welfare worker, a behavior specialist and guidance counsellor in the K-12 school system, and as a student advisor and instructor in the post-secondary system.

I found Restitution and Control Theory when I was searching for effective strategies for dealing with children’s behavior, but I got hooked on it because it gave me a way of understanding all human behavior, and concrete ways to approach difficulties. I incorporate these ideas into all my work, and teach Restitution and Control Theory extensively, both in my work with individuals, school and youth care staff and parents. I love to teach, and have developed a number of leadership programs based on Restitution and Control Theory to help any organization build the capacity to work together more effectively. I am also a Certified Mental Health First Aid trainer with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. I am the Past President of the Westman School Clinicians Association and Past President of the Canadian Association of School Social Workers.

I have two adult children, and I live with my husband on a farm near Erickson Manitoba.

Rebecca's Blog



The Business of Life—Katie Dilse

Laughing Yoga—Kaycelyn Rosales Knight

Introduction into the Manitoba Farm Safety Program - Renee Simcoe

Bridging the Gap—Val Caldwell

DIY Stress Management: The Five Steps—Genella MacIntyre

Serving on Boards Effectively—Leanne Sprung & Alanna Gray

Do You Have Money Sense? And Sense Enough to Pass it on?- Jacquie Gerrard

Real Dirt on Farming– Dispelling the Myths on Food - Myrna Grahn

Yoga—Kaycelyn Rosales– Knight

When the Scale Tips  - Katie Dilse

Tools an d Strategies for Attracting and Keeping the Right Employees for Your Farm- Khosi Mashinini

Because I Love you—Angela Fox

Panel  - Tips Every Farm Operation Should Know  -  Legal, Financial, Insurance, Health

Agriculture in Manitoba -  Mike Lesiuk

Meal Prep for Our Busy Lifestyles -  Kaitlyn Cuvilier

2016 - Portage la Prairie  FUEL THE PULSE- Celebrating 30 Years 

 Putting Canada on the Plate – Mairlyn Smith

 Why Agriculture Needs to Speak Up – Cherilyn Nagel

 AITC –M Puts the Pulse in Ag Education – Sue Clayton

Keep Your Finger on the Pulses of Your Finances – Anita Janzen-Gemmel

Filling our Cupboards and Freezers to Fuel our Bodies – Getty Stewart

Igniting the Fire Within You AND Your Relationships, Even the Most Challenging Ones –Lou-anne Stefankiw

Food Development Centre Tour

Practical Tips on Advocating – Cherilyn Nagel

Stand Clear – Push to Analyse – Shock Advised (AED Automated External Defibrillator) training –Leith Sanders & Leah Braun

Gentle Hatha/Restorative Yoga – Christa Davidson

Grit and Grace – Women Who Lead, Feed and Beautify the World – Brenda Schreopp

Panel – Ag Advocates – Chelsea Boonstra, Donna Jackson, Will Bergman

If Financial Security is the Destination, Financial Literacy is the Fuel – Gwen Paddock

Suddenly I Have Back Fat! – Mairlyn Smith


2015 - Winkler -  FROM THE GROUND UP 

Winning the Hunger Games: How African Farmers are Rising to the Challenge – Laura Rance

The Dance of Equilibrium: Balancing Work and Life – Carol Ann Fried

RBC Olympian Jill Officer – Jill Officer

Growers Can Strike an Agronomic-Environmental Balance in Water Quality Protection – Mitchell Timmerman

7 Seconds and 140 Characters to Make an Impression – Leanne Campbell and Roberta Galbraith

Work Safe – What You and Your Farm Business Needs to Know about Safety and Health – Jeff Shaw

Healthy Crops Begin with Healthy Soils – Ingrid Kristjanson

Holistic Nutrition – Catherine Jordan

Belly Dancing, Yoga and Zumba Demonstration – Sheena Kilpatrick and Carie Wiebe

Women in Leadership – Expanding the Circle and Charting a New Course on the Job and in the Community – Marina James

Panel - Successful Women in Ag - Bailey Gitzel, Colleen Dyck, Lisa Dyck

From the earth beneath our feet to the dirt under our fingernails – Discover the hidden gem of soil! –Marla Riekman

Finding Your Joy SpotTM – Carol Ann Fried

The 2014 conference allowed attendees to release their “inner divas” as they also celebrated the International Year of Family Farming. The conference theme reflected the proud and important role of family farms and farm and rural women as the glue which binds rural communities and provides safe, healthy food to a growing global population.

Speakers included keynote, Jolene Brown (sponsored by RBC) and Mairlyn Smith (sponsored by Manitoba Canola Growers Association), as well as a panel of Family Farm Divas who immigrated to Canada.


As you can see from the picture the dress up booth on Sunday evening was a great hit and comments from the conference evaluations included:

Great conference for a first timer! I’ll for sure be back next year."

"We really enjoyed our ‘girl’ getaway, met some great new women who we already look forward to seeing again next year. Days were proportioned really well."

"Thank you for an excellent conference! Job well done to all the committee members."

"Excellent conference, really loved it and good to know and meet new people, who have the same value’s in the farming world, that is getting to know how farmers support each other and to progress as farmers producing food to the world."

2014 - Brandon - Family Farm Divas Celebrate International Year of Family Farming

2013 – Portage – “From Farm to Fork to Facebook”

Conference opened with a Pinterest Party. Keynote speaker, Dari Latimer, spoke on “The Neuroscience of Leadership”

2012 – Winnipeg – “The New Face of Rural Life”

“Putting Humor to Work for Less Stress & More Success” was Michael Kerr’s topic. Marilyn Smith gave tips for “Healthy Eating for People on the Go”.

2011 – Brandon – “Building Rural Generations” 25 Years

“Management Training Credits” were introduced this year.
All past chairs of conference committee were invited to join in the 25th anniversary celebration. Banquet entertainment featured “The Beetles” from Brandon. Mairlyn Smith, a professional home economist and alumnus of the Second City Comedy Troupe, spoke on “How to Live to be 100 & Still Remember Your Name”.


2010 – Portage – “Manitoba Homecoming”

A panel of Johanne Ross, Rosann Wowchuk and Janet Smith shared “Leadership Stories from Manitobe Women”. Entertainers, “Swamp Gas” returned. Jennifer de Groot introduced us to “Living 100 Mile: How buying local creates healthy people & economics”.

2009 – Winnipeg – “Celebrating rural Life!”

Select-a-sessions included Belly Dancing, Safe Banking Practises, Workers Compensation & the Ag Industry. Farm Succession, & Getting to Know Your Digital Camera.

2008 – Brandon – “Keep it Real, Keep it RURAL!”

Rolande Kirouac opened conference with the topic, “Laughter for Healthy Living”.
As we gathered for the banquet, we were greeted by ringing fire alarm bells & had to gather in the parking lot while the fire department carried out their inspection of the building. Thankfully there was no fire so the banquet began after a short delay.

2007 – Portage – “Strong Women … Strong Rural Communities”

Arlene Jorgenson returned to speak on “Pride & Promise: Claiming our Future”.
Banquet entertainment was “Swamp Gas” from Neepawa.

2006 – Winnipeg – “20 Years of Coming Together …. Join the Celebration!”

Luncheon speakers, Chris, Eugene & Lawrence Warwaruk, told of their journey establishing LuxSole Restaurant “From Fire into Frying Pan: The Story of Farming & Food”.

2005 – Brandon – “Living for the Moment, Looking to Tomorrow”

Darci Lang was the keynote speaker and gave hints on how to “Magnify your Attitude”. Everyone can choose to magnify the 90% positive rather than the 10% negative.

2004 Portage – “Beyond the Gate – Changing Horizons”

Tour of the Food Development Centre.
Panel of farm women who have “Looked beyond their horizons”, taken on a variety of challenges and achieved their goals.

2003 Winnipeg – “Ride the Wave Refresh Your Soul”

Lunch speaker, Winnifred Lindsay, spoke on “Amazing Women – We’re ALL in the Same Boat”, motivating us to see the positively humorous side of aging.

2002 Brandon – “Refueling the Fire”

Arlene Jorgenson informed us “How to Stay Cool when your Pants are on Fire!” Rose Anna Schick shared her adventures travelling to Hudson Bay on a york boat.

2001 – Portage – “Women of all Seasons: Looking Back …. Moving Forward” Celebrating our 15th Anniversary

Dr. Val Farmer returned as a keynote speaker with the topic, “When Marriage & Farming Clash”. Closing speakers were Deanna & Tim Treadway who spent a year living as 19th century pioneers.

2000 – Winnipeg – “3% Makes a Difference! Discovering how …”

3% of Canadians are farmers … feeding the World!
The program cover featured photos of many farm women from across the province as “cover girls”.  A 2nd harvest of Farm Women’s stories resulted in the publishing of the book, “Around the Kitchen Table”.

1999 – Brandon – “<<Let’s Go 99>> Discovery and Change”

This year, “tales” were collected and resulted in the printing of a book to promote understanding of a Farm Women’s lifestyle, to build pride in a Farm Women’s work and to entertain each other. This book was for sale during the conference.
MFWC along with Basswood Women’s Institute sponsored as essay competition open to young women in Senior 3 & 4. The object of the competition was to give young women the opportunity to think of the career choices available to them in agriculture.
Two women on the organizing committee, Marilyn Van Dorp & Coleen Ammeter, made cross stitch kits for purchase. They adopted the MFWC logo as the theme for these kits.

1998 – Winnipeg – “Prairie, Partnership and Pride”

Keynote and lunch speaker, Lynn Johnston, spoke on “For Better or For Worse …… Country Style”.

1997 – Brandon – “Neighbours En Route to 2000”

A select-a-session, “How to use the Internet for Practical Farm Management” took a guided tour of websites useful for farm management.

1996 – Brandon – “Gems of the Prairie” (10th Anniversary)

Reesor’s Jewellers provided pins that were designed by Jane Geddes from Pilot Mound. The Manitoba Farm Women’s Conference logo was incorporated with the diamond symbol of the 10th Anniversary which symbolizes how we are all “Gems of the Prairie”.
Jo Banatyne-Cugnet and Yvette Moore opened conference with a slide presentation depicting the beauty of our prairie landscape. Jo is the author and Yvette is the artist of the book “A Prairie Alphabet”.

1995 – Winnipeg – “Winds of Change”

Patti Hacult of Bruxelles depicted the contrast between earlier & current agricultural machinery in her artwork created for the 1995 Conference “Winds of Change”. This was available on T-shirts & mugs.

1994 – Winnipeg – “Family & Farm: the Heart of Our Heritage” (International Year of the Family)

A new twist this year was the addition of a mini conference targeted at girls from Grades 3 to 12. This half-day session exposed participants to opportunities within the agricultural field as well as gave participants exposure to a hands-on science project.

1993 – Winnipeg – “Window on the Future”

Conference opened with a Share Fair: The Sewing Gallery serger workshop, Farm Safety Resources, Meredith Miller ”From Bin to Bread Basket”. Select –a – Sessions included Farm Transfers, Adding Value to Agriculture, Promoting Agriculture in a Positive Way, Getting it Together: Organized to Energize, How National & International Decisions Affect my Farm. Note: The Sewing Gallery were sponsors for many years by donating a serger to be given away.

1992 – Winnipeg – “Balance for Our World”

Keynote speaker was Peter Gzowski, host of CBC’s Morningside show. Kathy McGill of Winnipegosis captured the essence of rural-urban life in her “Farming Feeds Us All” design which she created for the 1992 T-shirt.

1991 – Brandon – “Gaining Ground”

Tours to Brandon Research Station, Simplot, Brandon University and Daly House Museum were offered. Keynote speaker, Wendy Holm, took a look at farm women’s continuing and changing contributions to the agriculture industry.

1990 – Winnipeg – “Partners in Progress”

Several pre-conference tours were offered. Banquet featured a McPhee workshop Fashion Show.

1989 – No Conference

1988 Winnipeg – “Continuing with the Challenge”

Conference opened with tours of the Canadian Wheat Board, Commodity Exchange and Canadian Grains Institute. Conference opening keynote speaker was Marie Salway looking at “Managing In Uncertain Times – Coping With Change”.

1987 – Brandon – “Growing with the Challenge”

Winnifred Lindsay opened conference with her fun and enthusiastic topic “Hitting Home Runs When Life Throws You Curves”. Several of the select–a-session speakers were farm women from across the province.

1986 – Portage – “Making the Good Life Better”

Opening keynote speaker was Dr. Val Farmer from Rapid City, S.D. who spoke on “Challenges Facing Farm Women in Family Farm Operations”. Dr. Farmer also gave the final address “Making the Good Life Better”.