While the second virtual session for the GMLC Class of 2020 was another unusual experience – the class was able to meet and learn from front-line meat processing workers who are doing their best to navigate our new normal. Brittney DeWitt from Smithfield and Marla Elder and Crystal Bohm from Western’s Smokehouse¬†shared intimate stories of their industry, their personal challenges, and their ongoing work to ensure a safe working environment for themselves and their co-workers. It was an opportunity to hear from these women that we don’t typically get to hear from during our challenge class tours and events for session three.

In addition to this discussion, the class enjoyed the Women in Agriculture Panel facilitated again this year by Ashley McCarty, the State Director of Missouri Farmer’s Care, and Addie Yoder (GMLC Class of 2019), Kate Lambert, and Karisha Devlin. You can enjoy this dicussion too because it was filmed for a special Stand for Ag Podcast. See the replay by visiting our new YouTube Channel¬†and enjoy other videos while there.

Special thanks to Chris Chinn, the Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, for joining in a special one-hour discussion with the class. Chris has been a stalwart supporter of GMLC, and will be another past Woman of the Year honoree who joins us for our Inspiring Conversations Series.

The welcome and overview of the region by regional coordinator and Kirksville Tourism Director Debi Boughton (GMLC Class of 2009) was informative as always even if Debi had to join in via her daughter’s residence in Chicago! Finally, the discussion about the rural economy including wind farm production and COVID-19 economic challenges was well received as Carolyn Chrisman, Kirksville Regional Economic Development Director and Chair of the Board of GMLF (GMLC Class of 2015) shared details and answered questions.

Oh, and the class learned that ALOT of really cool people come from Shelby County, Missouri. Shelby County is highlighted here.