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2016 Keynote Speaker
Elaine Froese

Elaine Froese offers farm families straight talk and courageous conversations on the issues that seem impossible to resolve.


  • Transferring property and equity
  • Managing debt and a sustainable farm future
  • Coordinating workloads
  • Facing long-standing conflicts that sap momentum from farm progress


I’m Elaine Froese, a lifelong farmer. Every day, I use my background in conflict resolution and communication to help fellow growers and ranchers face make-or-break issues head on -- so they can focus on the business of farming.

Starting with 4-H presentations in Manitoba at age nine and moving on to audiences today in Mexico, Australia and beyond, I have always understood that communication is the key to building trust and understanding, especially when your family members are your business partners.

I have personally experienced the stresses and frustrations that only families in today’s agriculture climate understand.

I have seen it all, heard it all, and survived it all -- from buying the in-laws’ farm, the isolation of farm life, a sudden illness or death in the family, and every crisis you can imagine. I’ve given  families worldwide the practical tools they need to save their marriages, hold onto their farms and gain some much-needed peace of mind.


Elaine’s Keynote presentation will be entitled:

Discuss the Undiscussabull

Tools for Talking about Tough Issues in Farm Transfer

Conflict avoidance is the biggest barrier to the next generation’s succession success. Elaine Froese provides practical conflict resolution tools to help families have courageous conversations for business continuance, and reduced family tensions.

Founders typically want to know where their income streams will be after they let go of power and control of management and/or ownership. They also have marital conflict about home residence issues, and how to be fair to non-business heirs. The next generation can’t wait to gain equity, and more decision making power. Young farmers are smart, tech-savvy, and want to have their opinions heard by parents and respected. They also need certainty that timelines for transfer and succession agreements will be honoured. Add the conflict dynamics of a new spouse and you have many interesting conversations ahead!

Elaine Froese’s expertise is her practical common sense approach to starting courageous conversations between the generations, and auditing the key challenges. You’ll gain insight into the tools you need to talk about tough succession issues, and then act on them with agreements that work for the different demands of each stage and age of successor or founder. Learn to listen to your head, heart and your “gut”.

Session Solutions:

  • Acting on common sense tools to talk about issues and resolve fights.
  • Learning new language to express your intent and expectations.
  • Meeting regularly with an agenda that morphs into timelines and action!
  • Embracing conflict resolution as a key business risk management strategy.
  • Having fun and stronger relationships by being soft on the person, but hard on the problem.
  • Identifying the "Undiscussabulls™" that you need to take care of, and start your own pack.

Elaine delivers actionable information farm business owners and managers can implement today.
She challenges farm family businesses to get "unstuck" and not accept the high anxiety and stress of poor decision making. Her tools are grounded in years of working with farm succession planning and coaching. Her award winning book Planting the Seed of Hope helps build insight and trust quickly with families seeking tools for dealing with conflict and change.

Elaine will also be offering a session on Wednesday morning entitled: Dealing with Farming’s In-law Factor and Family Dynamics.


Plan Now to Attend the

2016 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention

February 2 to 4

Hershey Lodge and Convention Center



The Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention has become the premier grower meeting in the Northeast combining three days of six or more concurrent educational sessions with a large industry trade show and numerous networking opportunities - all designed to enable fruit, vegetable and berry growers as well as direct marketers to stay on the cutting edge of their industries. About 2,200 persons from throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond gather each year at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center for the Convention.  Registration is open to all interested commercial fruit, vegetable and berry growers, direct marketers and allied industry personnel.

The schedule for the 2016 Convention is posted here

The day before the Convention, there will be a farm market bus tour plus the following workshops:  Hard Cider from Seed to Sip; Pruning by the Numbers, Hops Production 101, Farm Transitions, Tools for Farm Food Safety Planning, and PA Pesticide Applicators Basic Training.

strawberries The annual Mid-Atlantic Cider Contest is conducted during the Convention to determine the best cider in the region.

For general information on the Convention program, contact William Troxell, Publicity Coordinator at 717-694-3596 or

For information on exhibiting at the Convention, contact Maureen Irvin, Convention Coordinator at 717-677-4184 or

The Hershey Lodge and Convention Center is located at 325 University Drive, Hershey, PA  17033.

 Future dates for the Mid-Atlantic Convention are as follows:

            January 31 to February 2, 2017

            January 30 to February 1, 2018

            January 29 to 31, 2019

            January 28 to 30, 2020

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