The landscape of the modern woman in agriculture has made quite a transformation. Women are taking their seat at the table as decision makers, CEOs, partners, farm owners, and it is not stopping there. Women are looking to curate a solid platform to ensure agriculture remains relevant while ensuring the truth about agriculture is accurately told. This has led to the Women in Ag (WIA) initiative which provides tools, resources, and training to women. WIA, is providing the space needed to create industry leaders.
Take a look at three key elements that can help women navigate leadership in agriculture:
Engage – The first component is to get involved. Whether this is engaging with other ag-centric organizations such as Farm Bureau, FFA, 4H, etc. These organizations provide areas of focus on the industry by educating members on ag issues, at local, state, national, and global levels. Many of these organizations often have leadership programs available to help develop leadership and advocacy skills.
Taking a step outside of the ag sphere by working with your local Chamber on community issues or through off-farm employment, there is a need for women in ag to engage others to tell our experiences. Sharing this knowledge on various industry topics helps educate those removed from the farm.
In some areas where agriculture is not a dominate industry, it’s vital to have industry leaders present to give a voice to agriculture. By not having a strong presence, agriculture runs the risk of being left out of critical discussions. While not done intentionally, oftentimes there’s not consideration given on how community decisions impact agriculture.
Empower – Engaging in conversations and connecting with others provides women in ag the confidence to step forward by sharing their own experiences, lobbing in Washington, D.C. on behalf of agriculture or speaking on panels.
The impact agriculture has is massive, almost everything has a tie back to agriculture. It is important to keep the conversations going, to continue to educate and share our expertise. There are WIA events held around the country bringing women together for this purpose, to keep the conversations going. The opportunities are endless for women to step forward and be a voice for agriculture, be an advocate for their farm and its next generation.
Evolve – Women who are evolved are looking beyond self-success and toward the success of the initiative and inspire others to take their first steps to engage. Social media has played a huge role in inspiring women to get involved. Bloggers such as Dairy Carrie, New Mexico Milk Maid, FarmHER and Pink Tractor to name a few, are sharing their daily lives on the farm. They talk about hard topics, provide education on food production and the nutritional value of that food. These women have stepped forward to continue the conversations and now even more women are listening. They are inspiring our future ag leaders to join the conversation.
The role a woman plays in agriculture will vary from farm to farm, business to business. There are women who are running the day-to-day operations, women working off-farm to add financial stability, and women who are making parts runs, holding flashlights in the field and taking care of who likely will be the farm’s next generation. Finding a place to share stories, garner advice and developmental support, and connect with others in this space all while protecting their farm is essential to the future of agriculture.
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