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International Women’s Day: Recognizing women in agriculture

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Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day! International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. What better example of all those achievements wrapped up in one than a woman involved in agriculture. Women in agriculture have a unique calling — they are asked to be gentle yet strong, proud but humble, hard-working yet flexible, and kind but strong-willed.

Growing up watching different women involved in agriculture was one of the best blessings I never knew I needed. Everyone needs to have strong women role models in their life. Watching others cultivate their passion in agriculture, helped me start my own journey. So to appreciate those ladies, I wanted to point out the different types of role models I had growing up and how each one of them helped me.

Image courtesy of Krista Stauffer

City girl turned farm mom

The first type of woman in agriculture I would like to highlight is very near and dear to my heart. This woman did not grow up on the farm, never experienced a harvest in her early lifetime, and always had surrounding neighbors. However, when she met the man she wanted to marry, she realized that leaving her old life behind would be worth it to live on the farm. The perfect example of this would be my very own mother. Although she was not raised on the farm, the love and respect for the farm is so great. The knowledge she soaks up in a short amount of time, the questions she asks are valid and show interest, and finally, she decided to raise her kids knowing they will have the experiences she never could.

Farm girl raised & farm girl proud

The second type of woman in agriculture that I have always looked up to is the woman who always knew what she wanted. She grew up on a farm and always respected the lifestyle. She learned at a young age about the ins and outs of farming while also learning her work ethic from her mom and dad working hard on the farm. She could drive a stick better than half the boys in her class, while also keeping up with the latest news.

After growing up on the farm, she decided this is still her passion. While she might have to work off the farm for a full time job with benefits, her passion still brings her back to the farm. This woman is strong-willed, motivated, and will go out of her way to help another woman in this industry to succeed — because when one of us succeeds, we all do.

Left the big city for the ‘calm’ life

Another woman who needs recognition in the agriculture industry is the one who didn’t grow up on the farm, but now can’t be removed. She is invested in all aspects of the farm — from the business side to working out in the fields. This may not be how she once imagined her life, but now, she could not imagine it any other way. She has become the exemplary role model for those who are outside of this industry thinking they can’t find their start. This industry has room for everyone who is interested — and this woman is the perfect example!

Non-farming back ground but works in agriculture

I think one of the most underappreciated women in agriculture is the one who came for a job but stayed for love of the industry. I have met many women who move mountains behind the desk. They move mountains for the farmers they have come to know and respect over the years. These are the women that you want on your side. These are also the women who are pillars in the women in ag community. They host meetings, conventions, and have the right resources to build connections in this industry. To know one is to love one.

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Farm girl raised, but moved away from the farm

Finally, there is the girl who was raised on a farm, developed those same hard working skills, but decided to apply them to a different industry. However, this is one of the most vital roles a woman in agriculture can play. This is where the advocate originally comes from. She is the woman with the resources and knowledge of the farm but also has outside connections. She never forgets her roots and can still be seen helping around the farm when she comes home.

While these are very basic descriptions and many women might not align with one another, there is a place for everyone in agriculture. Women don’t always have to fit in a box! For years women in agriculture have been behind the scenes — supporting the farm, but without the recognition. While times are changing and women are being recognized more, there are still obstacles to overcome in this industry. From challenge comes change, so let’s all be up for the challenge. So on this International Women’s Day I challenge you to recognize a woman in agriculture who you respect and tell her that! 

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