Agriculture. It’s traditionally been a “boys’ club,” but many women today are taking the leap and getting into the agriculture industry. Women don’t have to farm or have a farm to become involved. There are so many ways they can begin this journey—but here are just a few tips to get you started.
1. It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
You don’t have to be a 10th generation farmer to become involved in agriculture. All you need to do is get to know people. People help people in the agricultural community and it is truly what you need most to get involved. Others in ag will guide you to resources, organizations, and other things that interest you. We need everyone-no matter the amount of acres you farm, the generations of farmers in your family, or what kind of animals you raise. We’re all in this together and we welcome anyone with willing arms.
Looking to get involved and not sure where to start? Go to your local cooperative and meet people there. Research women’s conferences to attend. Join those agricultural groups on Facebook and introduce yourself.
2. Have Passion
You have to love agriculture. You can’t be half in and half out. You have to embrace the very essence that is agriculture. The community, the struggles, and the happiness. If you understand the life you’re already there!
3. Reek of Self-Esteem
You can’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You can’t be afraid of what the ‘guys’ will say or what the other women in agriculture will think. Be you. Be the amazing you. Say what you know. Ask questions, no matter how silly you think they are! Share your story. Being in the agricultural industry takes ‘thick skin’ so you need to be ready to take anything it throws your way! Some days you’re making good money and the tractors work perfect the whole day. Another day your tractor breaks down, markets are low, and you’re not sure if you have enough money to put food on the table. You have to remember that everything always works out.
4. Surround Yourself with Knowledgeble People
I’m not saying to become friends with professors from colleges, but what I am saying is talk with people that are here to help you. Find a good banker with your very best needs in mind. Talk to your local extension office and get some of their resources on how to be more sustainable and have a great crop. Meet with your local agronomist to discuss your crop goals. Contact a good veterinarian to help with your animals’ health. There are so many people around to help you in every aspect of agriculture. You just need to do a little research before you take on a huge undertaking—talk to these people, that’s what they are here for!
5. Join an Organization
It doesn’t have to be an organization for women-just an organization that you’re passionate about. Examples are your local, state, or national cattlemen’s association, your state’s corn growers association, etc. Just get yourself active! Don’t know how to get involved? Internet. You can sign up for almost every organization on their website. Don’t want to because you don’t know anyone already apart of the organization? See bullet point number 3. This is probably the most important tip. This introduces you to the knowledgeable people, it’s allows you to grow your passion, puts you in contact with people you need to know, and helps you grow your self-esteem about being in the agricultural community.
We need everyone with a passion and drive for agriculture. Don’t be afraid to do something you love. Push forward and be that strong woman you know you are! Agriculture needs people like you more than ever before! Keep your head high and make your dreams come true!