Today and tomorrow I have the opportunity to gather in Lexington, Kentucky to hang out with some of the most amazing women in the state. It is a collection of my peers and some of the most thoughtful women I know.
The Kentucky Women in Agriculture organization is a group of women who do more than touch the soil and tend the livestock. They are agribusiness professionals, ag educators, state personnel, and consumers.
I have been to a few of their conferences before and have never committed being "in or out" when it comes to consistency of attendance and participation. All of the events tended to come during my "busy" season at my old job and I couldn't justify leaving the office for lunch let alone a two day conference. Now that I am doing freelance work it makes sense for me to attend meetings like this. I get to see clients, learn more from my peers, and see what some of the trends and latest happenings are in Frankfort and Washington D.C.
Today the conference started off with a bang. I have never heard Dr. Kristie Guffy (who I am grateful to call a friend) give a talk. She is an educator by trade, being first an high school ag teacher, then a leadership center director, to know her spot at Western Kentucky University as a professor. And man, did she light my leadership fire this morning. She is the type of speaker that makes you want to get up and do something.
Before her talk her and I had a brief conversation about today's women in agriculture (specifically in Kentucky) and what our "state agriculture culture" can handle when it comes to leadership from women.
To be honest, my conclusion is, they aren't ready.
And again, to be honest, that is OK.
It is our job to get them there.
It is our job to make it common place for women to voice their opinions and not be seen as threatening. It is our job to make sure that when you do a deal with a male farmer and you take a load of cattle they don't automatically hand the check to your husband (no shit, this happened to me last week.)
It is our job to do this even if by sheer force. I refuse to be thought less of because I was born a female. While many farming men in my life would never treat me like this I can't guarantee they wouldn't treat other females like that. They know I am a strong-willed female that refuses to take crap from anyone, constructive criticism, yes, crap, no.
I have promised myself that as a #boymom I teach those sweet little cotton-headed blonde boys that females are a force to be reckoned with and don't you ever make a person feel less then because of how they were born. #IbroughtyouintothisworldandIwilltakeyouout
Don't get me wrong. I love men and I don't think they are what is wrong with the world. I think other women are 50% of the problem. We tear each other apart which makes us tear ourselves apart so we know what is going to be thrown our way before other women tell us.
Now is the time to come together as women in agriculture and build each other up. Mentor other women in the industry and help to make this industry better, especially in Kentucky.
Throughout the next year I am embarking on a fairly lofty goal and as we get closer to 2018 I will start to talk more about it on the blog. It has to do with Ky women in agriculture and my ultimate goal is to tell the story that has been neglected for so many years.
How do you feel agriculture is embracing females in your area or state? Do you think we are on the right path as an industry and a community? Let me know in the comments. All of my opinions are based solely off of my experiences, so you might have experienced something completely different. If so, share with me!