Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the 30th Annual Nebraska Women in Agriculture conference. This was only the second year I have participated and well worth the time! Discussions around advocating for agriculture were very powerful. Rebecca Long-Chaney was very inspirational and reminded us that no matter how busy we are in life; make time for family and friends. Her message and involvement with “agvocacy” is to be commended and her twin daughters also have shared their experiences in agriculture through children’s stories. With all of the anti-ag Chipotle ads, Meatrix videos and other false information out there, it is good to know there are some people sharing the factual information about modern agriculture. The bottom line is that even though farmers and ranchers shouldn’t have to defend their way of life and jobs, we need to because of the increasing disconnect consumers have with agriculture.
Simple ways of communicating the facts about modern agriculture include writing letters to the editor, educating youth in classrooms or programs, buying factual agricultural library books for your child’s schools/communities, having a 30 second elevator speech on agriculture ready and sharing it every opportunity you have (especially in urban areas), engaging in social media and inviting people to your farm or ranch to show them the great job you do!
There were so many other great sessions from crop insurance and marketing updates to emergency preparedness and water updates. One of the things that were emphasized was how women involved in agriculture (especially spouses of farmers/ranchers) are truly the “heart of agriculture”. Women play a key role in supporting agriculture through a variety of ways and it made me hope that someday, not only will I be able to work with ag producers and youth, but my husband and I will be able to have a small ag operation of our own so we can instill the hard work ethic and values into our daughters which were instilled in my husband and I.
If you are a female and involved in agriculture, I highly recommend you take time out of your busy schedules to participate in the Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference next year!