What happens when you put 75+ women farmers from around the country together for four days to tour farms and talk shop, you ask? Magic. Pure magic.
At a time when the nation is talking about a reckoning for women in the workplace, the 2018 National Farmers Union “Women in Leadership” Conference from January 14-18, in San Diego, was befitting. Female farmers had the opportunity to collaborate on what it takes to run for office with fellow Farmers Union women like Sarah Lloyd, who recently ran for Congress in the Wisconsin 6th Congressional District. Conference attendees engaged with Lisa Kivirist, author of multiple books for women in agriculture, Kriss Marion, and Dela Ends; these three sued their state to lift the ban on the sale of homemade baked goods, advancing Cottage Food Law throughout Wisconsin. Poppy Davis presented on agricultural business and policy issues affecting family-scale farmers and ranchers. Charlotte Smith, founder of 3CowMarketing.com and one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women in the World in Food and Agriculture in 2016, talked with women farmers about online marketing techniques to grow a successfulfarming business.
As a first-time participant, I had the opportunity to connect with various women farmers and ranchers from around the nation, including connecting with lady Michigan dynamos from Michigan Food and Farming Systems and MSU Student Organic Farm. I look forward to growing these connections and informing my practices as a farmer. But more hopefully, I see the momentum of women finally taking their rightful place in the world of farming and bringing us along with them.