What does it mean to be a Farmher??? This was the question myself and 13 of my Sigma sisters had the chance to answer and explore. On November 7th, we had the wonderful opportunity to travel down to the University of Minnesota to attend “Grow by FarmHer.” This was an awesome event that focused on inspiring, educating, and empowering young women in agriculture. Spending the day surrounded by powerful women in agriculture, who encouraged and uplifted each other is something I will never forget. We heard from great speakers, listened to a panel discussion, and networked with sponsors and professionals in the industry.
The founder and President, Marji Guyler-Alaniz, started FarmHer in 2013 to “shine a light on women in agriculture.” She has gone above and beyond to advocate for women in agriculture and ensure their stories are being heard. Marji has expanded FarmHer from a photography project to nation wide touring events, a clothing market with products that make women feel confident, and a show on RFD-TV that spotlights a different FarmHer each week. You can check out all the amazing work she has done by going to the FarmHer website.
My favorite part of the afternoon was listening to the amazing speakers. Cristen Clark and Carrie Mess, aka Dairy Carrie, were quite the entertainment. Both are FarmHers to the bone and great role models for any women in the agriculture industry.
Cristen Clark is an Iowa pig farmer and champion pie baker. Her presentation on “Things I wish I knew at 20” had me laughing and crying the whole time. She taught us many life lessons, such as trust your gut, roll with changes, if you can read you can cook, carry chap-stick always, cherish your grandparents, and realize how lovely you are and how lovely you have it. Cristen lights up the room with her bubbly personality and I can’t wait until I get to hear her speak again. Check out her blog, Food and Swine, to learn about life on the farm and try some of her prize winning recipes.
Dairy Carrie spoke to us about how to develop our story. Everyone needs to have a 3-5 sentence spiel to introduce themselves and grab peoples attention. Carrie explained to us how to incorporate our passion and style into our story to make it unique. She also emphasized that the people in the room that day are the future of the industry. My favorite part about Carrie is that she doesn’t sugar coat anything when it comes to talking about the Ag industry or on ways to educate consumers. Head over to Dairy Carrie to read some great blog posts such as Sometimes we are Mean to our Cows, What’s really in Milk, or 5 Reasons Farms are getting Bigger.
Events like FarmHer make me excited to be a women in agriculture. We need more Marji’s, Cristnen’s and Carrie’s in the world advocating, inspiring, and leading the way for girls growing up in this industry. Marji ended the day by sharing some of her favorite song lyrics with us, “I might only have 1 match, but I can make an explosion.” These words really stuck out to me and were a great way to cap off the day. I can say I have never walked out of a room feeling more inspired and that I had the ability to make a difference in an industry dominated by men. FarmHer puts on multiple events throughout the year and I would encourage women of all ages to take advantage of any opportunity to attend, you won’t regret it!
Speak up, find your voice and use it. If you don’t say it, no one else will.