Have you ever been at a conference or in a meeting where you wanted to stand on the tables and applaud those speaking? They lit a fire under you and you now have an increased level of gumption. That was me on Wednesday. The only reason I stayed sitting in my seat was because I was in the front row and didn’t want to cause a scene. But honestly I was surrounded by rockstars.
Whether these women worked in the banking industry, production agriculture, education, law, research, etc they all had a reason and a purpose for being in that auditorium. That auditorium has housed the Women’s Agricultural Leadership Conference for the last several years. This is hands down my must attend conference every year. The planning committee does a phenomenal job of lining up speakers and tying the whole day together. This year the theme was “Passion for Progress” and the panels of speakers on executive leadership and women’s affinity groups were on fire.
One of my biggest takeaways wasn’t new to me but I appreciated the way it was presented. As women we aren’t “just” anything.
We aren’t just farm wives.
We aren’t just moms.
We aren’t just insurance specialists.
We aren’t just directors.
We aren’t just agronomists.
I think you get the point. When we are in any given situation we need to believe that we are there for a reason. We all have a purpose and a calling. We need to throw the “just” to the roadside and own what and who we are. Here’s and example: I don’t actively help on the farm every day but I do bring warm meals to the field, I make sure my farmer has clean clothes, I pick up parts from the dealership, and I advise on crop insurance. I am not just a farm wife, I am an integral part of the operation.
It doesn't matter if you are sitting in a boardroom or standing in a corn field let your passion and dedication shine through. Your integrity, courage and humble confidence will carry you far. Learn who you are and trust in yourself. Surround yourself with mentors who will be honest with you, but can also see the things in you that you can’t see in yourself. Drop the just and OWN who you are and most of all be humble while you are doing it.
P.S. I geared this post towards women because well hello that’s me, but that doesn’t discount that this same message applies for men too.
It seems as a parent you are trying to live in the moment and you don’t remember what life was like before kids or marriage or college or any of that stuff. Thinking back makes me sentimental and truly appreciate where I grew up. I had exposure to farming since I was very little but did not live on a farm until the fifth grade; little did I know this farm would change the landscape of my future. It would teach me hard work, perseverance, how stupid a sheep can be and how to trim a sheep’s hoof.
Most of this seemed trivial at a young age, but I also knew this was a dream of my parents to be able to raise us on a farm how they were raised. Scooping poop, feeding bottle lambs, and helping the neighbor fill vials for milk testing of his dairy cattle are some of the first jobs I ever had. These were not jobs that paid in money, but rather in character building.
This character can be seen in dirt covered hands, manure covered boots, and exhausted eyes. The dirt covered hands of my parents and neighbors taught me how to drive a tractor before I knew how to drive a car, how to throw a hay bale better than a ball, and how to fix anything with twine.
Today’s farming and ranching population only accounts for 2% of the United States population. So the ability to have the same character building moments that I had are few and far between. The patience to help a lamb latch on for the first time, the skill of listening to directions and taking action, long hours raking hay then later bailing it up in small squares, the perseverance to scoop a pen of manure that is over a foot deep by hand, the list can go on and is different for every kid that has ever grown up on a farm.
It’s crazy to think that when my kids start school in a couple years with 15 classmates they may be the only student that has a tie to a farm. So as a farm mom and wife I take great pride in building similar character and passing on the farming tradition to my kiddos even if it all seems like one crazy whirlwind of a chicken coop.
It's been a week since I returned from the four best days in my professional career thus far. Those four days were a blur that left 17 grown women wanting to sleep in front of a hotel fireplace in sleeping bags singing kumbaya. Spending four days with 17 other women from across the country learning how to represent agriculture in a positive light has been a
G A M E C H A N G E R. When I was selected I didn’t know if I should be more humbled or fortunate for being one of the seventeen. Upon completion the answer was crystal clear.
H U M B L E
The friends that I have created were the greatest teachers and listeners a girl could ask for. We could laugh with each other and know that it was in support of one another. Whether it was media training or learning about our personality profile, we wanted each other to succeed in a way that I have never experienced before. Imagine a room full of cheerleaders, hooting and hollering all while sharing our power poses! The moments shared are memories that I will hold on to while knowing that we ALL will be doing awesome things within our state and nation to promote the field we love, AGRICULTURE!
So today I challenge each of you to step out of your comfort zone and REACH! REACH high and far. Apply for scholarships, read, READ, and read some more. Fill yourself with knowledge of your industry and passion! We all have it we just need to believe. So as I write this a week later I know that I couldn’t ask for much more. And the above reminders for REACHING, are just as much for me as they are for you!
This picture may be low quality but as my fellow classmate Mallorie stated, it's not the low quality picture that matters it's the high quality people in the picture!
I'm Lisa, a farm wife, mom and old lady at heart (or my husband tells me so). Agriculture, quilting, and baking were my first loves and now I get to enjoy them with my family!