Being involved in the American Ag Industry is typically two things. Being white and being a male. Welcome to your typical "man's world".
Back when I started just getting involved in the Ag industry, in high school, it was predominately boys. For ten years I have gotten the pleasure to see things change a little bit, not much, but we are always evolving.
It still isn't common to find women who are the matriarch of the family farm. But, they tend to be the glue that keeps the entire family and business together and running smoothly. Women are typically in the background and they do all the unseen work. Like the bookwork, paying bills, cooking three hot meals a day, raising children, picking up parts, giving rides…and the list can really go on and on.
It isn't typical to see women standing up and taking leadership roles in some of the large agricultural associations. But, this last year National Corn Growers had a woman president.
You most likely won't see women sitting next to their husband's learning as much as they can about building a new feed lot facility. But, at the last seminar I went to alone, I was surprised to see wives sitting along side their husband's taking notes and running numbers.
I obviously haven't been involved in the industry for centuries, but even just seeing a change over the last ten years is amazing to me and extremely motivating. It pushes me, as a woman, to continue fighting to be a part of a man's world.
When I first married my husband I would say that he let me work alongside him every day, and SOMETIMES took the suggestions I had and actually thought about them.
Now, I would easily say that when we discuss future endeavors we are together and listening to each other's thoughts and opinions. He truly makes me feel like I am on the same level as him, and that is so rewarding. Rewarding that he values and respects my opinion is such a wonderful part of our relationship.
It's one thing for a man to listen to what you have to say, it's another when you can see them ACTIVELY listening, asking questions, and engaging you to get your own thoughts on a certain project.
If you want to be a woman entering this man's world make sure you make it known up front. If you want to be like me and be beside your husband every day, working every single part of the operation make it known from the beginning. If you would rather do a few things here and there, keep house, cook, and raise children- make sure you make it known. If you want to stay in town and continue to have a career- do it.
In the beginning it was decided once I was done with college I wouldn't start teaching, I would instead join the farm. Before we had our daughter I worked with my husband whenever he needed me. Even if it was something as simple as cleaning out a tractor. I worked alongside him. Now with our daughter I don't get to work alongside him as much as I want to. But, I make sure he comes home to a clean house and a home cooked meal.
My husband is supportive of whatever career choice I decide to choose and as our marriage and relationship grows I realize more and more that I enjoy working with him everyday now, more than ever before. Because now I my opinion is valued in his world.
|Fixing a feed bunk cable as a family on a Sunday.|