Sunday, April 22, 2012

Farm Girl at Heart

About a month ago I got an email from an old friend from high school asking if I would be interested in speaking at a Kansas Agri-Women event in Hays. I happily agreed – agriculture has been a part of me ever since I was born and I became really excited for this event. When I told Carrie about this speaking engagement, I remember her asking the question, “What exactly will you talk about at the Ag Event?” I’m not certain if I actually ever answered that question for her, but I knew that I could easily tie agriculture into my platform of defining yourself.

So yesterday we hopped in the vehicle and headed North to Hays where I had the amazing opportunity to talk with 15 or so members of the Kansas Agri-Women. (I have to admit, I was a little more nervous about this appearance than all the others on Wednesday – I think that was due to the fact that my audience was over the age of 11 and actually understand everything that I had to say.)

I began with my normal introduction and then talked a bit about my platform and how I hope to empower young girls to define themselves and not let others do it for them. While I usually target young girls, I think it is message that can be relatable for people of all ages and especially women in agriculture. When society hears the word agriculture, I think they automatically think that it is a male-dominated field, which is far from true - there were 236,269 farms operated by women in the United States in 2002. For all the other farms in United States that are operated by men – I would almost guarantee you there is a woman in the background somewhere! I’ve always chuckled at this, but a lady, who is very near and dear to me, has mentioned numerous times that she must work a “real job” to support her husband’s hobby of farming!

I also think that many people who are not from the Midwest and rural communities do not know the benefits of growing up here. I am a firm believer that kids who are involved with agriculture learn respect, responsibility, and commitment at a young age. Those who are involved with groups such as 4-H and FFA (as well as family operations) often have the responsibility of caring for livestock and crops. In turn of having that responsibility, kids usually learn to have a good work ethic - being able to manage time, money, and other resources.
Kansas Agri-Women Annual Conference
Kansas Agri-Women (KAW) was formed in 1973 by a group of farm women who were concerned about a threatened meat boycott and bill before Congress which would have rolled farm prices back. Their focus is to educate and promote agriculture and its importance to the economy and the environment; work in areas of legislation, regulations and consumer relations; support and encourage research that benefits agriculture; and sustain a network of women of all ages and professions of agriculture.

Accepting my KAW shirt
I was absolutely delighted to speak with these women and share my story yesterday and felt completely honored when they asked me to become an honorary member of Kansas Agri-Women. I cannot wait to get involved more with the organization and I hope to represent them well!

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