Editor’s Note: Guest posts do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of National Farmers Union.
By Ash Bruxvoort, Women, Food and Agriculture Network Communications Coordinator & Plate to Politics Coordinator
National Farmers Union (NFU) is home to incredible women leaders. That’s why Women, Food and Agriculture Network’s (WFAN) Plate to Politics program, a nationwide effort to support and strengthen the national leadership role of women transforming our nation’s food system, has focused attention on building relationships with women in the organization. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing, working with, and being mentored by awesome NFU members like Kriss Marion, Patty Edelburg, Sarah Lloyd, and Jana Linderman, just to name a few. Along with Liz Johnson at our partner Vote Run Lead, I’ve watched these women use their personal stories and voices to lead both within and outside the organization in roles ranging from county Farmers Union divisions to local, state, and national political campaigns.
As women are stepping up to run for office across the country, it can be easy to forget that there is still a long way to go. Women hold only 20 percent of seats in Congress and 25 percent in state legislatures. Representation is even worse where agricultural policies are made. In places like agricultural cooperative boards, advisory boards for state Departments of Agriculture, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, it is often rare to find a single woman in the room. We cannot pretend that these bodies properly represent rural America when half of the population isn’t present. It is critical that women are at the table so we can ensure that our values are reflected at all levels of policy.
In a recent profile about Patty Edelburg on WFAN’s blog, we noted her encouragement for more women to stand up, share their stories, and lend their voice to shaping the future of agriculture. As a young leader in agriculture, she says she thinks it is important for children and younger generations to see diverse leadership in the industry.
Are you attending National Farmers Union’s Fall Legislative Fly-In? Join us for a Plate to Politics workshop, sponsored by National Farmers Union, on Tuesday, September 11 from 6-9 pm! Hear stories and receive feedback from inspiring women, identify your leadership skills, learn to tell a story that moves people to take action, and meet like-minded women interested in food, farming, and creating healthy communities. You’ll receive materials to help guide you on your path to leadership once you get home.
Register for the workshop here. One-on-one stump speech coaching will also be available by appointment. 20-minute slots available, facilitated by Ash Bruxvoort, Plate to Politics Coordinator and certified Vote Run Lead trainer. Contact [email protected] for more details.
Women, Food and Agriculture Network is the home for Plate to Politics(SM) — a nationwide effort to support and strengthen the national leadership role of women transforming our nation’s food system, from the federal agriculture policy agenda to what’s on our family’s dinner plate. Learn more at wfan.org.
Like what you’ve read? Join the conversation in the NFU Women in Agriculture Facebook group.