A personal perspective on the impact women have on the farm… and on your brand.
Women have tremendous influence on the farm and are critical to your brand’s success. They are as committed and involved in agriculture as men – and have been for a long time. For most women in ag, it’s in our DNA. For ag marketers, it’s risky and careless to ignore the role of women on the farm or regard them as silent partners in the operation.
It’s a great time to be a woman in agriculture, whether you are on the farm, in agribusiness, in ag research, communications or an association or preparing the next generation of agriculturists as an ag teacher, 4-H leader or FFA advisor. Think about it. A woman can be any or many of those things today… as a leader, not just a supporter. I am one of those women because my mother, my ag-woman role model, was an unintentional pioneer in defining today’s woman in agriculture.
A Personal Story of a Strong Farm Woman
My mom, Paula Peters, was born on a farm in 1938 and died on a farm in 2008. During those 70 years she straddled the 1950’s idealized definition of a farm wife and the post-feminism definition of a modern, independent woman. Mom was a life-long learner, an entrepreneur and a life-changer. She worked hard, could turn heads whether she was wearing her red dress or Levis and Tony Lamas and contributed to agriculture in ways she never really knew. Here are some of the things she did:
- Studied in the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois
- Married a farmer, my dad Dean, who started his own farming operation with one Hereford cow and $100 in county fair winnings
- Ran the household, was parts runner and family chauffer, drove grain trucks and did a lot of fall and pre-plant tillage
- Raised four spirited children, three of which are still involved in agriculture
- Did the books and made decisions with Dad on production practices and major purchases for the farm
- Served as a 4-H leader for nearly 25 years, helping establish a club that thrives today and inspiring her daughter (my sister) and granddaughter to follow suit
- Served on the county fair board for nearly 10 years
- Was bookkeeper at a soil-testing firm that served farmers and ag retailers in the area
- Taught 4th graders about agriculture as an Ag in the Classroom coordinator
- Cherished the addition of nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren
- Died at home, on the farm, after wheat harvest
Those are the things I can remember. And even as I write them, I am humbled by Mom’s accomplishments and inspired to live up to her contributions in ag. She had a profound love of agriculture. Mom savored and shared every moment from the anticipation of planting season to the celebration of harvest. Every calf born on the farm was special… as was every young person she guided.
Take a look at my mom and know that there are hundreds of thousands of women like her. Women that are intimately involved in farming and the future of farming. Women who form opinions and make decisions about your ag brands. So as you’re developing your marketing plans, don’t think for a minute that you can afford to exclude farm women from your marketing.