Ladies, let’s face it. The ag industry is dominated by men. Women truly are in the minority. Does this present a challenge or a disadvantage to those of us who want to play a role in the industry? Only if you let it be, according to Mandy Bryant, the successful manager of Long Vue Farms in Allensville, KY.
Mandy’s dad dispelled any feelings of inferiority or exclusion from agriculture by involving her in the family operation during her childhood. Similarly, my dad always included me in his daily activities within the business. I went to the bank with him, watched him market grain over the phone, hauled grain to the elevator, and participated in harvest, planting, tillage, and anhydrous ammonia application. I interacted with seed and equipment salesmen, loan officers, insurance agents, realtors, and marketing advisors.
I loved every minute of it. Especially the free pop and candy bars that the salesmen treated me with.
Seriously, though. Being a female in a male-dominated industry has never intimidated or worried me because my father has always included me and treated me as an equal. I think a lot of farm girls can relate to this kind of upbringing as well. We grew up as part of the family operation, so pursuing a career in agriculture never seemed abnormal to us.
This coming summer of 2015, I will be working for Farm Credit Services of America as a financial officer intern. Ag loan lending is another male-dominated field. I got the position, so I don’t think gender bias is going to be a problem for me. For the ag industry in general, however, I think the problem lies in perception.
Women shy away from ag because of the negative stereotypes associated with female farmers. Furthermore, many men believe that women should have no place in agriculture because that is not our God-given role. I’m not going to argue that females are physically as strong or tough as men, because we aren’t. God simply didn’t create us alike. But I will contend that the mental and cognitive capabilities women possess make us valuable assets to the industry.
Ladies, we are every bit as capable of using our gifts and abilities to contribute to agriculture as men are. Let’s support each other in reaffirming this statement. With humble confidence, let’s go kick some butt.
Want to read more? Check out Mandy’s blog: Why I Farm