Being a farmer is something I have been excited to identify as for a while. As a female identifying individual, as a ‘young’ person, however, I’ve just wanted to work with the land and grow beautiful plants and share them as food for beautiful people. Voila! I am a farmer.
Growing up in Northern Michigan I have been offered immense privilege in making my mark on the world. I’ve been fortunate to travel from a young age, to go to college, and to be supported by my family and community in beginning a small farm business on my family’s property. I do not take my place in the world lightly, and hope to always learn and grow so that I may further give back to the community I come from and beyond.
Much of my fortune is in opportunity. Most recently I had the great fortune of attending the Women in Agriculture Conference, hosted by the National Farmers Union, in San Diego, CA, thanks to a scholarship from the Michigan Farmers Union. Listening to speakers, engaging in conversations with other women farmers and advocates for farmers, I broadened my scope of what my fellow woman farmer allies are doing and what they represent. Truth is, everyone does this work because of some passion -- for the earth, for their family or community, to make change. The group that gathered in San Diego was diverse -- old, young, black, brown, white -- and filled with so much passion you could sense it in the air and hear it in the voices. Both attendees and speakers were present and passionate about being there -- reminded us all that we’re supported in the work we’re doing in our communities as leaders. The passion was present and powerful.
The conference focused on empowering farmers to run legal business, look at options for structuring a business most effectively, taking care of oneself as a farmer, and speaking out as elected officials -- at any level. All of the presenters were women, thank Goddess, and the keynote speakers (yes there were two, and they were proud to share the stage) were also powerful women leading politically to support the needs and issues surrounding farmers in their states. Hearing from these heroic women who are working daily to empower women, particularly farmers, was inspiring, beautiful and helpful. I was reminded that I too, as a small farmer, a young farmer, a beginning farmer, am making a difference and setting an example.
The National Farmers Union has brought people together for over a century, unifying farmers in their work and supporting them through that unity. The NFU’s Women’s Conference has gathered women in agriculture together for more than 50 years. I am thankful for this organization to further my education as a farmer and broaden my network of inspirations.
Thank you to the National Farmers Union, the Michigan Farmers Union and everyone involved in making this opportunity possible for me and everyone in San Diego, January 2020.
Kate Greenberg (Colorado commissioner of agriculture) and Alexis Taylor (Oregon director of agriculture) Co-Keynoted the Women in Ag Conference.