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Celebrate Soy Foods Month with Key Lime Pie

04/26/2013 @ 6:31am

Increasing the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, maintaining farmers' freedom to operate, as well as meeting customers’ needs for high-quality soy products are strategic objectives of the United Soybean Board (USB).  They’ve also been a personal mission for North Dakota farmer Vanessa Kummer, who has served on the USB board for the past decade.  

“I really hope my involvement opens the door for more women and helps empower them to believe they deserve to have a seat at the table,” says Kummer, who was the first woman to be elected as USB chairperson and the first North Dakotan elected to this position.  

Thirty percent of U.S. farms are operated by women, and an even higher percentage of farming operations involve women along with other family members.  Women’s roles in farming are changing as more females are earning business degrees and even MBAs before returning to their family farms.  That’s why Kummer believes it’s important for women to be active in the industry and represented in leadership positions.

When asked how more women can become involved in agricultural organizations, Kummer said, “Show up to meetings regularly, ask questions and participate.”  As one of three female panelists at the Executive Women in Agriculture event last December in Chicago, she said the amount of misinformation being spread about farming is a real concern.  She also said that more and more consumers are being misled by media. 

Consumer outreach was one of Kummer's main focuses while serving as USB chair.  She worked with leadership within the National Corn Growers Association to launch the CommonGroundTM program aimed at addressing consumers’ food concerns by sharing facts about farming and dispelling food myths.  CommonGround focuses on women-to-women communications to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas.  It involves a group of volunteer farmer participants, representing all sectors of agriculture. 

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