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Finding Inspiration from #WomenInAg

I've been in a bit of a writing slump the past
several weeks. Sorry about that! I'm not going to lie - with avian flu being
THE top priority in my daily work life with the Minnesota Turkey Growers
Association, I've been more inclined to take a writing break from this when I
get some free time at home.

Sometimes, though, it simply takes a room full of women to
re-inspire me to remember how grateful I am for a career in agriculture, working on behalf of farmers and their families, and the
chance to reach so many people through my writing.

I was at such an event last with at the University
of Minnesota - the Women in Agriculture Summit, hosted by Senator Amy
Klobuchar. It was a chance for women of all ages and agricultural backgrounds
to get together, hear from USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden (the top ranking
female in the USDA!) and ask questions of a panel of impressive Minnesota women
who are all agricultural leaders in their own ways.

“Minnesota
is the fifth largest agricultural state,” Klobuchar said. “There are over a
million women in the U.S. that farm the land and around 6,300 in Minnesota.”

The panel that Klobuchar herself moderated showcased
that diversity of agriculture in Minnesota - from dairy farming and a
large-scale soybean farming operation to the Hmong-American Farmers Association and as well as a
start-up creamery. The panelists talked about how agriculture has shaped their
lives, discussed some of the challenges present today for beginning farmers, and passionately agreed they wouldn't want to be doing anything else than what they are doing right now.

I also was
pleasantly surprised to find a mini-reunion, of sorts, with several women who
were with me in Class VI of the Minnesota Agricultural and Rural Leadership
(MARL) program.  MARL is an 16-month intensive
leadership program for farmers as well as those of who work for agricultural
organizations and/or rural businesses.  Our
particular class at the time included 12 women - the most of any MARL class up to that point, if I recall
correctly - and I learned a lot from spending time with these intelligent,
focused, and passionate women.

In fact, listening
to USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden talk about the need for continued female
leadership made me proud to be in that room with so many inspiring women in agriculture.

“Only 1 percent
of our population feeds the other 99 percent,” Harden said. “We need everybody,
and we need women’s voices and leadership.”

Amen to that,
sister.

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