From the classroom to the farm to the boardroom, women in agriculture are helping to pave the way for a better future. As leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure the next generation of women are educated, encouraged and empowered to take on the challenges of meeting the world's growing food, fuel and fiber needs.
Women have been a critical part of farm and ranch operations across the country — and around the globe — for centuries. But now, as women in agriculture, we have a unique opportunity to be the change we want to see in our industry. We must build on the incredible legacy of stewardship, innovation, and productivity and help one another succeed now and moving into the future.
Whether it is a farm business that feeds the world, land that you leave better than you found it, or a relationship that empowers and supports your community, industry, and neighbors — there are many ways to build and grow your contribution to agriculture. The time is now for each of us to step up to the plate and take on these challenges.
Women in agriculture have a powerful story to tell – one of stewardship, resilience, and leadership – from everywhere from the combine to the boardroom. There are many opportunities to contribute your voice and experience to your field. Through the Department of Agriculture, you can take advantage of several key opportunities, such as:
- Electing responsible agricultural producers to Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees is important to all farmers and ranchers. Committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA. They help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level and work to help FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers.
- Being a voice for your industry and shaping the future of agriculture by serving on a Research and Promotion Program Board. These programs, overseen by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, focus on research, marketing, and consumer outreach efforts that improve, maintain, and develop opportunities for agricultural commodities. Funded by industry assessments, the programs allow stakeholders across an industry to pool their expertise and resources. Research and Promotion programs are run by a board or council whose members are nominated by the industry and then appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. There are 22 national boards serving a variety of commodity industries, from eggs to soybeans, lumber to lamb.
- Serving on one of a number of USDA Advisory Committees that advise on a variety of issues ranging from emerging markets to animal health. These committees play an important role in shaping programs and policies of the government and the department. USDA is continuously seeking nominations for all advisory committees. Opportunities to serve are routinely available as the term of each member expires.
The USDA Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network is a way to connect, share stories, and share experiences with fellow women in agriculture. The goal is to promote the image, role, and leadership of women not only on the farm, but leading youth organizations, conducting cutting edge research at universities across the country, in the boardrooms of global corporations — the list goes on and on! Join the network by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how you would like to connect.
After joining the network, you will have access to our monthly newsletter where we feature profiles of women in agriculture, and share information on upcoming news or conferences. In addition to the newsletter, we will hold a quarterly engagement call where you will hear from influential voices working to make agriculture stronger and more diverse. We also invite you to follow the current conversation about women in agriculture by searching #womeninag on your social media channels.
"Women have been a critical part of farm and ranch operations across the country—and around the globe—for centuries. But now, as women in agriculture, we have a unique opportunity to be the change we want to see in our industry."
Follow the Conversation
To help women in the United States connect with other women leaders in agriculture all across the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has established a Women in Ag mentoring network.
Follow the USDA Blog or Twitter by joining the discussion using #womeninag.
Start the Conversation
Are you looking for mentorship opportunities – or do you have an ability to mentor other women in ag? Check out the Women in Ag Roundtable Toolkit, a guide to hosting your own event. Whether a small gathering around your coffee table or a large seminar, this toolkit offers suggestions and guidance for a productive and inspiring conversation. After hosting your event, take a picture or tweet about your discussion using #womeninag to share your community’s story.
- The Small Business Administration has many resources – from mentoring and technical assistance to financing for women-owned small businesses and business seekers.
- Cooperative Extension has a special community dedicated to connecting women in agriculture with resources at eExtension online.