AG WOMEN FIND COMMUNITY IN CONFERENCE

When someone thinks of a farmer, they often conjure up the most stereotypical Ole’ McDonald image: overalls, older, pitchfork, and a man. However, women put on farmer hats, as well, and take on many other roles within the agriculture industry.

Did you know that 44% of FFA members are female? That’s almost half of all FFA students! And we sure hope they stick around to continue to serve America’s farms within the ag industry. So in a traditionally male-dominated profession, how do ag women translate their passion for ag into a career?

Today, women in ag roles is nothing new or earth-shattering. There are numerous resources for women to explore and to network within the industry to find where they fit and to meet like-minded ladies. One such resource is the Women Changing the Face of Ag conference. According to WCFA:

“The Women Changing the Face of Agriculture conference is designed for young women in high school and college who are interested in a career in agriculture. Group registration is available for collegiate groups, FFA chapters, and 4-H clubs.”

Organized by Illinois Agri-Women (IAW)*, the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture conference is “an investment in the future of agriculture. This outreach project gives all women the opportunity to explore different career paths offered in the agriculture sector.  Our goal is to help attendees receive accurate information first hand from actual women agriculture professionals.”

Additionally, the conference has 200+ presenters that offer looks into careers that span the spectrum of ag, including:

  • Ag Business
  • Ag Education
  • Agronomy
  • Animal Science/Veterinary Medicine
  • Communications
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Food Science
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Natural Resource Conservation
  • And more!

So, if you’re a female ag enthusiast who just isn’t sure where her place in ag should be, we’d encourage you to learn more about this conference. Not only do you have the potential to find a future career, you might even meet some new lifelong friends along the way.

To learn more about the WCFA conference, visit the website.

*IAW is a grassroots organization of farm and agri-businesswomen promoting a better understanding of agriculture and the family farm system.  Our organization consists of members from across the state of Illinois who volunteer to promote agriculture.  To learn more about Illinois Agri-Women visit their website.

ALL WE WANT FOR CHRISTMAS: LOCKS & DAMS

 

[Originally posted December 12, 2016]

At this point, I sound like a broken record.  (And if you’re tired of hearing me talk about locks and dams, be glad you don’t know Jim Tarmann – an IL Corn staffer who has been working on this issue for 20ish years!)

Illinois farmers need updated locks and dams if the U.S. wants us to remain globally competitive.  There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

WE NEED LOCKS AND DAMS!

We’re getting closer.  Congress has changed some funding equations and the industry (all the users of the river system) agreed to pay more in order to generate income to improve locks and dams.  This means that we’re closer than we’ve ever been and that’s exciting.

But we’re really REALLY hoping that Santa will whisper in the ears of the powers that be and include lock and dam construction in the potential transportation and infrastructure spending we keep hearing about in the new year.  This could be such a huge gain for IL agriculture!!

Want to learn more?  We’ve published some great articles on the need for upgraded locks and dams (click here).  Don’t forget, the locks and dams we’re using now were built in Mark Twain’s era for steam boats!!  At that time, we weren’t even dreaming about huge tows of grain headed to a global market!!

You might also enjoy this short video clip.

Please Santa!  Let’s start on a new lock in 2017!

Mitchell_LindsayLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

TO THE FARM KID DURING HARVEST

That time of year is quickly approaching. You know the time of year where the air becomes colder, the food you eat becomes warmer, and the sunset comes sooner. It’s the time of the year that you look forward to every year because you get to finally see the combine going in fields nearby and maybe just maybe you get to ride in the tractor to the elevator to drop off some freshly harvested grain. But what no one really tells you is that sometimes these can be really hard because you might not get to see your mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa like you are used to because they have to get the crops out of the field. Take it from me, a farm kid whose dad not only farms but also runs multiple grain elevators. During harvest, I barely see my dad for around six to eight weeks. My dad has missed endless amounts of concerts, sporting events, birthdays, and literally any event during the months of September through November. Having a dad that would go to literally everything you had to him not being there all the time was and is still super hard to deal with. But this is what I have learned through all of the harvests that I have been through:

When you get the chance to ride/drive in combine or tractor with them, do it!

Though this might be a “well duh” moment to you, remember that this might be the only time during the week that you get to see them. Enjoy the ride. Stay off your phone. And actually, talk to them. I have found that some of my conversations ever have happened in either a combine or tractor.

It hurts them not being able to see you as much as it hurts you!

Though they may not come out and say it, they miss you as much as you miss them. Though they might like harvest, the endless hours can sometimes get to be too much for them. Know that they miss not being at every event that you have in life. They really do. But know that they want to be there cheering you on and even though they might not be there physically they are still cheering you on.

Help make a meal to take to them in the field.

Okay, this isn’t harvest, but come on. THIS IS ADORABLE

Nothing. And I mean nothing (okay maybe no equipment breaking down) is better during harvest than a home-cooked meal. If you know or are able to, make something for that someone that you miss that you can take to them in the field or wherever they are. The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach (I think that’s how that saying goes, LOL) and I am sure they will get the hint loud and clear that you love them, miss them, and care for them.

Remember this doesn’t last forever.

Harvest (hopefully) only lasts between six to eight weeks. Though it can, and sometimes does feel like a long time, know that it will end. Life will go back to how it normally was. They will be found on the sidelines of your games, sitting in the auditorium waiting for your performance, and tucking you into bed like they normally do.

You are not alone

It’s going to seem like you are alone. Like no one else is going through this. But that is not true. Even though people around you might not be saying all the time that they miss _____ because of harvest, they really do. Know that there are so many people, people you might not even know that are going through this time of missing someone because of harvest, but like I said earlier harvest does not last forever.

To all of the Farm Kids and Farm Families gearing up for harvest, I wish you nothing but a successful and smooth harvest season. Always remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that harvest does not last forever. Enjoy this season!

Abby Jacobs
Illinois State University

TALK AG TO HER

There are a lot of good girls in the world, but there are none better than a country girl. Whether you found her baling hay in the pasture or disguised in at a bar, country girls are the best you are going to do. Now that we have that straightened out, and thank goodness we do, let’s talk about the quickest way to keep these girls around, maybe even get them down the aisle. Talk ag to them. Country girls are farm girls through and through. There is nothing a farm girl loves more than a man who can talk the farm talk and walk the farm walk. Try these conversation points next time you are lucky enough to get close to the special country girl.

Have a favorite color tractor: If you really are a true country boy, you are going to have a favorite color tractor. If you and the special lady have the same favorite brand, it just might be true love. Healthy debate can be good for a relationship, don’t worry about a little green versus red, a country girl is worth it.

Know the difference between soil and dirt: It may seem like it’s not a big deal, but to a true farm girl, calling her inheritance “dirt” as akin to a slap in the face. Soil is the valuable material that you plant your crops in that resides in the fields. Dirt is displaced soil, or the stuff on the bottom of you show. Don’t mess it up or she won’t forgive you.

Judge: That’s right, us country girls want you to judge. Whether you were on the livestock judging team or the crop judging team, we want you to know what you are talking about. Have an appreciation for a nice looking steer and know when my corn field is looking a bit better than my neighbor’s.

Knock Boots: Yes, you read that right. No, I am not trying to be crude. We are all familiar with the phrase “knocking boots”. For that to even be able to apply to you, you have to own boots. Really, you should own work and dress boots, but don’t even consider yourself potential for a country girl without a pair of boots.

Now, you are a lot closer to getting the special country girl down the aisle. Don’t have the special lady yet? Don’t fret. Find yourself a lady using the tips above and before long you will be hearing wedding bells to. Looking to plan that special day? Check out The Hitching Post for some awesome country wedding ideas!

Shelby Carlson
University of Illinois