April 5 2024 09:59 AM

Women are making large strides in the agriculture industry by cultivating their own path.

Being surrounded by women with the same passion for agriculture that I have is something I have never gotten the chance to experience before. Sure, in college there were girls in my classes and in clubs with me, but generally speaking, it was all coed. As I recently attended my first Dairy Girl Network (DGN), networking event, it really made me reflect on the impact that women are having in agriculture. I left impressed by the number of women who came together to connect and bond over an industry that they are passionate about.

While enjoying a delicious lunch, we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and get to know one another one on one. It was inspiring to hear the career paths of these driven women in agriculture. I also learned a lot about various ag careers that I was not too familiar with. In exchange, this resulted in me getting the chance to educate other women on what I get to do on a day-to-day basis as an advocate for the dairy industry. This DGN event made me proud to be a part of an industry where women are cultivating their own path.

As I looked around the room during this event, I was reminded of the assumptions about careers in agriculture being more so directed toward men than women. In the past, agriculture was a prominently male dominated industry. As I have gotten older and noticed shifts in societal norms, this stigma seems to be a thing of the past — or should be at least. Although there is room for both women and men, and I am inspired by the number of females showing society there is a place for them in agriculture.

Once again, I am reminded of my dairy farming grandparents, who must have laughed at the assumption of agriculture being only for males, especially after they had nine daughters in a row. Farm work had to be done, regardless of who did it. When my mom and dad had us girls, it was clear that they had the same mindset. There was never a time in my life that I can remember my dad telling my sisters and I that we weren’t capable of helping on the farm. Whether that was driving tractor, milking cows, stacking square bales, or helping fix things in the shop, my dad always made it a learning experience for us. As I have gotten older, I have become more and more thankful for the way I was raised and the fact that there was always a place for us girls on the farm.

After getting the chance to meet so many great women in the agriculture industry at the DGN networking event, I am excited to see what lies ahead for women in agriculture. It truly was a humbling experience, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to attend!

Jenna Byrne

Jenna Byrne is an associate editor for Hoard’s Dairyman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2022, majoring in agricultural business with an emphasis in communications and marketing. She grew up on her family’s dairy farm near Neillsville, Wis.