“Respect given is respect earned.”
That was the sentiment expressed by Belinda Bowman, a Canadian grain originator, after reading a blog post from Missouri farmer Kate Lambert.
Lambert’s blog, “To the woman riding in my husband’s combine,” has received some viral notoriety online this week. In it, she addresses criticism from someone who is worried about a “young, presumably attractive female” making sales calls on the farm.
“Women poured out of the woodwork to attack the sales rep, calling her unprofessional, unthoughtful, disrespectful and worse,” Lambert writes. “They attacked her clothes, suggested she not wear makeup when doing farm visits, even suggested the wife should call the company and complain.”
Lambert goes on to thank young women in agribusiness “for being audacious enough to get into the cab of a combine.” She says it’s a reminder that she needs to embrace, encourage and support other women in the agriculture industry.
People took note, adding nearly 200 comments to her original blog post and massively re-shared her story on Facebook and Twitter.
Meantime, Tiffany Martinnka, a territory for Monsanto in Saskatchewan, made her own social media splash in September on Twitter, after she posted this thought:
Soon after, dozens of other female farmer selfies poured in from all across the world. Buzzfeed even got in on the action, posting a list of its personal favorites.
“I think on their individual farm, the women are recognized and greatly appreciated because the business knows the importance of their contribution in order to be successful,” Martinka told BuzzFeed Canada. “However, as an agriculture industry, I think we need to do a better job to tailor some of our events, appreciation nights, and other marketing campaigns to better accommodate and include women of the farm.”
Farm Journal Media recognizes that many women are on or returning to the farm to manage human resources, financial reporting, record keeping, as well as production and technology areas on working farms.
This trend has fueled the Executive Women in Agriculture (EWA) conference, now in its fifth year. EWA is a comprehensive farm business conference for women leaders, managers and executives. The Dec. 3-4 event in downtown Chicago features presentations and breakout sessions on topics including commodity marketing, succession planning, time management and consumer trends.
Visit www.execwomeninag.com to learn more and register.