By Bailey Moon
As a young girl, I attended local Farm Bureau meetings with my grandparents. I sat quietly, munching on savory fries and listening to the stories of our local farm families. At the time, I was naive about the impact these conversations would have on my future.
Fast forward many years, and I now look back and think of the people who volunteered and gave their talents to Farm Bureau. While it’s easy to associate farming with the classic “Farmer John,” many of the Farm Bureau leaders who shaped my life were women. In honor of Women’s History Month, it seems fitting to applaud the women who have made Farm Bureau history and celebrate the women who are leading the way into the future.
The truth is, it’s not my grandfather’s Farm Bureau anymore. Her agriculture office laid the groundwork, but agriculture, advocacy, leadership, and the role of women in agriculture have evolved significantly.
We must learn from our past and step up our efforts to ensure a bright future for agriculture and the next generation.
More than a third of American farmers and ranchers today are women. Having once found their place as guardians of the home, today women leaders and advocates for agriculture are breaking glass ceilings. They till the land, sort the livestock, buy the seeds and lead dynamic change at the local, state and national level.
Washington State is a perfect example of the impact of women on the future of the Farm Bureau. Currently, six of our state committees are chaired by women, and for the first time in history, we have a female chair. This is an incredible achievement and getting to this point would not have been possible without the leaders who came before us.
Change is inevitable, but it is by accepting change while respecting the past that we ensure success. We must learn from our past and step up our efforts to ensure a bright future for agriculture and the next generation.
This future is achieved through excellent leadership. Stepping into leadership roles is one of the ways women have evolved within the Farm Bureau. Beyond traditional leadership positions, women are using all the tools in the shed for their advocacy efforts.
Social media has also become an essential advocacy tool, providing a window into the lives of farmers and herders. Online influencers are vulnerable to the joys and difficulties they face on a daily basis. Their various media platforms are an outreach tool for consumers, but also provide a network and support system for agriculture advocates.
By sharing directly from the field, women across the country are impacting the narrative of agriculture. Influencers like @fivemarysfarms, @thisfarmwoman and even that of Washington @rockingbarhranch share their story daily with thousands of followers who may never set foot on farmland, but have a voice, a vote and a desire to understand where their food comes from. The reality is that everyone eats, and through social media we can help guide appreciation for agriculture and those who choose to provide food, fuel and fiber for the world.
Whether standing side by side in leadership positions, liking or sharing a social media post, or networking at a county agricultural bureau meeting, women are leading a wave of advocacy for agriculture. Although I am a product of my grandfather’s Farm Bureau, I look forward to seeing how this new era of advocacy will improve the Farm Bureau in 2022 and beyond.
Bailey Moon is Associate Director of Communications at Washington Agricultural Bureau. She is a third generation livestock producer and member of the Farm Bureau. She and her family raise registered Polled Hereford cattle.