> Focus On Agriculture

Intensive Training Helps Women Ag Leaders Thrive

Megan Webb

Krista Swanson

photo credit: AFBF, Philip Gerlach

Howdy, my name is Megan Webb. I’m a sixth-generation agriculturalist raised on a family farm, Flying W Farms, in Burlington, West Virginia. Elders in my family have mindfully cultivated the Patterson Creek Valley to produce home-grown foods to feed their families and nurture the environment and their livestock. Growing up in a diversified agricultural environment enabled me to “bloom where I was planted” while pursuing a career in agriculture to inspire the next generation of leaders.

Earlier this year, I had the chance to embrace an inspirational and intensive training opportunity with the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. – Women’s Communications Boot Camp. I am proud to say I am a graduate of the organization’s 19th Boot Camp. This opportunity aligned with my personal mission to support agricultural advancement and inspire others to be advocates for agriculture. The event also helped foster connections among 15 influential agribusiness women across the country.

The advocacy and educational trainings provided enhanced my public speaking ability by strengthening my content messaging, delivery dynamic and media interview skill sets while responding to tough topics. Another highlight of the experience was connecting with senators and representatives to share about the farm bill and its impact on our industry, resources and educational needs. The skills and experiences I gained will further empower my advancement efforts on the farm, and in the public sector, where I serve as dean of advancement & innovation at Eastern WV Community & Technical College in Moorefield, West Virginia.

We each have a unique story that should be shared, as we are stronger, together.

At Eastern, I utilize my skillsets gained from my Ph.D. in animal science to help my engagement with industry partners. I’ve also been involved in creating an Agriculture Workforce Development Training Program. Through these programs, we serve students and public stakeholders interested in enhancing their farms and agribusinesses. For example, we host short-term industry-supported trainings related to farm business management, agribusiness diversification and value adding, horticulture management systems, and livestock management systems. Specialty events we host focus on innovations in agriculture, agritourism, mental health workshops, technical training and certifications.

In my personal life, my agriculture advancement still continues, as I also care for my beef cattle business, MJW Cattle. On the farm, I give care and stewardship to 30 head of registered Angus and commercial cattle primarily for use in 4-H and FFA youth projects in regional and state livestock exhibitions. I enjoy using my personal and professional experiences to help young future leaders advance and regularly support their growth and educational opportunities.

I encourage all women who are farmers or otherwise involved in production agriculture to remember we are Mother Nature’s best influencers. We are cultivators, teachers, caregivers and stewards, carrying kind and considerate passion in all that we do. In fact, more than one-third of U.S. farmers and ranchers are women and when we come together, our leadership strengthens. We each have a unique story that should be shared, as we are stronger, together.

AFBF hosts Women’s Communications Boot Camp twice each year. Visit their webpage, https://www.fb.org/program/womens-leadership to learn more about upcoming opportunities to participate.

Megan Webb is a sixth-generation farmer and Farm Bureau member in West Virginia. She is also dean of advancement & innovation at Eastern WV Community & Technical College in Moorefield, West Virginia