Women play a critical role in the success of America’s farms, ranches, and rural communities. Chad Smith has more on how AFBF supports women taking on those roles.
Smith: More than one-third of America’s farmers and ranchers are women. The American Farm Bureau Federation offers the Women’s Leadership program to help women with growth opportunities and leadership development. Isabella Chism, Chair of the AFBF Women’s Leadership Committee, says it’s an important topic because one woman in a leadership role can inspire many others.
Chism: When somebody accepts that you're a leader, that is a push forward. That's something that is then encouraging others, empowering others. It's an encouragement to the individual, yes, but it's also an encouragement to others that eventually builds a strong foundation for others to stand on, and it brings a balance of perspective in the long run.
Smith: AFBF offers a number of leadership development opportunities for women to get involved.
Chism: We offer some things such as Women's Communications Boot Camps. That's an application-based program, and it's very intense training, a very almost elite class. Then we also, every other year, offer a fly-in, which any woman in the country is able to attend. And then we offer different breakout sessions and trainings and that advocacy training, leadership development training there, so it builds on itself.
Smith: She says her proudest accomplishment with the WLC is seeing women become more than they thought they could be.
Chism: My proudest accomplishments are the women that are now doing the things that they thought they couldn't do. I just get this, I call it a 'proud mama' moment, when I get to see women doing the things that they thought that they couldn't do, when I get to see them speaking to a group of people, I get to see them giving an interview, I get to see them speaking up about something happening on their farms, talking to a legislator.
Smith: For more information, go to www.fb.org/programs.