(Posted Fri. Dec 2nd, 2011)

Dec. 2: The National Corn Growers Association helped to motivate and educate the next generation of women farm managers and owners through participation in the landmark Executive Women in Agriculture Conference, hosted by Top Producer magazine in Chicago, Ill.


During this seminar, NCGA First Vice President Pam Johnson spoke to attendees both about her personal experience as a female association leader and the goals of the organization in general during the opening panel discussion on “Women in Agribusiness – Success Stories” and during several breakout sessions. For the 135 attendees, Johnson provided not only advice as a mentor, but also a clear pathway to follow for those interested in pursuing a more active leadership role in the industry.


“At this point, agriculture needs more men and more women to step up to the plate and lead the industry forward,” said Johnson. “We gave attendees ideas and venues that would help them to do so. Whether they choose to do so through NCGA, CommonGround, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance or other state or national commodity organizations, these energetic young women have unique perspectives and talents to offer that would benefit agriculture as a whole.”


In addition to panel discussions, the conference featured a trade show and learning sessions on topics such as protecting profits through crop insurance, marketing, human resources development and the economics of fertilizer usage. Johnson noted that attendees also benefitted from the connections that they made with their peers and those who could serve as mentors.


“It has been fun to watch the networking here,” said Johnson. “So many of the young women here have just come back to the farm from a different career, with their mothers who want to foster their daughter’s interest in staying on the farm, or were sent by their fathers so that they could gain knowledge and develop mentors and a peer groups to share with throughout their career. Watching them meet and make these connections inspires a very positive vision of tomorrow.”


The conference, which is in its first year, was met with a significant response, with women from 25 states in attendance. With a young, energetic demographic, the conference is expected to grow over the coming years. In 2011, more than 30 percent of the 3.3 million U.S. farm operators were women. With more women returning to the farm and assuming management roles, mentorship and skill development opportunities will play an important role in building a bright future for American agriculture.


To listen to the full Off the Cob interview with Johnson, click here.