Last week, I had the honor of attending American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Communication Boot Camp in Washington, D.C.
One word comes to mind – WOW! This honor was given to 15 lady leaders from across the country and what a packed house of talent it was – from women’s committee leaders to active farmers, the gamut of farming was observed. We learned numerous skills, including public speaking skills, how to relate to an audience, how to identify and run for political office, how to advocate on all forms of media, how to effectively use social media for our farms and way of life. We learned how to be huge voices for our passion – agriculture.
The training started with each person giving a speech, just three minutes long, which terrified us all – because we had to take that same speech and move it forward into a refined piece of advocacy which we could take back to our state and make a difference.
As a farmer, teacher, mother and community voice, I went into this opportunity ready to talk on Capitol Hill to my representatives and senators. I wanted to let them know how their decisions are impacting us – how their pen strokes are impacting the lives of our children, families, and what they could do to either continue their work on our behalf or begin to see the issues that are most important to us. We discussed immigration reform, the Farm Bill, the endangered species act and how all of these things are impacting farmers today.
I came away from this event inspired to be a farmer. My efforts are not in vain, and neither are yours. We are feeding a world of people who need us to continue to work to the best of our ability. I am a stronger voice for having gone to this training – and I hope to continue to work for you to make our jobs worthwhile.
And one last piece of advice – when an opportunity presents itself, don’t find all the reasons not to do it – find the reason why and go for it. You’ll never know what you are capable of unless you try.
Online Extra: Burch completes communications program
Caption: Row 1, L to R: Cindy Ramsey, Indiana; Ruth Scruton, New Hampshire; Cala Tabb, Mississippi; Sine Kerr, Arizona; Sherry Saylor, AFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Row 2, L to R: Andi Vincent, Washington state; Magen Allen, Arkansas; Sara Wayne, West Virginia; Gimmie Jo Jansonius, Kansas; Andrea Brossard, Wisconsin; Bonnie LaTourette, Pennsylvania Row 3, L to R: Laura Vaught, Tennessee; Renee McPherson, North Carolina; Danielle Burch, Ohio; Jodi DeHate, Michigan; Paula Peterson, Nebraska. Photo from American Farm Bureau