Ag shouldn’t have ceilings

I’m probably about to get myself into some hot water…but it’s not the first time, and certainly not the last. So let me give my two cents:

If you haven’t heard, or if you’re not from the state of North Dakota, there’s a political race happening that seems to have piqued some interest. The Republican nomination for North Dakota Ag Commissioner has someone running against the incumbent. Namely, Judy Estenson has announced that she is running against incumbent Doug Goehring.

As any race, having a choice is a good thing. Having to defend your decisions and answer to someone every once in awhile is a good thing. That’s how real life works, and the same should be especially true in the political world.

So let’s make the race about what it should really be about…choices, visions and beliefs, not gender.

You see, agriculture shouldn’t have a ceiling, especially not a glass one. We make up less than 2 percent of the population. We value our property, our crops, our families and our standards. We need a strong spokesperson for our future…no matter the prefix to their name.

One of the first comments that I heard regarding the race announcement was, “Yes, but what does she know about farming?”

What does a woman know about farming? Ranching? I guess it would depend on the woman. I know that I don’t know nearly as much as I would like, but I’m always asking questions and would love to learn more. In fact, I do believe that I could drive Boss Man completely bonkers with my questions most days.

I may not spend every waking minute in a tractor, but I know my way around one.

I may not spend every waking minute in a tractor, but I know my way around one.

But let me tell you that my gender has little to do with my ability to know how to serve the public, how to delegate, how to serve as a spokesperson for other families, just like my own.

Last week I was in DC, going through some different training and using the opportunity to serve at a Ronald McDonald House. One of the ladies, during an icebreaker session, simply said to me, “Do you introduce yourself as a farmer?”

And the answer is a simple yes.

As I told Boss Man the other night, “If I’m not a farmer, then I’ll enjoy a few more hours of sleep, because I won’t need to worry about going out for calf checks.”

Just because I have blue Bogs and my Carhartts are purple doesn't mean that the crap on my boots smells any sweeter.

Just because I have blue Bogs and my Carhartts are purple doesn’t mean that the crap on my boots smells any sweeter.

Having the passion and the ability to make a difference in agriculture has nothing to do with how you dress, what you wear or what it takes to get ready in the morning. It has everything to do with how you speak, where your heart lies and whether or not you’re willing to stand up for what’s right for agriculture, not just what’s right for you.

The reason I love agriculture? All the fresh air…which means, there’s not a ceiling to be found…not even a glass one.

22 thoughts on “Ag shouldn’t have ceilings

  1. I heart you! Great quote! ‘Just because I have blue Bogs and my Carhartts are purple doesn’t mean that the crap on my boots smells any sweeter.’ Keep up the great work!

  2. You always have a way with words. And…I agree. I do not know where the candidates stand on many issues. I intend to find out, but I won’t support someone just because of their gender. It would be nice if the men in agriculture in this state would do the same.

  3. very well said. I do more farm work than a lot of the spoiled kids around here that call themselves farmers. I have a wonderful husband and father that both say they would not be able to do all that they do without the “girl help”. Also, due to health issues with my dad I will not be able to return to the “town job” and get to spend the rest of my life doing this farm work that I love and raising my kids the same. And to most I don’t “work!” ha!

  4. LOVE THIS POST!! While at Commodity Classic, one of my friends was introducing me and she said,” On their farm there are 2 farmers. She is not just a farm wife. She is a farmer.” I guess I never looked at it that way, but yes I am just as capable as my husband is on most things and on some things more valuable. I, too, am ready for glass ceiling to disappear in the field of ag, so I don’t feel that I am still having to prove myself to my fellow farmers.

  5. I am from GA. I am a retired school teacher that trade in her desk and lesson plans for a tractor seat. I help my father run a small family farm in south GA. I can do just about anything that comes around on this farm. I know how to fix fence, pull calves if necessary, feed cows, work in the hay field. I work on equipment as good as any man. I make not always know the right thing to do, but I can figure it out most of the time. Congratulations on your campaign. Good luck. Women in Ag never get the recognition they deserve. There are more of us than meets the eye.

  6. As always Val, you’ve said what a lot of people think. I have a job “in town” that I love. I’m a nurse. I am the mother of 8 and also the stepmother of 4 and have 1 grandson. I would love to be able to stay home and work alongside my husband daily, but unfortunately at this time I can’t, but on the days I can I am just as competent on most things as him. I am not mechanically inclined though.

  7. I hope you can hear this lady farmer cheering from Tennessee! I also introduce myself . as a farmer… although my carhartts are pink and my muckers are purple- the good ole boys down here though, for the most part, love it because their mama/granny/great-granny ran the family farm while daddy worked in the coal mines. Unfortunately many city folks here dont quite get a girl farmer- especially one that likes to raise livestock over veggies (love my Kunekune pigs) Plus my husband and I are teaching our daughter to run a farm so she can carry on this way of life.

  8. Growing up in the country was absolutely the best part of my life long education. There is never a day that I have I don’t learn something from my students, my children or even my peers. I am willing to change and willing to be involved in agriculture.

    I had time to think, to dream about where I wanted to go in the future and who I wanted to be because my parents gave me the opportunity to come back to the farm if I so sure desire.

    As an educator I try to give my agriculture students the passion and desire that it takes to love agriculture. It is heart wrenching to know that our youth don’t always have the opportunties to come back home if they so do choose or desire.

  9. Well said! As one who ran far and fast from cattle ranching as a teen and made the decision to retrun in my late 30s to perpeturate a way of life that’s been in my father’s family for more than 100 years, I understand the hurdles. I have adopted the approach of quietly learning as much as possilbe while keeping my ears and eyes open to what’s around me. Slowly, one person at a time, earning the respect of surrounding cattlemen with ambition,determination, enthusiasm and genuine ‘try’. My mantra is: What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger! I can only hope it’s working . . . I do know I will die trying!

  10. I don’t know much about the political landscape in ND, but I am all for equal opportunity. It’s unfortunate that questions are raised simply because of gender, especially in a scenario where gender doesn’t play a role.

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  12. Thank you for writing this post. I am constantly battling (both internally and externally) the issues that arise as a woman in agriculture. For the most part, there is no different treatment but every once in awhile something will happen and I will be left railing at the inequalities. At that point I usually think/say “I am woman, hear me roar” and continue on the way. I hope the race straightens out and end be about the true issues

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