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Student spotlight: 3 key takeaways from the Women in Agribusiness Summit

October 12, 2022

Last month, Trimble had the honor of sponsoring a student to attend the Women in Agribusiness Summit in Dallas, TX.

Students attending this conference have the opportunity to hear from key female thought leaders in the agriculture industry, network for post-graduate opportunities, and meet other students in the agriculture field from around the nation.

We had the privilege of sponsoring Raegan Feldner, an undergraduate student attending The Ohio State University. Raegan is studying agricultural communication, education and leadership in The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Read on to hear Raegan’s 3 key takeaways from the Women in Agribusiness Summit in this insightful account from a student in agriculture’s perspective.

Women in Agribusiness Summit

Last month, over 800 women from across the United States and Canada gathered in Dallas, TX for the 2022 Women in Agribusiness Summit. I had the honor of attending the summit as a student scholar sponsored by Trimble.

It was three days full of networking and meaningful conversations about the future of agriculture and empowerment. The best part – I never had to wait in line for the bathroom.

As a young woman in agriculture, I still have a lot to learn about the industry. I wanted to highlight my three key takeaways from the event and share them with you:

Sustainability is the future

The agriculture industry will have to feed 10 billion people by 2050. Ten. Billion. To prepare, we must figure out how to make the best use of the land we have. The answer is sustainability.

The best way to define the sustainability of a business is the balance of people, planet and profit. In the past, businesses have focused too much on profit and not enough on our planet. It is our job to work and preserve the land and water that sustains our lives.

In her session on Building a Strategic Framework for a Sustainable Business, Mary Shelman, former Director of Harvard Business School’s Agribusiness Program, pointed out that as agriculturalists we need to get out of the “carbon tunnel vision” and realize there is so much more to sustainability.

Lee Addams, Principal in the Consumer Practice / Global Food and Agribusiness Sector Team at EY-Parthenon, said, “We are in a movement of regenerative ag.”
He added that between 5-10% of farmland in the U.S. is utilizing cover crops.

Agricultural technology is helping lead the way in sustainability. There is no doubt that sustainability is the future of the agricultural industry – a future our world needs.

Agriculture is a community

My favorite part of the summit was the Female Producer Panel. Four female producers from three different states shared what it is like to be a woman on the producer side of our industry.

Ellie Ann Vander Dussen manages Standard Cattle LLC, her family’s dairy farm. She shared, “I really hate using the term agriculture industry because it is a community.”

The summit brought together women from all parts of the agricultural community. It was amazing to see professionals from all sides of our industry come together and learn from one another. All the women at the summit realize that the future of agriculture depends on agriculturalists working together to provide for the needs of consumers.

There are no more supportive people than the women in our industry. It truly is a community.

Your comfort zone is the starting point

My trip to Dallas was the first time I ever traveled by myself. Exploring Texas was a little intimidating as a girl from southeast Ohio. But it was all worth it.

During the keynote, Cargill’s Corporate Senior VP of Animal Nutrition and Health Ruth Kimmelshue said, “If you were not ready you would not have the opportunity, so stop with the imposter syndrome.”

Whether it’s traveling across the country for a new conference or deciding to try out a new innovative technology on your farm, opportunities come as we are ready for them. It is our job to step out of our comfort zones and take advantage of them.

Kimberly Ratcliff shared her experiences of managing her family’s ranch in Texas, “You’re going to manage and you’re going to make mistakes. And that’s okay.”

Staying in your comfort zone will prevent you from moving forward. The best way to succeed is to look at your comfort zone as the starting point.

I am so grateful to Trimble for the opportunity to attend the 2022 Women in Agribusiness Summit. The experience will be hard to beat.

I learned more about the importance of sustainability, how the agriculture industry is a community and the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone.

The Women in Agribusiness Summit is a truly empowering experience for women in agriculture. Working in a male dominated field can quickly make you feel small, but that feeling goes away when you are in a room with 800 other women in the same boat.

I want to thank all the amazing women at Trimble who attended the summit and let me join their experience.