Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Know Your Story. Write it Down. Share, Share, Share!

I was so incredibly frustrated last night. I had a perfect platform and opportunity to share my “story,” and in my mind, I flopped.

I was invited to be on a panel of women agriculture leaders at a farm women event yesterday. The coordinator wanted us to share how we got to the positions we have today. I was thinking that would not be a problem since I know my life pretty much better than anyone.

I thought it would be good to talk about how I came from a small semi-subsistence farm, my horses led me to an education in agriculture, and the fact that I never thought in a million years I would work for farmers. I also wanted to point out how after so many years, we are finally realizing the importance of empowering women to help share the message of farming and food.

Fortunately I made it through all that, but then my nerves started messing with my head and I completely forgot to share the good stuff, where I and my experience were heading.

Because of this new tool called social media, I am no longer just talking to the local fourth-grade class about grain, creating web pages and trade show displays, or writing content about and for my farmers; I am connecting with people across the country and beyond. While I am not a farmer, my work in the “field” has given me a unique viewpoint, and I now have a way to easily share that with who will listen. Social media also provides a richer learning opportunity. I am more aware of the feelings and struggles of other farmers, whether big or small, modern or traditional. That has helped me lift my blinders to my specific niche and learn to embrace others.

My day job might be “woman in ag,” or as some folks like to call me “corn girl” (which I hate by the way), my most important job is MOM: buyer and preparer of the food. My biggest motivation for involving myself in food and farm conversations is my desire to have the food choices I have today in the future.

Now that I can actually look at what I want to say on the screen, hopefully I will be a little more prepared to share this story when the opportunity presents itself. (FYI: I am one of those visual learners). Or better yet, maybe I, as well as others involved in farming, need to create those opportunities.

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