The panel discussion was part of an “Ask a Farmer” series related to the “American Enterprise” exhibit at the National Museum of American History.
Panelist and North Dakota farmer Val Wagner represented the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“We were able to tell them not only about our experiences as women in agriculture, but then be able to answer their questions that they had regarding what happens on the farm, and our views,” Wagner said.
She called the museum a perfect venue for the discussion, as it is a place visitors go to learn and seek out more information.
“They already were in the mindset of asking questions and had their minds open. And so being able to have that discussion and being able to answer the questions that they had at the moment was amazing and was a great opportunity—one that I really hope continues to not only happen in D.C. but happen across the county.”
When farmers participate in conversations with consumers, Wagner said, it helps impart accurate information about agriculture from a credible source.
“The most important part of all that we’ve done is just opening yourself up to that conversation. … It not only develops a level of trust, but it also really gives them a place they can go to, so when they do have those questions they’re not looking at Google, they actually know someone they can ask those questions to.”
The most recent U.S. Census of Agriculture identified nearly 970,000 women farmers, with women accounting for 30 percent of the nation’s producers. About 288,000 women identified themselves as principal farm operators—the individuals in charge of a farm’s day-to-day operations.
In Virginia, the census identified more than 20,000 farms with a woman operator.
For more information on the “American Enterprise” exhibit, visit americanhistory.si.edu/