Hundreds of women connected at the 2017 Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference in Calgary from March 6-7 to share their passion for the agriculture industry.
“The Advancing Women Conference provided a rare opportunity to hear from diverse voices across the agriculture industry,” said Shannon McLaughlin, Communications Advisor at UFA. “Women have unique perspectives on important issues like labour and farm policy, social license and access to global markets. Female leadership is essential to the future of the industry.”
According to the AWC, the most recent Canadian census data from 2011 shows 36.5 per cent of Canadian farm operators as women. The conference is created for those passionate about agriculture and food, and recognizes that women in agriculture are important economic and social contributors across the country and the world. Attendees vary from students to producers, ranchers, entrepreneurs, and representatives of growers associations and corporate agri-businesses.
A panel of high profile industry speakers shared their experiences, inspirations, knowledge and ideas with an audience of around 500 people. Speakers included David Chilton, Author of Canada’s best-selling book The Wealthy Barber and former co-star of Dragon’s Den; Cheryl Fullerton, EVP People and Communications at Corus Entertainment Inc.; Dori Gingera-Beauchemin, Deputy Minister of Manitoba Agriculture; and Trish Jordan, Public & Industry Affairs Director for Monsanto Canada Inc.
Photo by UFA Co-operative
The panels and presentations provided valuable insight on the unique issues affecting women in agriculture today, including government policy, the application of new technologies in agriculture, consumer dialogue, female leadership and life on the farm. They discussed careers in agriculture, the changing role of women on farms, and the need for women to be deliberate with language and empowered in personal and professional choices.
“As a young and admittedly green professional in the Ag industry,” said Devan Schultz, Marketing Communications Coordinator at UFA. “The conference provided a unique opportunity not only to learn more about the industry, but to hear from and network with powerful women who have successfully navigated into successful and rewarding careers.”
Updates were shared on social media throughout the conference with #AWCwest2017, and a new initiative was announced inviting the women to share photos and stories of farm women throughout the 150 years of Canada’s history using #Canada150FarmWomen.