5 Women Who Prove Agriculture Isn't Just A Man's Field

5 Women Who Prove Agriculture Isn't Just A Man's Field

Talk about girl power
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As a young woman in agriculture, I've met a lot of people who still seem to think that this is a man's field. Honestly, when I hear that I can't decide if I wanna roll my eyes or try not to laugh. Over the years agriculture has become just as much of a home to women as it is to men. Want some proof? Here are just a handful of women who've proved that AG industry isn't just a male industry.

1. Temple Grandin

Grandin has not only made her mark in agriculture but also the autistic community. She is a prominent and widely cited proponent for the humane treatment and slaughter of livestock. Grandin is a vastly successful author and public speaker as well as an animal science professor at Colorado State University. Her discoveries and designs are largely used in modern agriculture.

2. Denise O'Brien

O'Brien farmed in Iowa for years long before she founded Women, Food and Agriculture Network or WFAN for short. She has lobbied for the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition and has served as an advisory member to the Iowa Women's Foundation, Farm to School Council and the Community Food Security Coalition. Denise, a passionate leader in raising women's voices in agriculture, is a Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the Iowa's Farmer's Union.

3. Allison Aubrey

The Salt wouldn't be telling you nearly as much about whats on your plate if it weren't for Allison Aubrey. As a correspondent for NPR she was awarded the American Society for Nutrition's Media Award for her reporting on NPR she was awarded the American Society for Nutrition's Media Award for her reporting on food and nutrition in 2009. Aubrey is also a James Beard award nominee and winner for food blogging.

4. Karen Ross

Karen Ross is the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Before she's served as Chief of Staff to Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. She is a major influence in California agriculture with farming roots that tie back to Nebraska where her family still produces cattle and grain crops.

5. Brenda Hastings

Almost 600 head of Holstein cattle is enough to keep anyone busy, but that doesn't keep Brenda Hastings from doing more. She's served as one of the only women on the board of directors of the Ohio Dairy Producers Association and one of two women on with American Dairy Association Mideast.

These are just a few women making their mark on the agricultural industry. I just hope to join their ranks one day, after all, this is a women's field too.

Cover Image Credit: Wiki Commons

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To The Stoneman HS Colorguards

We are all with you and thinking of you at this time.
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When I was fourteen years old, I had just begun to explore the world of colorguard. I went to seven am rehearsals every day with my older brother which I thought was the coolest thing, I traveled for contests and experienced winterguard for the first time as well. My parents always made it to my performances and always made sure to tell me how proud they were of me and loved me after everything I have done.

As it has come to light that one of the victims of the Stoneman Douglas HS shooting in Florida was a fourteen-year-old girl by the name of Gina Montalto who had just begun her journey into a sport that I fell in love with so many years ago.

She was set to perform at her first WGI regional this weekend in Tampa as well. She had the world ahead of her as she went to school on Valentine's Day thinking it would be like any other school day. She was probably preparing herself for her performance this weekend alongside many amazing teammates who I have no doubt pushed her to be an amazing performer.

All I have seen is that she was a sweet and kind young woman who I have no doubt was special. I also saw that she was just beginning a journey into falling in love with an amazing sport.

Many of you are probably asking yourselves why I am writing about someone I never knew at this point. WGI is a community that connects people in ways you never expect. You meet performers from all across the United States as well as internationally. Many are lucky enough to keep these friendships for life. Gina is a member of a large community that has been sending its love and thoughts to Florida during this tragic time.

The colorguard community has also been standing up and asking for a change to prevent violence like this from continuing. I have seen it across my social media feeds for the past day that each colorguard page I follow regardless if it is the official WGI page, people like PunkRockIrving, or teams from across the entire country, they all share a similar message. A message of condolence and prayer along with a request for a change to begin.

As the days continue to pass by and competitions seem to fly by for so many performers whether it be on your state's circuit or within WGI, hug your friends and your teammates a little tighter as you go on through your season this year. Be a voice in the community that so many have called a home and do not be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.

Show the members of Stoneman Douglas HS winterguards how appreciated they are this season if you ever get the chance. Their performers are some of the most dedicated that I have ever seen at World Championships and over social media. I have the utmost confidence that Gina's legacy will be carried with each of them as they perform.

Cover Image Credit: Stoneman Douglas HS

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Why I'm Pro-Choice

Abortion: a necessary evil.
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I live in a very conservative area, so the pro-choice/pro-life debate is usually a hot topic. When I see a post on Facebook arguing about abortion, I try to ignore it for the most part. I chime in every now and then, but I know that my opinions mostly fall on deaf ears. But today I have decided to take a stance: I am pro-choice, and I have something to say.

Let me start off by saying that I am not pro-abortion. I think abortion is terrible and it’s sad that it exits. But, I do think that abortion is necessary. In the 50s and 60s, before Roe v. Wade, the number of illegal abortions was astronomically high. The number of illegal abortions ranged anywhere between 200,000 and over 1 million each year. Out of these, almost 20% of all maternal deaths were a result of illegal abortions. (source)

Since the legalization of abortion, many women now have access to the proper medical care necessary for safe abortions. The amount of women that die as a direct result of abortion is almost non-existent. The past has proven that make abortion illegal wont stop abortions from happening. This will only increase the amount of unsafe abortions and the number of women who die from them.

My next opinion is bound to make some people upset but, until it reaches a certain age, there is no way for a fetus to survive on its own. At this stage in development, the fetus is essentially a parasite. A parasite is defined as “an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.” Until a fetus reaches the stage at which it is able to survive on its own, I do not consider it to be a person. It sounds harsh, but it’s simply the reality of the situation. The earliest that a fetus can survive outside of the womb is about 22 weeks. (source) Abortions rarely occur after this stage in a pregnancy, and when they do, it is only when a doctor says that it is medically necessary. As of now, almost 99% of abortions occur before the 21st week of pregnancy. (source)

A lot of people will argue that, “if you don’t want a baby, you shouldn’t have sex.” This, I believe, is an irresponsible statement to make. Yes, it seems like the obvious solution, but one that is impossible to enforce. Instead of shaming women for their sex lives, we should be encouraging and education on safe sex practices and making it easier for them to obtain contraceptives. This would greatly decrease the need for abortions because it would decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies overall. Not to mention that over half of the women that receive abortions already have at least one child. (source)

We can argue about whether or not life begins at conception. We can argue about religious or moral reasons for not having abortions. But the fact of the matter is: abortion is necessary, whether you like it or not.

Cover Image Credit: http://clipart-library.com/clipart/8i65erMbT.htm

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