The involvement of women in Montana agriculture has grown steadily in the 21st century.
Women now make up one-third of the workforce on Montana's farms and ranches. Because of this, Montana farmers union has held the women's annual conference to address specific concerns for women in agriculture.
"This conference is truly about finding and celebrating rural women. Women in agriculture, women in these small communities and women who just care about being active in the state of Montana,” Rachel Prevost, Director of Member Service and Governmental Affairs for Montana Farmers Union said.
"It's a hard job, especially being a woman in farming. I feel like the only girl in the room so I come here and I get so inspired by my fellow women farmers, entrepreneurs and speakers,” Board member for District 3 of the Montana Farmers Union, Sarah Degn said.
Featured speakers shared a wide array of topics, including what it takes for smaller, rural towns to survive.
"Every small town that still exists is a resilient small town. So I think just by the nature of agriculture we have to be resilient. It's critical for any community, especially a small town that's going to survive. You've got to be innovative, you've got to be creative and you've got to be really passionate,” said Executive Director of Growing Small Towns in Oakes, North Dakota, Rebecca Undem.
Claudia Krevat, a chef and storyteller from Bozeman, found that sharing food around the dinner table helped her make friends.
"You can make a community through food. In the beginning when I came in because of my accent that I'm from another part I felt a little bit different but people were very welcoming in my neighborhood and it was actually around the table that I created some wonderful relationships,” Krevat said.
Some shared the power of storytelling to build community.
"I hope that women here will understand that sharing the right story will connect them with the people they need in their circle to be successful,” said Sarah Elkins of Elins Consulting in Helena. "So coming together and networking with other people you might find exactly the person you need to kind of round out your support system.”
For more information about the conference, upcoming events or learn how you can get involved, visit MontanaFarmersUnion.com
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