At the beginning of this semester, I was approached by a staff member of the KSU Collegian (school newspaper) who wanted to write an article about women in agriculture. My initial reaction was, “Wow, this is great; finally someone who wants to write a positive article about agriculture”. As I met with the girl for the interview, I quickly realized that she was looking for information regarding how women were not given a fair chance in agriculture as well as the college of ag.at KSU. I was very frustrated by this and quickly informed her that this was definitely not the case. As a women in agriculture, I have never felt that I was treated unfairly or differently because of my gender. In fact, I feel that we have very important roles within the industry. An example is the promotion of beef. I cannot think of a better person to market beef to a mom in the grocery store, than a women herself! (not that men couldn’t also do this effectively)
This afternoon our Collegiate CattleWomen group went on a couple of farm tours. Our last stop was at Fink Beef Genetics in Randolph, KS. Lori and Galen Fink have raised cattle since the late 1970’s and are very influential and progressive members of the beef industry. After a tour of their operation, Lori and Galen treated us to homemade cookies and sat down with all of us to discuss our role in the industry. Lori told us that when she was in high school, she was the first female and the first female FFA officer in their chapter. At this time, this was a huge fete. She said the school officials were worried about things like there only being a men’s restroom in the welding shed and how they were going to have to make a women’s bathroom. She said they didn’t realize she wasn’t interested in welding, she wanted to get involved in things like livestock and meats judging . After college, she applied for a secretarial position within the beef industry where previously the position had only been occupied by men. A fellow industry member encouraged her to apply for the job and assured her that she could do it and would do a great job. Lori got the job but said that she felt extra pressure to perform at a level beyond what was expected. She thoroughly enjoyed it and earned trust fr0m men within the industry. Today Lori serves on several beef committees on the state and national level, with men. She says that today women are given an equal opportunity and the sky is the limit as far as what we can accomplish.
Listening to Lori tell her story made me truly appreciate how far the agriculture industry has come. It also made me realize that we shouldn’t take our rights for granted, someone had to stick there neck out there to get us where we are today, women like Lori. She is an inspiration to me as well as the other girls in our group!