Originally posted on the Cox Farm Blog by Maria Cox
I had the pleasure of attending the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture event on March 8 at SIU Carbondale. (www.womenchanginthefaceofagriculture.com) I recently joined Illinois Agri-women (who sponsors the event), and I offered to “man” a table for women pursuing careers in farming at the career discovery part of the event. I graduated from the University of Illinois in 2006, and the conference is in its 4th year, so I was never able to participate when I was in college. It’s a fantastic event that introduces females in high school and college to careers in agriculture.
What did I take away from the event? Young women are super excited about agriculture! It was fun to chat with those who may be interested or have the option of returning to the family farm. I shared with the young women a certain message; take risks. It’s ok to take chances. It’s ok to do something out of the norm. Change is good, it makes us grow.
I had a few female farmer influences in college…mainly my Sigma Alpha sisters who farmed on the side with their parents. But, I didn’t have that “professional” outlet that this conference provides. My mindset just might have been different if I’d attended a conference like this and met with females in production agriculture.
When I was in college, I put farming with Dad on the back burner as I thought it was more of a job for a guy. I didn’t think it was my place or I “had it in me” to be a farmer. It took me some great career and life experiences away from the farm to realize that my future lies on the Cox Farm near that little spot we call Belltown, 3 miles south of White Hall. If I hadn’t taken the risk and quit my big girl job, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now. Today, I spend time working on balance sheets, working cattle, harvesting corn and beans, cutting hay, marketing crops, and most importantly, continuing the 6th generation of both sides of my family to feed our world.