Farm Credit Affiliation
1st Farm Credit Services
years, Penny Lauritzen had a vision for helping young women
work in the field of agriculture, overcoming the perceived barriers to entering
a predominantly male-dominated field to embrace their passion for agriculture.
farmer’s wife in the 1970s, my growing interest in agriculture led me back to
college to secure a degree in Agriculture Science, with an emphasis in farm
management,” says Penny. “I discovered there was rarely a seat at the table in
farm organizations and few career opportunities in agriculture business for
years ago, she put her vision into action and created the first ever Women Changing the Face of Agriculture event. Now in its seventh year, the event
brings high school and college students with an interest in agriculture
together to explore careers with women who are already working in the
are abundant for young women. As women in agriculture, it is our responsibility
to serve as role models and share that information with future generations of young
women that have an interest in agriculture,” Penny says.
morning of the annual conference features a career fair-style event, where students can
meet with professionals in various fields of agriculture. In the afternoon,
students have topic-specific breakout sessions, which help provide more in-depth
discussions of careers and life skills. In the seven years of the event, more
than 2,800 students have participated, with approximately 75 different
companies represented each year.
become apparent that the agriculture, food, energy and natural resources industry
will need more human resources than the young men available from small rural communities
and farm families,” Penny says. “I hope the entire industry, but the women in
particular, will join in the effort to draw young women to rewarding,
well-paid, challenging careers in agriculture.”
continues to be at the core of volunteers that put the event on each year. She is
committed to making sure women see their value in the agricultural workforce, and
will continue to lead the effort for young women to recognize that they can be
leaders, managers and even CEOs in agriculture companies.
passion and vision for Women in agriculture will continue to influence
generations of future agriculturalists.
watch the technological developments roll out, it makes it difficult to
determine what the industry will look like over the next century,” she says. “But
it does seem reasonable to have confidence in the abilities, industriousness
and commitment of the people – men and women – of this industry to successfully
provide food, fiber and energy while protecting the environment.”
Follow Women Changing the Face of Agriculture on Facebook
Explore Top 100 Honorees
Follow Women Changing the Face of Agriculture on Twitter
Back to Honorees