Today we introduce you to Elizabeth, from North Carolina.
Elizabeth grew up on a dairy farm in the mountains where they have
been farming for almost 90 years and have 75 Holsteins. Elizabeth's
mom makes and sells cheese, but the majority of the farm's milk
goes for fluid milk. Elizabeth also works for the Southeast United
Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA) as the Manager of Industry
Relations for Virginia and the Carolinas. SUDIA is a non-profit
dairy product promotion association funded by dairy farmers through
the National Dairy Checkoff. SUDIA's territory includes 9 states
across the Southeast and SUDIA's mission is to increase sales and
demand for dairy products and to build consumer trust in dairy
products and farming.
While Elizabeth grew up in farming, she didn't consider a career
in the agriculture industry until she was in high school. She
explains, "About the time I started high school I got the chance to
travel to Wisconsin twice. Once with the North Carolina 4-H Dairy
Judging team and again to the National 4-H Dairy Conference. That
really opened my eyes up to all the opportunities there are in the
field of agriculture. Until then I didn't really have a very broad
view of all the different things available in agriculture. My
college experience at NC State also introduced me to other sectors
of farming, not just dairy."
There are so many reasons working in agriculture can be
fulfilling, but for Elizabeth it's all about connecting consumers
and producers. She says, "many of the farmers I work with are pros
when it comes to talking with consumers, but some of them are
really apprehensive about it. It is so satisfying when you can
encourage and help those apprehensive farmers to share their story
with people. They all end up doing a great job! I really like to
watch the progression of a farmer's confidence and involvement when
it comes to interacting with their customer."
As a mom of young children, Elizabeth also faces some challenges
in the workplace. As many moms and women can relate, balance can be
tough! Elizabeth is also so passionate about what she does that
sometimes she gets frustrated! "Right now a lot of farmers in my
area are being hit hard with a combination of lower milk prices and
drought so it's sometimes hard to stay positive." I think most of
us can relate to this!
So what is the silver lining? Elizabeth shares, "I like the fact
that the number of women in ag is growing. It's not traditional
field for women, but I think the women in ag are supportive of each
other. I also really like the fact that I can get by with wearing
jeans and boots to do my job! I see the general attitude toward
women in ag improving as more women are involved in agriculture."
Thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her story. For more on her
family's farm, their website.