Leader McCombie Focused on the Changing Face of Farming

Women have had an impact in agriculture in the U.S. for some time, whether it be on the farm, in the classroom, or in the boardroom. Many of those roles have been understated, but the important role women play in the industry cannot be ignored, especially as it continues to evolve and modernize. Moving forward, the next generation of women must be educated and ready to adapt as they face the challenges of the world’s ever-changing fuel and food needs.

The good news is that more women than ever are choosing careers in agriculture, with data from 2012 through 2017 showing a 27 percent increase in women producers. Many of these women are deciding to go to work on their family farm, with lessons learned from mom and dad and local networks of women who meet on a regular basis. 

The shift that has welcomed more women in farming can be traced to several factors, including technology. The job is not as labor intensive as it was in the past, and modern equipment requires less manual labor for upkeep. In addition, younger generations are accustomed to their mothers working outside the home, so farming is more accepted as a career path. Family support is paramount for young women farmers to gain experience and confidence, and establishing a network of peers also plays a big role. 

Bringing together women working in agriculture is a top priority for House Minority Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), and she recently held a successful first meeting for the new ‘Women in Agriculture’ advisory group.

Leader McCombie brought together a dozen women leaders from across the 89th District, and the group discussed legislative updates related to agriculture. The first meeting allowed members to introduce themselves and hear from McCombie on current issues relevant to farming, agricultural education, and funding.

“This meeting was a great introduction to a coalition that I have wanted to start for some time to bring women together, celebrate their impact to agriculture, and be a resource for each other,” McCombie stated. “I see this group as an opportunity for women to work together to gain a better understanding of legislation and programs to promote Illinois’ largest economic driver.”

The initial meeting for the Women in Agriculture advisory group included a special guest, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello. Director Costello provided an overview of the Department of Agriculture and offered his department’s services to answer any questions or concerns going forward.

“The future of agriculture is changing with technology and other innovations,” Costello stated. “At the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), we welcome the opportunity to bring more women into the industry through recruitment initiatives, mentoring relationships, and partnerships with schools through FFA and 4-H. Continued bipartisan efforts to expand opportunities for women in agriculture are critical and have our full support.”

The Women in Agriculture advisory group is planning to meet on a quarterly basis throughout the year, with additional guest speakers to be invited to provide resources and insight. Constituentsseeking information on how to join the group or those who have questions are encouraged to contact Leader McCombie.

Eradicate The Illinois Estate Tax

The estate tax has devastated family farms for decades as these farms are often sold to pay the inheritance tax. It’s time to finally help family farmers pass their farmland on to the next generation, protecting our family farms from being sold off to large corporate or foreign interests.

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