Amazing Woman in Ag: Elizabeth

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.

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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."

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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."

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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!

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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." So true!

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Thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her story. For more on her family's farm, their website.

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