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September 21, 2022

Six Tips for Women in Agribusiness   

Learn more about the entrepreneurial spirit of women in agribusiness and how they play an instrumental role in the ag industry’s future. 

According to the 2017 Census, there are 1.2 million female farmers in the U.S., representing 36 percent of our nation’s 3.4 million farmers. Nine percent of farms in the U.S. are run entirely by women.  

As more women are being recognized for their leadership roles on the farm, it’s important to acknowledge the entry barriers they face and the importance of accessible financial and operational resources to support female entrepreneurship in the ag industry. 

In celebration of American Business Women’s Day, AgAmerica spoke with agricultural entrepreneur Emily Reuschel to learn about her journey in the industry and hear her advice for other women interested in entrepreneurship. 

Emily married into her family’s multigenerational Illinois corn and soybean farm. After leaving her full-time job, she took a leap of faith to pursue a career as an entrepreneur who supports rural women. From her Gather in Growth podcast to her email content, Emily is passionate about supporting other rural women as they pursue careers both on and off the farm. 

“Entrepreneurship is boldly stepping into a space where it’s on you and you’re using your God-given talents, passions, and strengths. It’s taking control of your life and shedding the systems that were keeping you stuck. It’s having the freedom to decide daily what life looks like.”

Emily Reuschel

Six Tips for Female Farmers Entering the Ag Industry 

Before taking the step towards being an entrepreneur in the ag industry, it’s a good idea to do some planning and consider what your personal goals are.  

“When women learn to trust and take care of themselves and fully step into who they are and authentically share their story and live confidently as themselves, that’s the backbone of every community. Investing in women is an investment in rural communities.”

Emily Reuschel

1. Identify Goals 

According to Emily, it’s important to identify goals that are important to you instead of getting trapped by others’ expectations of you. In other words, consider what you actually want. 

After setting your goals, it’s important to be open to change. As an ever-evolving industry, agriculture changes constantly, meaning that producers must also evolve and shift the way they do things. Remember that this also empowers you to try out new and innovative methods for doing things. 

2. Seek Advice from Trusted Farmers  

While conducting secondary research is certainly important, so is building relationships with other farmers and seeking their advice. In particular, building connections with other female farmers can help you understand the personal challenges they have faced and their strategies for overcoming them.   

From a business perspective, finding a community to support you can also help you in your journey of starting a farm or taking over an existing operation by providing practical advice that can only be garnered from firsthand experience. 

3. Discover New Ways of Doing Things 

“You don’t have to run your business like everyone else.”

Emily Reuschel

Many farms have been in the family for generations. If you are starting a new farm or even taking over your family’s operation, it’s important to stay curious and open to new ways of doing things. 

According to Emily, just because something has been done a certain way for years does not mean that it is the best way. Maybe that means trying out regenerative ag practices like integrating cover crops. Or maybe it means launching a blog or social media page to market your products. 

Whatever the case, it’s important to do your research and decide on what’s best for your operation and goals.  

“A lot of the women I talk to are really starting to reconsider ‘do we have to do it this way just because we have always done it this way?’ They’re advocating for what they feel is the best next move in a community when other people have very different perspectives.”

Emily Reuschel

4. Put Together an Effective Business Plan 

After identifying goals, seeking advice, and conducting research, it’s important to create a business plan detailing how you plan to carry out these goals. This plan should include details like an input purchase plan, financing plans, and which commodities you are going to produce.  

Learn more about how to create a profitable farm business plan here. 

5. Allow Room for Trial and Error  

After creating a business plan and starting to implement it, Emily stresses the importance of giving yourself room for trial and error. One of the best ways to see if something works is to give it a try. If you see areas for improvement, give yourself room to continue adapting and evolving your methods.  

“Any time you’re putting yourself out there and trying new things, there’s a potential it’s going to be amazing, and there’s a potential you’re going to need to make tweaks.”

Emily Reuschel

6. Make Time for Self-Care and Rest 

Emily urged that while the to-do list never ends in agriculture, it’s important to prioritize and make time for rest. Farm stress can impact any farmer, so it’s important to recognize signs of over-exertion and take time to care for your well-being.  

“Just because you’re in agriculture does not mean that you need to throw all resemblance of the blend of work and life out the window.”

Emily Reuschel

Put Your Plan into Action with AgAmerica’s Flexible Financing 

Whether starting a new farm or taking over an existing operation, there are many barriers to entry for female farmers, including financing. 

Fortunately, working with a supportive lender can help overcome the entry barriers for new female farmers by offering helpful advice and resources along with flexible financing. AgAmerica’s flexible farm loans help provide the financial backing needed to build a successful farm operation. Whether looking to purchase land, refinance, or increase working capital, securing financing can help you start an operation or strengthen an existing one. 

Bring your plans to life with AgAmerica’s flexible farmland purchase loans. 

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