Fifteen farm and ranch women leaders  -- including three from Utah! -- graduated from the spring session of Women’s Communications Boot Camp hosted by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The agricultural leaders completed an intensive four-day course that featured hands-on sessions focused on public speaking, working with the media and messaging. Program graduates will use their training to strategically support Farm Bureau’s priority issues. This includes participating in local media opportunities, sharing information with elected officials and joining social media campaigns that spotlight modern agriculture.

“Boot Camp class members are ‘all-in’ when it comes to teamwork, supporting one another, networking and thoughtfully considering how what they’ve learned relates to agricultural advocacy,” said Isabella Chism, an Indiana row crop farmer and chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. “They’ve been both fully present in this training and forward thinking about how to apply their skills to benefit agriculture’s future.”

"Thankfully, I don't have the horrible fear of public speaking that some do.  But there were definitely things I struggled with and worried over that were holding me back.  American Farm Bureau Federation's Women's Communication Boot Camp gave me the tools I lacked to help me progress in my ability to communicate and advocate in meaningful and powerful ways," said Paige Norton. "I have already implemented the things I have learned and it has been incredibly helpful!  I am so grateful I had the opportunity to participate and would encourage all women in agriculture to apply!"

Boot Camp graduates are Gracelynn Dale and Deanne Frieders, Illinois; Corina Brant, Indiana; Rachel Duncan, Louisiana; Jodie Drange, Montana; Victoria Lee, Michelle Shooter and Shavon Via, North Carolina; Kim Miller, New Mexico; Katie Glaser and Katie Iverson, Oregon; Jennifer Marshall, Paige Norton and McKayla Shannon, Utah; and Morgan Washburn, Virginia.

“From engaging with elected officials to consumers, agricultural advocacy is a cornerstone of Farm Bureau,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We’re proud to recognize the women farmers and ranchers who completed this training and congratulate them for taking this next step in their leadership journey.”

"My biggest take away from boot camp was to listen to what people want to know or are interested in. Ask questions to find out more and then share your response.  Really put thought into what your response is going to be before you just give an answer.  I was in the presence of some great leaders within Farm Bureau Women and men," said Jennifer Marshall. "They took time to teach me to be confident, to be prepared for media and tackle the hard issues.  I am forever grateful for the opportunity I was given to participate in such an amazing program. Thank you so much for believing in me."

This is the 20th Boot Camp hosted by AFBF. The program has 299 graduates and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau.

“I feel empowered after completing this training,” said Corina Brant, an Indiana corn, soybean and beef cattle farmer. “I’m also more confident about taking my skills to the next level, which will help me to advance in leadership.”

"Boot Camp was an amazing experience. I learned how to navigate hard questions that are asked about agriculture," McKayla Shannon said. "The women were amazing and it was so fun to make connections across the nation."

The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, in partnership with AFBF staff, hosts and provides training for Women’s Communications Boot Camp biannually. Applications open in June for the next fall session of Boot Camp, slated for Oct. 14-17, 2024.