WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Farm Bureau Federation recognized 15 farm and ranch women leaders as graduates of the organization’s Women’s Communications Boot Camp fall session. The intensive four-day course comprised hands-on sessions related to public speaking, working with the media and messaging.

With less than 2% of the population engaged in farming or ranching, honing outreach skills and connecting with the non-farming public in new and creative ways is essential, according to Sherry Saylor, an Arizona farmer and chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee.

“We have to engage with consumers as we never have before,” Saylor said. “Food is a hot topic in our society, which presents tremendous opportunities.”

The fall 2019 Boot Camp graduates are: Margaret Gladden, Indiana; Anna Troester, Iowa; Mary Mertz, Kansas; Mary Fischer, Missouri; Eileen Jensen, New York; Robin Reeves, North Carolina; Lisa Kahlig, Ohio; Tracy Woodard, South Carolina; Julie Giles, Tennessee; Jessica Rumbaugh, Texas; Dotty Jensen, Utah; Delaney Nalder, Utah; Sarah Howard, Washington; Mariah Hatton, West Virginia; and Beth Schaefer, Wisconsin.

The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, in partnership with AFBF staff, hosts and provides training for the Women’s Communications Boot Camp. This is the 14th year of the program, which has 210 graduates and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau. An application process is used to select the participants.