Fifteen farm and ranch women leaders graduated from the spring session of Women’s Communications Boot Camp hosted by the American Farm Bureau Federation, including Utahns Nancy Harris of Sevier County and Tiffany McConkie of Duchesne County.

The intensive four-day course completed by the agricultural leaders featured hands-on sessions related to public speaking, working with the media and messaging. Graduates will use their training in a variety of ways such as participating in local media opportunities to strategically support Farm Bureau’s policy work, sharing information with elected officials and joining social media campaigns that spotlight modern agriculture.

“Farm and ranch women are tremendous advocates for agriculture, always striving to find new and creative ways to share their stories in a broad range of settings,” said Isabella Chism, an Indiana row crop farmer and chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. “I’m excited to see how the women leaders who completed this training will use their skills to benefit their communities and Farm Bureau on the local, state and national level.”

"At this Boot Camp, I experienced the challenge of learning to become an influential communicator rather than just a public speaker," Harris said. "I was supported and encouraged in so many ways to become a successful advocate for agriculture."

Nancy Harris (center) with Terri Moore, AFBF VP of Communications (left) and Isabella Chism, Chair of the AFBF Women's Leadership Committee. 

Boot Camp graduates are Leslie Bauer, Maryland; Maggie Blankenship, West Virginia; Amber Cheatham Owens, Arizona; Kelsey DeCloux, New York; Nancy Harris, Utah; Tiffany McConkie, Utah; Melanie Hendrix, Georgia; Jodi Morgan, Georgia; Lindie Huffman, Kentucky; Rachel Hyde, Indiana; Renee Keith, Mississippi; Ashley Kuhler, Virginia; Tara Luckie, Washington; Linda Pryor, North Carolina; and Brittany Scott, Arkansas.

“AFBF is proud to offer this training twice each year, which affords women farmers and ranchers the opportunity to develop their agriculture advocacy skills,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “I applaud our graduates as they strive to increase their engagement with both consumers and elected officials while also exploring new leadership roles.”

"Boot Camp taught me things ranging from how to stand and talk in a group setting to sitting in front of cameras doing an interview," McConkie said. "This intense, but amazing, boot camp gave me the confidence to talk about and get consumers' attention when talking about our industry."

Tiffany McConkie (center) with Terri Moore, AFBF VP of Communications (left) and Isabella Chism, Chair of the AFBF Women's Leadership Committee.

This is the 18th Boot Camp. The program has 269 graduates -- including several from Utah -- and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau.

The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, in partnership with AFBF staff, hosts and provides training for Women’s Communications Boot Camp. A fall session of Boot Camp will be held Oct. 16-19, 2023, with applications opening in June.