Earlier this year, I had the chance to embrace an inspirational and intensive training opportunity with the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. – Women’s Communications Boot Camp. The Boot Camp is an intensive training opportunity for any female Farm Bureau member interested in building skills needed to communicate about agriculture and Farm Bureau. To date, 284 women have graduated from the program. These skilled alumni provide Farm Bureau with a passionate and persuasive group of advocates who connect with influencers on the local, state and national levels.

I am proud to say I am a graduate of the organization’s 19th Boot Camp, but I will admit that prior to attending, I used to think that the Women’s Leadership Program was for the “Farmer’s Wife” who had a large farming operation. I now know that you do not have to be the “Farmer’s Wife” or anyone’s wife to participate and excel in this amazing leadership program. No acreage requirement, no commodity requirement and you are not required to even own land or farm. A love and passion for agriculture and the desire to be an advocate for safe and healthy food, animal welfare, providing food, fiber and fuel for the world and becoming a partner with America’s Agriculture Industry and the grassroots organization that supports and stands up for the American Farmer.

Diane Garcia (center) alongside American Farm Bureau leaders and staff at the Women's Communications Boot Camp.

The Women’s Boot Camp is held twice a year and 15 women from all over the country are chosen based on their application answers to questions about your previous involvement in the Farm Bureau, Community Leadership and existing skills and knowledge. The advocacy and educational trainings provided enhanced my public speaking ability by strengthening my content messaging, delivery dynamic and media interview skill sets while responding to tough topics. Another highlight of the experience was connecting with senators and representatives to share about the farm bill and its impact on our industry, resources and educational needs.

The American Farm Bureau Women’s Boot Camp was the perfect combination of skill building for better communication and agricultural advocacy. You not only gain knowledge and skills, you become motivated to use them to get involved and make a difference.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I had to participate and now I not only have increased knowledge and skills but I have 14 other women who love agriculture like I do cheering me on in and supporting my future journeys.

Visit https://www.fb.org/program/womens-leadership to learn more about upcoming opportunities to participate in the Women’s Communications Boot Camp. The deadline for the Spring session (April 1-4, 2024) is January 29, 2024. Feel free to reach out to Susan Furner (susan.furner@fbfs.com) if you have questions about Boot Camp or participating sometime in the future.

Diane Garcia is a fifth-generation farmer and Farm Bureau member in Utah County. They raise beef cattle, produce, and have an agritourism component to her farm in Spanish Fork.