Fifteen farm and ranch women leaders graduated from the fall 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.

Row 1 (L to R) – Janis Highley, Indiana; Meghan Gennings, Massachusetts; Carlina Harris, New Mexico; Margaret Harrison, South Carolina

Row 2 (L to R) – AFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Isabella Chism, Indiana; Diane Garcia, Utah; Danielle Yerby, Louisiana; Julie Hardy, Georgia; Julia Hardy, North Carolina; AFB Women’s Leadership Committee Southern Representative Lou Nave, Tennessee

Row 3 (L to R) – Jennifer Newby, Kentucky; Emilee Haubner, Texas; Megan Webb, West Virginia; Rachel Bearden, Arkansas; Courtney Gerace, Louisiana; Nicole R. Clements, Arizona; Nanette Auhll, Colorado

“Agriculture needs strong advocates who are willing to step up and share their stories on the local, state and national level,” said Isabella Chism, an Indiana row crop farmer and chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee. “The Farm Bureau women leaders who have completed this training are poised to creatively use their skills in a broad range of settings.”

Boot Camp graduates are Nicole Richardson Clements, Arizona; Rachel Bearden, Arkansas; Nanette Auhll, Colorado; Julie Hardy, Georgia; Janis Highley, Indiana; Jennifer Newby, Kentucky; Courtney Gerace, Louisiana; Danielle Yerby, Louisiana; Meghan Gennings, Massachusetts; Carlina Harris, New Mexico; Julia Hardy, North Carolina; Margaret Harrison, South Carolina; Emilee Haubner, Texas; Megan Webb, West Virginia; and Diane Garcia, Utah.

“Engaging with elected officials and consumers is an important element of agriculture advocacy work,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “AFBF is proud to continue offering this training to women farmers and ranchers twice each year. I applaud our graduates and congratulate them for taking this next step in their leadership journey.”

Diane Garcia (center) of Utah County was a graduate of the Women's Communication Boot Camp in October.

This is the 19th Boot Camp. The program has 284 graduates and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau.

“Participating in Women’s Communications Boot Camp was challenging, inspiring and motivating,” said Meghan Gennings, a Massachusetts Farm Bureau leader and lab instructor in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts. “I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned about being a better advocate for agriculture with other members when I return home.”

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 December for the next spring session of Boot Camp, slated for April 1-4, 2024.