More than 50,000 Iowa women own, work on and support the more than 86,000 farms in our state. Even more women work in various related commodity and industry fields, such as research and development, international trade, manufacturing, sales and distribution, agribusiness and advocacy. Moreover, hundreds of women across the state foster the next generation of ag leaders through education and mentorship.
Iowa is a worldwide leader in agriculture, and we have celebrated generations of agricultural workers. But less has been done to recognize the women who make up this innovative and diverse industry. Stine Seed Company — a long-standing leader in the ag industry — sought to change that this March.
For several years, the company has honored its employees, partners and other ag industry professionals during National Ag Week and on National Ag Day in late March. Stine has also given homage to women agricultural workers throughout the last few years through company newsletters and social media, but Stine leadership wanted to do more to recognize the diversity of the ag industry and the important roles women play in driving growth and innovation. Stine reached out to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office to inquire about formal celebrations for women in agriculture.
“Stine already celebrates all the women who work in various roles in their company and all the growers they partner with. This year, they wanted to do more to commend women’s efforts in supporting and leading the industry that feeds the world,” said Abby Bottenfield, Trilix’s communications director. “We thought a women in agriculture day might already exist in Iowa or nationwide, but after some research, we realized that wasn’t the case.”
Proposing a day to celebrate women in agriculture during the intersection of National Women’s History Month and Nation Ag Week in late March simply made sense. Stine reached out to the Iowa FFA Foundation, the Iowa 4-H Program and FarmHer — organizations that share Stine’s mission to celebrate women working in agriculture — to ask for their support of this initiative. Together, they asked the governor to proclaim March 26 as Women in Agriculture Day in Iowa.
“We love working with our friends and partners at Stine, and we were thrilled to play a part in their campaign. We were also very ecstatic when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the proclamation.”
“We love working with our friends and partners at Stine, and we were thrilled to play a part in their campaign,” Abby said. “We were also very ecstatic when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the proclamation.”
News of the proclamation spread across the state, and Successful Farming even published an article about the day celebrating women in agriculture.
And while everyone at Stine was thrilled to celebrate Women in Agriculture Day on March 26, they didn’t want to stop there. To mark the momentous proclamation, Stine enlisted our assistance in crafting a month-long campaign to showcase the many women and growers who work for and with the company.
We began by creating videos featuring Stine’s female employees, including researchers, salespeople and a grower customer. The videos show these women in their everyday working environments as they share their passion for agriculture and offer the next generation of ag workers and advocates a glimpse at their future careers. Additionally, these ag leaders offered advice and encouragement for future industry professionals and advocates.
For a young woman thinking about getting into ag, don’t look at it as just being a farmer or just in sales. Whatever department you think about going into, passion is the key.
“For a young woman thinking about getting into ag, don’t look at it as just being a farmer or just in sales,” said Michelle Davison, a sales support employee at Stine. “Whatever department you think about going into, passion is the key.”
Jessica Moyer, a senior paralegal and contract coordinator for Stine, encouraged young women to see their diverse viewpoints as potential assets to the industry.
“Females in the ag industry — because it is a male-dominated field — have a different perspective,” she said. “Even just going to a conference, you stand out as a woman. Having more females in the ag industry is important because we can bring a different perspective.”
Stine leaders and employees were essential to the video production process.
The video shoot was a highlight of the campaign. We got to tour the lab and learn about the different ways Stine supports the industry. It was eye-opening.
“The video shoot was a highlight of the campaign,” Abby said. “We got to tour the lab and learn about the different ways Stine supports the industry. It was eye-opening.”
The videos were published on Stine’s social media pages, garnering views and engagement across all platforms. In addition to the videos, several graphics published on Stine’s platforms featured the women in their work environments and were emblazoned with text elements about celebrating women in agriculture. In keeping with Stine’s brand standards, the photographs were black and white with overlaid green and gold elements.
“Stine’s campaign includes black and white photography featuring the people who work at and with the company because it is an authentic, true and timeless approach. This aligns with the messages which also are authentic because they are delivered directly by the employees themselves,” said Brent Wirth, Trilix’s vice president of creative. “The green diagonal stripe and serif font were a break from the traditional brand standards, but they provided the campaign with its own treatment and offers an inviting feel for social media.”
Using #TogetHER4Ag, Trilix shared the graphics on social media along with videos, a picture of the proclamation and other posts throughout the month of March. The news was also shared in a special edition of Stine Weekly, the company’s e-newsletter. Stine also saw success with viewership across social media platforms on which engagement increased more than 75 percent in March.
“There are a lot of details and hard work that go into the seed farmers plant to get the yield results that they want,” Abby said. “This campaign helps share that story from a different perspective. Learning about all of that through the campaign, working with the governor’s office and seeing the plan come to fruition was amazing. It was also great seeing other organizations supporting the message on social media and online.”
Next year, Stine plans to ask the governor to renew the proclamation, but they don’t want to stop there.
“We hope to support efforts for a National Women in Ag Day,” Abby said.