Knowing that women approach business with different priorities can help farm families maximize their effectiveness in management roles. We’re seeing more women return to the farm and all kinds of family businesses.
Currently women comprise 31 percent of all U.S. farmers and ranchers. They manage 14 percent of all U.S. farms and ranches, and own 30 percent of all farmland in the country. And 44 percent of FFA members are girls. Yet women are still less than 10 percent of senior executives at major agribusiness companies. But that’s changing.
I help families transition businesses between generations. I have worked with many daughters, nieces and sisters-in-laws who are returning to farms and are interested in management roles.
Women bring heart to business. They want to do what they’re passionate about. They’re also interested in what’s going to happen to the family business in the next generation and beyond.
Having a plan is an effective way to maximize a woman’s success in a leadership role. Women should map out a one-year plan and a five-year plan. Once they have a plan, women are incredibly focused. That makes them incredible leaders.
Women are more inclined to continue learning on the job — seeking knowledge in books, training, online classes and support groups. Women supporting other women is important. And they’re community-based.
It’s also important to teach women their value. Women tend to see their value in what they do, like raising kids. I help them remember they’re also valuable for who they are. Their ideas are valuable.
While it can be a change for a farm or ranch to have a woman assume a leadership role, there are many advantages to be gained. The Shark Tank television show’s Kevin O’Leary has said his most successful business ventures are those with women leaders. There are lots of reasons for this, but one is women can multitask. There’s a reason for the old saying that if something needs to be done give it to a busy mom.