Editor’s note: This article is the third in a series of articles featuring the leaders of the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation. The organization’s mission is to advance the education of women in agriculture. The organization also supports the student chapter of the Association of Women in Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
For Taylor Holterman, membership in the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation is a family affair. Her mother, Daphne Holterman, joined the student chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977. Taylor Holterman’s sister, Lauren Brey nee Holterman, also joined the student chapter when she attended UW-Madison. Today all three women are alumni members of the organization.
“I saw the potential for personal and professional development,” Taylor Holterman said of why she joined the student chapter in 2011, and then later the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation. She currently chairs the association’s communications committee.
After graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in life sciences communication and earning a certificate in entrepreneurship from UW-Madison, Holterman joined Union Pacific Railroad as an account representative. She later became a business representative for the railroad company’s agricultural products and food team. In that role she analyzed Union Pacific’s dry-milk shipments and conducted research on the dairy-export market.
In April 2017 she moved to the Chicago area, working as a sales manager in Union Pacific’s industrial-commercial business. That position involves selling rail-service packages and addressing shipment issues with companies that produce cement, roofing materials and other industrial construction products. She travels throughout the Midwest and the East Coast. The job keeps her abreast of happenings in the U.S. economy and industry, she said.
While her current position is outside of agriculture, Holterman said she enjoys her continued involvement in the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation.
“I want to remain close to the organization and give back to the students,” she said.
Sarah Botham is a faculty associate in the department of life sciences communication at UW-Madison. She also serves as the advisor for the UW-Madison student chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association.
“Taylor comes from a strong dairy-farm family and she brings her family’s legacy to her education and advocacy efforts on behalf of agriculture,” Botham said. “Taylor’s career path has taken her away from agriculture, but the hard work and strong work ethic she gained – and has demonstrated – will carry her far,” Botham said.
Holterman said that the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation helps women to learn from each other and develop personally and professionally. It also affords the opportunity to develop life-long friendships, she said.
Her advice to other young women in agriculture or any other industry is to take some risks and explore outside one’s comfort zone.
“Move somewhere different,” she said. “I had a great first job and received career experience. I’ve also met great people at Union Pacific.”
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