Editor’s note: This article is the next in a series of articles featuring the leaders of the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation.
In her role as at-large director of the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation, Maggie Seiler lends an outside perspective. She observes how the association serves its members as well as its student-chapter members at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then shares her perspectives as a graduate of another land-grant institution – Kansas State University.
In its bylaws the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation requires that the director at-large isn’t an alumna of UW-Madison.
“That attracted me to the position,” Seiler said. “It’s good to have outside perspectives.”
She’s liked what she has seen, she said. Both the alumni association and student chapter have been formed by women. They offer opportunities from campus housing to career and leadership development.
“Other colleges would do well to establish such an organization,” Seiler said.
Growing up with a rural background, she said she remembers how starting college was a big time of change. That’s another reason she appreciates what the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation does for young women in the student chapter.
“The Association of Women in Agriculture is a place for comradery and offers a place to live that encourages women in agriculture,” she said.
An associate editor at “Hoard’s Dairyman” in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Seiler began working at the publishing company as a student-intern in the book department. She worked on book design, layout and marketing. She later was named to the editorial staff after graduating in 2015 from Kansas State University. There she earned bachelor’s degrees in agricultural communications, and animal sciences and industry.
Seiler was raised on a dairy farm near Valley Center, Kansas. Her family milks 150 Holsteins and farms about 1,200 acres of crops. She was active in 4-H at local, state and national levels.
“Maggie has a tremendous work ethic,” said Kerri Ebert, coordinator at the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops. “She steps up and takes on responsibility. She grew up on a dairy farm, which teaches responsibility.”
Ebert had served for several years as secretary of the Kansas Holstein Association. She said she saw how Seiler grew and developed as a youth leader.
“It’s no fluke I hired her,” Ebert said.
When she was a freshman at Kansas State, Seiler helped Ebert manage small-grant programs for the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops. That also involved Seiler managing a webinar about opportunities for agricultural careers for military veterans. Ebert was committed to a business trip at the time and wouldn’t be available to moderate the webinar. That webinar would be viewed by a large audience of veterans in three states so she provided Seiler “just-in-time training” before leaving for her trip.
“Maggie worked with the information-technology people and coordinators in other states and did a great job,” Ebert said. “I knew she’d be able to handle it.”
Seiler credits 4-H for her organizational skills, which she has put to use for the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation as well as helping with the National Dairy Shrine scholarship program. She also is serving on the planning committee for the 2019 National 4-H Dairy Conference, which will be held at the end of September in Wisconsin.
“Agriculture and the dairy industry are changing at a rapid pace,” Seiler said. “There’s a need for the best and brightest.”
She encourages young women in the industry to find mentors whose careers they admire and to learn as much as they can.
“Find people who can help you be the best version of yourself,” she said.