How has it been one week already?
After months of preparation, hours of meetings and planning, the second edition of the Women in Ag Awards took place at Agritechnica last Wednesday. For me, it was the conclusion of my very first presence at the world’s biggest agriculture machinery fair. The end of five very interesting, but also intensive days in Hannover.
As I stood there at the DLG booth in hall 24, two hours early because this control freak needs to see the stage well beforehand and have some time to mentally prepare for public appearances, the timeline of the passed two and a half years flashed through my nervous mind. What a road it has been since March 8 2021, the International Women’s Day that saw the birth of Women in Ag Magazine. From the challenge I threw at my partner a few years ago – he wanted to start a publishing house for agricultural magazines? I wanted a magazine just for women – to being contacted by the German agricultural association DLG to see what we could do together to support the women in our industry, and now this second edition of the Women in Ag Awards with more than 130 entries… it’s been a ride. We could not have been prouder when the DLG let us know they believe in us and wanted to give this movement a little push.
It hasn’t been easy, starting this huge project to build a global community for women in agriculture, between just the two of us. We have sacrificed our pays, our savings and our peace of mind at times for this, our passion project. Lockdown oblige, the greater part of our work was done from home at first. We didn’t get to meet all these amazing women from around the world we interviewed. That has always been the one thing I regret, because I live for the stories of strength and resilience I get to bring with Women in Ag and I would love to visit each and every farm, every project, every manufacturer and the amazing women who work there.
So to meet someone like Sheila Zulu, who was one of my first interviewees and a Women in Ag supporter from the start, at last and get a big, heartfelt, parting hug as we prepared to head back to Brussels; to tell a woman her hair looked so cool and learning she was Anna-Maria Nuñez Vega, the kickass engineer who won the Agribusiness category; to get escorted to an meeting room at the New Holland booth to interview Kate Hoare, who won the Farmer category; to have Alfiya Kayumova, winner of the Technology and Research category, walk over for a warm chat; to tease Judith De Vor (third place, Farmer) about coming to the upcoming Belgian fair Agribex; to get a supportive pat on the shoulder from EuroTier Project Manager Ines Rathke or a compliment on my outfit from DLG CEO Freya von Czettritz,… to be able to – to put in the way Sheila so beautifully described it – connect with all these women I look up exceeded everything I dared dream. I’m a little bit scared that I forgot to name some of the people I talked to that night as it is a bit of a blur, but please know that if I talked to you, it was my privilege. To me, meeting you all, women AND men supportive of the Women in Ag movement, was truly the highlight of my year and the reward for the passion, perseverance and faith we put into this project of ours.
I hope I get to hug, encourage, compliment and support many, many more of these extraordinary women who work in agriculture over the next years; I wish I get to see the ones I already connected with at Agritechnica soon and most of all, I dream of a bustling global network of and for women in agriculture where we can all learn from each other, empower each other and cheer each other on. Because I firmly believe that agriculture will be the better for some extra girl power.
I hope you enjoy these highlights of the Women in Ag Award ceremony.