A wide range of topics were covered, including an important panel discussion by Rural Support on the difficult topic of succession planning. As Managing Director of NIGTA, I was delighted to be involved with the event and took the opportunity to highlight the wealth of exciting career opportunities available in the agricultural supply business, which are open to everyone. From exciting commodity trading to researching and developing new animal feed products to improve performance, animal health and the environment, there is something for everyone. And it is important to point out that among the members of NIGTA, there are already women who thrive in all these positions and play key roles at all levels within their respective organizations. Moreover, they hold these same positions because they have earned their place and been identified as the best candidate for the role, which is a key principle in gender inclusion. That being said, there is of course room for more talented people, especially at a higher level, which is why events like the Women in Agriculture conference are so valuable.
Providing networking opportunities is key to building contacts and relationships within the industry. As well as hosting an annual dinner, NIGTA hosts quarterly luncheons for members as a means of networking and although these have tended to be male dominated in the past things are changing and it is encouraging to see many more women and young members attend.
At the end of the previous week, I was delighted to be invited to join the judging panel for the ABP Angus Youth Challenge Exhibition 2022, a competition open to high school students from all backgrounds, whether rural or urban. . The excitement was palpable on Judgment Day and it was energizing to see such enthusiasm from the young people, eager to explain the research behind their chosen project. And, significantly, there was an unintentionally equal mix of students participating, demonstrating that the young women of the future are just as interested and engaged in agriculture and agribusiness as their male counterparts.