A young woman on a farm in agriculture leadership.

Being a Woman Leader in the Agriculture Industry

As the number of people in agriculture grows smaller but the footprint to feed grows larger, it is imperative that people put themselves out there by participating in leadership roles. People like Sue Tronchetti. She wears a number of hats, including FarmHer, small business owner, and leader on many boards in the agriculture industry. While the roles she plays are not the roles we see in everyday production agriculture, they are still important.

Two women on agriculture leader boards sitting at a desk discussing.

A Born Agriculture Leader

Agriculture has always been a part of Sue’s life. She grew up on a cow and corn operation in Iowa, taking part in 4-H in her youth. From there, she graduated from Iowa State University in Ag Business and Farm Management. She met her husband there and now helps grow their farm.

But for farm wives, location plays a major role in career opportunities. Moving back to a rural part of Iowa, Sue started hunting for a job that fit her lifestyle and dreams. She started knocking on doors to find that.

Her first professional role was a grain merchandiser. The exciting pace and personal relationship with farmers in the area immediately drew her in.

A Small Business That Led to Board Opportunities

After pausing her professional life for a few moments with her children, she opened her own Pioneer Seed business. Becoming a leader in her own space and constantly improving was very important to her. Because of her business, she found herself on her first board.

Once she became a community leader, the opportunity to be on more started to pop up everywhere. In fact, on some, she was the first woman to step foot on that board.

A woman with a silver ring and black shirt holding an ear of corn.

Tips for Becoming a Community Leader

For Sue there is a lot of juggling to excel in all of her hats but these 4 tips for becoming a community leader specifically help her through it all:

  1. Ask! Start raising your hand to be on boards and a leader in your community.
  2. Surround yourself with supportive people! Without a supportive family and co-workers, the balance is nearly impossible. Keep in mind you are setting an example for those people by being a leader.
  3. Learn as much as you can! You never know what you will learn for your farm or business by stepping onto a board you may not have as much knowledge about.
  4. Find mentors! Having someone you can relate to and look up to influences you to be a better person.

Nationwide Board Council

One board in particular has been extremely beneficial for her: Nationwide Board Council.

The Nationwide Board Council is an honorary council that consists of board chairs throughout the United States. Its exposure to diverse thoughts and people is something Sue treasures. She also thinks Nationwide does a great job of showing how successful corporation culture should work and creating conversations around many topics they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to learn about.

A Woman Leading In Agriculture Everyday

For Sue, the most important part of being a leader isn’t the prestigious boards she’s been a part of, but paving the way for other women to become a future leader in the agriculture industry.

And I believe she is definitely doing just that!

Marji Guyler-Alaniz wearing an Iowa Strong tee shirt flexing her muscles.

Everybody Eats 

Find More Stories at Everybody Eats

We all eat, and that is why farming will always matter.  Everybody Eats is where the stories of food and farming intersect.  

These stories told through my FarmHer lens connect us to our food and more importantly, the people behind it.  

Everybody Eats is a collection of stories of those who protect our rural communities, who grow our food with extraordinary care, and who provide support, education, and assistance to make sure Everybody Eats. 

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