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Agri-Women promotes ag, looks for members

Eleanor Peterson

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — In the fall of 2015, Eleanor Peterson attended the annual Harvest of Knowledge in Grand Forks where she joined the Minnesota Agri-Women and its national parent, American Agri-Women.

She was back in Grand Forks on Oct. 26 at this year’s Harvest of Knowledge, this time as president of Minnesota Agri-Women. And she’s more certain than ever that the organization can be a good fit for women interested in agriculture.

“There’s education, research and leadership, for anybody who’s connected to agriculture,” Peterson said. “We really are for any woman involved in ag.”

About 160 people, ranging in age from 15 to 101, attended this year’s 36th annual Harvest of Knowledge, hosted by Minnesota Agri-Women and North Dakota Agri-Women. The annual educational event covered a wide range of topics, including communicating with the public and countering false and misleading information about agriculture.

The North Dakota and Minnesota organizations belong to American Agri-Women, which has more than 40,000 individual members. The nation's largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women,  it has more than 50 state, commodity and agribusiness affiliate organizations throughout the country and has advocated for agriculture since it was established in 1974.

Members include farmers and ranchers, as well as women involved in other aspects of agriculture such as agronomy and bookkeeping.

The North Dakota group has about 90 members, a number that’s growing, said Jenna Kyllo, of Larimore, N.D., president of North Dakota Agri-Women and a 2018 Harvest of Knowledge attendee.

The Minnesota group has about 60 chapters. Attracting more young women is a goal, Peterson says.

“Jenna and I have talked about this. We’re trying to figure out how can get that youth to get involved,” Peterson said.

Peterson, a Warren, Minn., native, and her husband, Dean, operate their family farming operation, South Line Farms, near Warren, along with their son, Derek, who is married and has twin daughters. Eleanor and Dean also have a daughter.

South Line Farms raises sugar beets, wheat, soybeans and corn.

Though many Agri-Women members are directly involved in production agriculture, the organization is active in other ways, too, including involvement in legislative and regulatory issues at the local, state and national levels and in student and consumer education.

“There are just so many ways this organization works to strengthen agriculture,” Kyllo said.

The 2019 Harvest of Knowledge will be held Oct. 24 at the Ramada Inn in Grand Forks.

More information on Minnesota: Agri-Women: www.facebook.com/Minnesota-Agri-Women-167575739963821/.

More information on North Dakota Agri-Women: www.facebook.com/NorthDakotaAgriWomen/.

More information on American Agri-Women: https://americanagriwomen.org/. The group will hold its national year convention Nov. 14-18 in Springfield, Ill.

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