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A woman’s place... in agriculture

March 4, 2021
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Taylor Aguilera, Certis USA Regional Manager, Northern California

For many reasons, I have a special place in my heart for women who are part of the agriculture industry. Together over the past decade, we have made great strides in a field where men have ruled for hundreds of years.

In fact, the last Census of Agriculture found that 36 percent of American producers are women (up nearly 5 percent from the last report) and the number of women who are the principal operators on their farms more than doubled (from 13.66 percent in 2012 to a whopping 29.13 percent in 2017).

We all know that women have always been integral on farms across the world. But now, we are stepping into the forefront and leading efforts to feed the world. We are moving to the forefront of agri-business, too.   

As we celebrate Women’s History Month 2021 this year, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our leader at Certis USA. Amy O’Shea joined us from FMC Corporation last year and I asked her a few questions about her career in agriculture and her first year at Certis:

Q: Amy, what has it been like being a woman rising in the ranks of several leading businesses across the nutrition, pharmaceutical and agriculture industries? 

A: I believe that I have had success in the positions that I’ve held through hard work, commitment, collaboration with my teams, dedication and vision, which is not an inherently a female set of skills by any stretch. I was fortunate to work for a company that valued diversity across all levels of their corporate structure.

Q: What changes do you see in the future for women in the agriculture industry?

A: It is increasingly becoming more commonplace in agriculture for diversity of gender, diversity of race and diversity of backgrounds to be embraced. This shift contributes to a diversity of thought and perspective across an organization leading to stronger decision-making teams. Companies with diverse workforces often outperform companies that do not. A Gartner study predicts that through 2022, 75 percent of companies with diverse and inclusive decision-making teams will exceed their financial targets. Employees who work in a diverse organization are exposed to new ideas, different cultures, and different traditions. As a direct result of this, they tend to become more empathetic, which improves relations among coworkers. It can also change how your employees interact with clients and customers.

We all know that women have long been the backbones of many farming operations across the world, but it has often been in behind-the-scenes roles. Increasingly, as you’ve pointed out, women are coming more to the forefront in their leadership. I believe all of these factors will be a catalyst for even more growth for women in agriculture leadership roles.

Q: How has it felt coming into leadership of Certis at a time of such growth both in our organization and in the biologicals market in general?

A: As a leading manufacturer and distributor of biological solutions, Certis has been key in growing the industry for more than 20 years, but this year has been unique. I have felt like I was dropped into the middle of a marathon sprint and I’ve been running quickly alongside this amazing team at Certis to continue bringing breakthrough technologies to an industry that is undergoing great change. Right now, we are working on parallel paths within Certis to meet the growing demand for our portfolio of solutions and to innovate and find new solutions for the issues that growers will be facing in the future. From the top to the bottom, our people are what makes Certis strong and uniquely able to rise to the challenges of both of these missions. I am proud to say that our team members are valued as individuals, for who they are and the unique skills they bring to our team.

Q: How will you be celebrating Women’s History Month 2021 this year? 

A: I do love all of the ways that the digital world and social media have given us outlets to celebrate the uniqueness of who we are as a nation and as a world. I always use the various movements as a time to concentrate my focus and pay tribute to the group or people that we are honoring. This month at Certis we will be honoring women who have made an impact on agriculture across all our social media channels and we will be thanking the amazing women who help us achieve our mission at Certis by working hard for our customers every day. Personally, these are always times as a mother that I can have meaningful conversations with all my children about the many people who have paved the paths that that they walk now. 

I hope you’ll join me in thanking Amy for sharing her insight as we celebrate Women’s History Month at Certis. Please take time this month to visit our various social media channels and see the amazing women we are featuring and all of the work they have done and are doing to move agriculture forward.

If you want to drop me a line and let me know how you are celebrating Women’s History Month, I’d love to hear from you at asktheexpert@certisusa.com. And that email is always open for you to reach out to any of us with questions about your orchards, pests and diseases you see and how our portfolio of biological solutions can help!

This series is part of a partnership with Tree Nut Farm Press. You can read the original here.

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