Members of the ProAg team attending the Women in Agribusiness Summit

The next generation of agriculture professionals is gearing up for college graduation — and they’re hungry for opportunities to learn. ProAg is proud to support these young professionals and recently sponsored two college students as they attended the 2022 Women in Agribusiness Summit in Dallas, Texas. These students, Faith Taunton and JaDee Brumley, were selected for the ProAg Women in Agribusiness Scholarship after applying earlier this year. Let’s get to know the pair and hear more about their experience with the conference, the ProAg team and the other professionals at the event.

Meet Faith Taunton

Faith is a senior studying agricultural education at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia. Involved in FFA, she was inspired to study agriculture by an ag educator at her high school. Her degree will give her the flexibility to explore several agribusiness careers, from sales and marketing to education.

Meet JaDee Brumley

JaDee is a senior studying agricultural business and economics at West Texas A&M University. She was born and raised on her family’s fifth-generation farm and ranch in Texas. With a crop insurance internship under her belt and her mother currently an agent, she is quite familiar with the industry — and interested in it too. JaDee plans to pursue a career in crop insurance to support farmers across generations.

The summit experience

In its 11th year, the Women in Agribusiness Summit is an annual event celebrating the expertise of women in food and agribusiness, focusing on growing new female leaders in agriculture. Over 800 industry professionals from 47 states — and 15 countries — attended the 2022 summit in Dallas to learn from each other and dive into the current opportunities and challenges for the industry. The three-day conference included presentations, industry leader panels and breakout sessions covering a number of topics. At the event, ProAg President and CEO Kendall Jones was recognized with the Demeter Award of Excellence, an honor given to women in agribusiness who have made a significant impact on the industry.

Kendall Jones (middle left) accepting the Demeter Award of Excellence

Faith and JaDee were joined by 14 members of the ProAg team, including Kendall Jones. Throughout the summit, they were free to explore the various sessions and topics to create a well-rounded experience.

“One breakout session that really stood out to me was Voices of North American Farmers. JaDee and I both attended that,” said Faith. “We both thought it was interesting to hear the different perspectives of northern United States farms and from Canada. I thought it was cool the panel brought in people, not just from the U.S., to hear about globally what’s going on.”

A memorable opportunity

As college students, Faith and JaDee are beginning to plan for their futures. Both were excited to connect with and learn from professionals in a variety of agribusiness industries.

“It [the Women in Agribusiness Summit] just showed the amount of opportunity that’s out there in the world. And it was right there at the tip of my fingers,” said JaDee. “There were 30 students who attended, so it was pretty neat that I got to be one of them.”

Both students noted just how welcomed they felt and the positive energy from the ProAg team. They also both expressed gratitude for the time Kendall and the ProAg team spent during the conference with them, attending presentations and answering questions about the industry.

“The ProAg team all took time to connect with us,” JaDee mentioned. “They each individually welcomed us and were open to telling us a little bit about themselves.”

“There were so many different people, from different areas of ProAg and I tried to talk to a little bit of each, just to see all the different elements to it. I learned a lot,” said Faith.

Key insights and takeaways

Both Faith and JaDee felt the conference spoke directly to their passion for agriculture. The students talked about how grateful they were to be selected to attend. When asked about her biggest takeaway from the event, Faith highlighted how conference speakers highlighted the importance of educating consumers.

ProAg student scholarship winners with Kendall Jones (middle)

“[The Women in Agribusiness Summit] hosted a panel of female producers, and one of the key takeaways was around the importance of educating consumers about the industry. Being an education major that just stuck in my mind,” said Faith. “I was like, ‘Yes! That’s exactly what we need to do.’”

JaDee was moved by a story from a ProAg team member who helped her realize all the possibilities of a growing, evolving career.

“One of the ProAg team members, Kim, went to school to become a marine biologist, but then she went into crop insurance,” said JaDee. “It just shows you don’t have to be stuck in one place. You can dip your hand into some different areas and find out what you like.”

As the two prepare for graduation, Faith and JaDee are ready to explore exciting careers in agribusiness. And they’re confident the connections they’ve made with industry leaders and the ProAg team will serve them well.

“If I have questions, I feel fully confident I can reach out and ask the ProAg team members I met,” said JaDee.

Encouraging others to apply

Both Faith and JaDee agreed the opportunity to attend the conference was well worth the time spent on the application. They encouraged other students to apply in the future as the opportunity comes.

“Getting to meet all these successful people from around the world was incredible. I’ve never met people who are so passionate about what they do,” said JaDee. “It can feel scary to go out there by yourself, but it’s one of the best opportunities you’ll get.”

Faith agreed, noting how unique it was to break out of her comfort zone and connect with female industry leaders “all in one big city, under one big roof.”

ProAg will continue to support students like Faith and JaDee in the years to come. Additional scholarship opportunities will be available in 2023. Stay in touch with the ProAg team to be the first to know when the process opens.