Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Community over competition

Progressive Dairy Editor Audrey Schmitz Published on 06 November 2020

In a recent blog post, Sarah Beth Aubrey wrote that there are almost a million women working as the lead operators on farms, according to the USDA, and increasingly women are seen taking the helm at the C-suite level (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.) across ag and agribusiness.

She believes this trend will only grow as women earn more ag degrees than men. Between 2011 and 2018, women consistently earned more bachelor and master’s degrees in agriculture and natural science than men year after year.



As more and more women take on leadership roles in the workforce and as part of companies, stereotypes are being shattered. As a result, we are seeing a brand-new type of working woman emerge.

Today’s professional and business-minded women are there to support and empower other women. They are intentional, focused, willing to work and using their talents to advance their careers while helping other women do the same. Most of these women are generous and believe in teamwork in the workplace and helping other women succeed. Because of this, there is more willingness for established working women to reach down and offer support and mentorship to new women coming into the professional world.

Upon starting my full-time career here at Progressive Dairy, my female mentor was Lynn Jaynes. She transitioned her responsibility of planning and executing all the feed and nutrition articles over to me. From corresponding with authors, scheduling content, editing articles and reviewing proofs, she taught me one-on-one and showed me the ropes of how to be an editor. Her expertise and orderliness fascinated me in how she is able to get so many tasks done efficiently, as well as her ability to build and nurture relationships. Not only did she take the time to teach me, but she also took the time to get to know me as a person. In my first months, I recall long chats in her office and a couple of lunch dates.

Having the guidance, encouragement and support of a trusted and experienced mentor can provide a mentee with a broad range of personal and professional benefits, which ultimately lead to improved performance in the working world. One such group that works to connect all women in the dairy industry by encouraging ideas, facilitating mentorships and camaraderie in an effort to achieve personal and professional development is the Dairy Girl Network.

As leaders it is our job to inspire. In this issue of Progressive Dairy, we highlight women who are not only making an impact in their workspace but also in their spare time as well. These women are serving on boards, both in the dairy industry and beyond, to personally impact their communities and shape the future of the dairy industry (Expanding your voice: Women in Dairy panelists share views on board representation). Read how one dairy woman is running her own cattle photography business by day (A day in the life of a dairy cattle photographer), while another is creating thought-provoking podcasts in the evenings (3 Open Minutes with Katharine Lotspeich).


Times are changing, and while there is still a lot of work to be done, it’s a great time to be a female business owner or professional woman. end mark

Audrey Schmitz
  • Audrey Schmitz

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  • Progressive Dairy
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