We have a lot to celebrate this month at Fox Valley Technical College. March is Women’s History Month. Today, March 23, is National Ag Day. When I take a moment to reflect on both of these distinctions, my mind gravitates toward remarkable data coming from our College’s Agriculture department and what the future looks like for women entering this traditionally male-oriented field.
Over the past three years, we have seen a steady increase in the number of female students enrolling in our Ag-related programs. In 2018-19, 26% of our students were female. This year the number of female students has jumped to 54%.
One reason why we see this growth is because we added a veterinary technician program, which is traditionally a female dominated field. However, Agribusiness department chair Dr. Lori Nagel says growth in the Agribusiness area can also be attributed to the female role models we see in agriculture today.
Dr. Nagel points out that women have been able to enter several of the animal care fields, such as Dairy Herd Management and Large Animal Veterinarian, due to advancements in animal handling facilities and animal care practices. What were once considered physical barriers for many women, are no longer standard practices. Advances in technology have also opened the agriculture field to a broader population beyond just those who grew up on a farm.
Agriculture continues to be an important sector in Wisconsin, contributing $104.8 billion annually to our state’s economy and 437,700 jobs. FVTC is proud to educate and train many of those who will enter and continue to develop this essential segment of the workforce, male and female alike.