More than half (51%) of all farming operations in the United States have at least one female operator, according to the 2019 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).
“We’re not always the tag-along,” said Emily Mullen, owner and operator of Mullen Dairy and Creamery and longtime FSR attendee.
“My first experience at FSR was actually a super big deal because I got to play hooky from school for the day and hang out with my dad,” said Mullen. “To be thrown together with a group of people that shared the same passion as I had made me feel like I was part of a community.”
Like other farmers, Mullen has to think outside the box to keep her family’s fourth-generation dairy farm going.
“One thing I noticed as I looked at the generations of past family members is that I had to farm differently in order to maintain a place in this industry,” Mullen said. “My way of diversifying the cash flow for our family’s farm was to implement the creamery.”
Something that sets the Mullen Dairy and Creamery apart from other creameries is the 25 flavor offerings for fluid milk. The flavors range from banana, cotton candy and cookies and cream, to chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
For many, including women in agriculture, attending FSR is an opportunity for business-minded individuals to come together with other pros in the industry.
“It’s super important that we get together to discuss our new findings, new things we have implemented on our farm and bounce ideas off of each other,” Mullen said.
Staying connected is one of the many reasons Mullen comes to the show year-after-year.
“As a dairy farmer, I love to go to the Prenger’s booth and hang out with them because some of them are not on my regular service route and I don’t see them regularly,” Mullen said. “It’s important to maintain those relationships because you never know when you’re going to need to call a friend and ask a question.”
Just like her dad brought her, Mullen is making it a tradition to bring the next generation along for the day.
“I will bring my two nephews,” Mullen said. “It’s their day to play hooky now and it’s a special day with their aunt.”
One woman, in particular, holds a significant place in FSR history. Marie (Molly) Brown Caren’s gift to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in 1982 spurred the move of the show from Don Scott Airport in Columbus to the newly-minted Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London.
“Molly Caren’s commitment to agricultural innovation and her desire to preserve her family’s farm for agricultural use gave FSR the resources needed to remain relevant in the past, present and future,” said Nick Zachrich, FSR manager. “Carrying out Molly’s vision for this land will always be at the forefront of what we do here.”
FSR will offer a variety of sessions geared toward women in agriculture as well as opportunities to stock up on agricultural-themed apparel at this year’s show, Sept. 19-21.
Ohio Women in Ag Learning Network
Presentations at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.
Wednesday, Sept. 20
- PPE for Women and Kids, 10:30 a.m., Ag Safety Area
- Family, Life and Mental Health on the Farm, 2 p.m., 389 Friday Ave.
Thursday, Sept. 21
- Women in Agriculture, 10:30 a.m., corner of Equipment Avenue and Beef Street
- Women Working and Living with Livestock by Ohio Cattlewomen, 2 p.m., 1275 Friday Ave.