Patty Lange Fischer, president of the Decatur County Farm Bureau, was among the 15 farm and ranch women recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation as graduates of the organization’s 12th annual Women’s Communications Boot Camp.
The intensive three-day course completed by the agricultural leaders included hands-on sessions on public speaking, working with the media and messaging. The idea, Lange Fischer said, was to encourage the women to think beyond different types of media and learn how to tell their story, and agriculture’s story, in a compelling way.
“Even though I have years of experience in various methods of communication, I felt it was important for me to improve. I wanted to ‘up my game’ on communication skills,” Lange Fischer said. “What I found in the experience was much more than a training session in multimedia. Boot Camp was rigorous! It took all of us, myself included, out of our comfort zone and pushed us to condense our story for maximum impact.”
The women were trained in radio, written news, and mock live TV interviews, including a session in which they were grilled with the type of questions that might come from a hostile audience, she explained.
“When we received our Boot Camp graduation certificates, we all felt we had accomplished something worthwhile,” she added.
The AFB Women’s Leadership Committee, in partnership with AFBF staff, hosts and provides training for the Women’s Communications Boot Camp. This the 12th year of the program, which has more than 180 graduates and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau. An application process is used to select the participants.
“The most valuable part of Boot Camp for me was meeting the most incredibly strong women from across the U.S. who farm in so many different capacities and have such a passion for agriculture,” Lange Fischer said. “It may have been four days on the calendar, but when you’ve gone through something as rigorous as this and you know these other women (and Farm Bureau staff) are cheering you on, a strong bond of friendship is formed that has immeasurable value.
“We have to get our story out. We live it, it’s our responsibility to tell it,” she added.”