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Uniting Women in Ag Across the Country

A podcast by North American Ag (reprinted with permission), April 23, 2024


North American Ag, which is devoted to highlighting – via daily ag news and weekly podcasts – the people and companies in agriculture who impact the industry and help feed the world, recently sat down with Rose Tyron, the president of American Agri-Women (AAW). In the podcast, Tyron speaks to North American Ag host Chrissy Wozniak about the goals for her term, news about the annual 2024 AAW Fly-In on June 2-4 in Washington, D.C., the group’s Road to Influence Leadership Program, and much more.


Tyron, who was named AAW president in November 2023, has been active in the organization since 2011, having served six years on the board of directors and several years as AAW’s natural resources co-director. She was a recipient of AAW’s LEAVEN award in 2022. This award, which is the highest honor bestowed by AAW, recognizes those persons who, to an extraordinary degree, have acted as “leaven,” – as in “leaven” (yeast), a small element that can interact and influence everything around it.

 

Previously Tyron was the 25th state president of California Women for Agriculture (CWA), and a district attorney investigator, respectively. She also is very involved in her local town government.

 

A fifth-generation farmer who grew up on a beef, dairy, and potato ranch, Tyron and her husband, Michael VanCott, are currently actively involved in operating her family farm in Del Norte County, California.


Here are some excerpts from the “United Women in Ag Across America” podcast featuring Tyron. Listen to it in its entirety here.


Chrissy Wozniak [CW]: I would like to welcome Rose Tryon, president of American Agri-Women. I really look forward to the conversation. I also should mention that you're a good friend of mine. Rose is a wonderful individual with a rich background deeply rooted in farming, law enforcement, and community service. Her journey reflects a deep connection to agriculture as a fifth-generation farmer.

 

Rose Tyron [RT]: Thank you, Chrissy. It's an absolute pleasure to be on your podcast. You have done such an incredible job sharing agriculture with so many people online.

 

[CW]: Let's start with your background. Tell me how you grew up in the industry and about your very diverse background.

 

[RT]: I was raised on a 560-acre beef-dairy-potato ranch in Northwestern California in Del Norte County. My mom's family were Portuguese immigrants. My grandfather immigrated from Portugal. He was a dairyman in Del Norte County and probably one of the first non-native born dairymen to own land in that county.

 

The piece of property that I currently farm has been in my family since 1883, which is quite a legacy. I grew up on the farm. My dad and I had a farm together for years. That’s how I got involved in California Movement for Agriculture. The local dairymen, along with my father, formed one of the first milk processing facilities in Del Norte County. It was called Parkside Dairy.

 

Later in life, I got to know the women from California, Women for Agriculture, and all of a sudden, I realized that we had this group of women who were very much like-minded – they wanted to preserve agriculture and make sure that their farms and ranches would be left for their children. So I started becoming more involved in California Women for Agriculture, initially at the chapter level then at the state level. I eventually became the state president of California Women for Agriculture, and I also started meeting people from all over the country through American Agri-Women. They taught me the importance of agriculture policy and how much policy really affects farmers. Now I have these women all over the country who are ‘my people’ – they’re part of my herd, my tribe, if you will.

 

I also realized I had a passion for helping people so I went to work for the Department of Social Services as a juvenile probation officer. Ultimately, I ended up putting myself through the police academy, and eventually became a district attorney investigator where I specialized in sexual assault and child abuse investigations and did a lot of advanced training in forensic interviewing. I was the one who created a safe space for children who are victims of crimes to be able to tell their story.

 

[CW]: You have had some adversity that really turned you into a very resilient woman. You survived the Paradise California Fire a few years back. Tell us about that experience.

 

[RT]: I think everybody knows that in November of 2018, there was a forest fire in Northern California’s Butte County [ignited by a faulty electric transmission line]. It started around 7 a.m. and by noon our town of Paradise was pretty much gone. I was able to grab the dogs and some clothes and just got out. We had to completely rebuild our home. The community really pulled together and has rebuilt more than 2,000 homes. It’s quite the story of resiliency, but unfortunately, we lost 86 people in that fire.

 

[CW]: Let's switch gears to your term as American Agri-Women president. I know we've already started doing things, but tell me, what are your plans and where are we going under your leadership?

 

[RT]: We have a great team. I don't know if your audience knows it, but you serve as vice president of communications for American Agri-Women, which I am so incredibly grateful for.

 

I have all these ideas about rebuilding our infrastructure and updating our membership and communications platform. We really hit the ground running.

 

One of the things that American Agri-Women does well is that we focus on policy. And I think especially during these last couple of years, it's really shown just how quickly bad policy can affect agriculture and make it difficult for farmers to continue to be profitable and to grow food for the world. It's perfect timing for us to refocus on policy, which brings me to our annual Legislative Fly-In. For this year we have been busy coordinating, through our Road to Influence Leadership Program, an expanded version of the event, opening it up to all women involved in ag and natural resources. This will give them a voice to speak to their legislators, agencies, and other professionals in D.C.

 

It is a meeting for women from all over the country, all different walks of life. Some farmers, some not farmers, some in agribusiness, some in banking, some are consumers who care about agriculture. And we develop and review line-by-line our position statements at that meeting.

 

And at the end of that meeting, we examine, develop, and vote on our new policies. We have subject matter experts within our group. We also reach out to other groups to get their input and we start to develop our white papers. Most of the time we develop them on a specific bill that's coming up, either a bill that we agree with or a bill that we disagree with.

 

During our Fly-In, we do a debrief on all our white papers so that everybody has a full understanding of where we're going and what we're presenting for the cycle. We also meet with government and regulatory agencies, like the EPA, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, you name it. And then the last day that we're there, we meet with our local representatives.

 

I think it’s really important that women’s voices are heard. AAW was started by a group of women, and the purpose behind it was to be able to talk on behalf of agriculture. That’s what we've done, that is our foundation, that is our base – to have our voices be heard.


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Listen here to learn more about the group’s top priorities – from labor to trade to supply chain issues. And don't miss meeting North American Ag host Chrissy Wozniak, who will attend the WIA Summit 2024 in Denver in October. WIA is grateful for their partnership, as well as that of American Agri-Women. See our full list of partners here.

 

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