CFB Women Train at AFBF Bootcamp


Brenda Siefken recieves her diploma from Bootcamp.

By Brenda Siefken, Boulder County Farm Bureau

For the past few years AFBF has been training interested women to be spokespeople for agriculture. This year I was honored to be one of the attendees from Colorado for the AFBF Women’s Communications Bootcamp.

We arrived in DC and traveled to a welcome reception attended by most of the other participants from around the U.S., and the AFBF Women’s Committee members.  At the reception we reviewed our agenda and discussed the details of the coming week.

All of the attendees had selected a subject from a short list of hot topics for our association. Many of the participants chose animal care, environmental policies, the clean water act, International trade or the need for broadband in the rural areas.  We were all given the position statements for our topics from the Farm Bureau. Even the participants who selected the same topics had a unique perspective and presentation. Those perspectives were definitely grounded in personal experiences, all of which were beneficial in helping tell the story of agriculture.

After our initial presentations we had individual critiques with AFBF staff members to help us fine tune our message and its delivery. Then the staff did a great job of providing key tips to help us be more effective communicators in speeches, radio, TV and print interviews.

The areas that were the most enlightening for me were the process of analyzing a candidate for elected office and testifying before a committee. I may never be called on to testify or run for a political office, but I will look at the process differently and be better prepared if the opportunity does present itself.

After being armed with all of our communication tools, we selected the situation for our individual presentation.  Each of us had the chance to draw a speech, testifying before a committee or performing a TV interview.  I was lucky, (or unlucky, depending on your perspective), to draw the public speech. My topic for the week was estate tax reform. I was successful in refining my skills enough to keep the audience awake and provide them with a small level of entertainment as well.

The week was successful on a number of levels. I believe one of the top benefits of the training was making those connections with other farm women from throughout the nation to contact for information, ideas and a new perspective.

This fall I plan to use the skills I gained to talk with teachers in the Adams 12 school district about Ag in the Classroom and at the National Western Stock Show visiting with parents, teachers and students about Colorado agriculture.

I would challenge any farm woman who wants to learn how to better communicate with their legislator, or at any level in their community to apply for the 2010 AFBF Women’s Communication Boot camp. The investment of time will be more than repaid if we can tell the story of our fellow farmers and ranchers.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Amber Clay on August 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Brenda did an amazing job and on taxes no less! It also should be noted that she presented her final exam without any notes to refer to and she was the only one able to do that. very brave girl and we were all very impressed! Good job Brenda!


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