Shannon McArton accepted this year’s BMO Celebrating Women in Agriculture award last week on behalf of all the farm women who worked without recognition.
“I think about our mothers, our grandmothers, our great-grandmothers, who worked incredibly hard — physical labour, holding the farm together, holding the family together — in a time when respect and opportunity and recognition was a lot harder to gain than it is now,” she said at Canadian Western Agribition held Nov. 19-24 in Regina. “I feel like this award, my acceptance, is sort of on their behalf.”
The Dilke, Sask., grain farmer is a past Agribition president who has her own communications and consulting company and also works on the regulatory side of the pedigreed seed industry. She has owned draft horses and is currently preparing a horse for cow horse competitions.
She said after 30 years of working and volunteering in the industry she is flattered and humbled to be recognized.
“It’s just what you do; you think that’s what everybody does,” she said.
The future of women in agriculture is bright, McArton said. Unprecedented numbers of women are graduating from agricultural colleges, leading companies and taking strong roles.
She also said that she continues to be involved in the education side of the industry because of the disconnect between farmers and consumers.
“I’ve always been passionate because I loved it as a job and as a career but my passion over the last 20 years has really been more about educating those people that don’t really have a chance to even know what a farm is and we can’t expect them to trust and respect what we’re doing unless we tell them what we’re doing,” she said.
This is the second year the award has been presented in conjunction with Agribition.