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Source: Paulsen news release

The gender breakdown in today's agribusiness industry leadership still doesn't reflect the 31 percent of women farmers in the U.S. However, talented women have still risen to the top across the industry.

Sara Steever, host of the Spark: Women in Agribusiness podcast series and president of Paulsen, has interviewed more than 25 women so far for the podcast, and believes their drive, intelligence and experiences can inspire the next generation of women coming up in agribusiness.

"Our agriculture and food systems will be making incredible innovations and solving tremendous problems in the years ahead," says Steever. "We're going to need smart women and men with a variety of different backgrounds and life experiences to lead us into the future."

Clara Jacob, creative director for Paulsen, has written a thought paper outlining key takeaways and some of the best anecdotes from the Spark: Women in Agribusiness podcast series to date, called "For Women Only: How to Get Ahead in Agribusiness."

What can women do to get ahead in agribusiness? The first step is finding a segment of the agriculture industry that you're passionate about.

"I don't see any other area that requires all of that expertise and also gives you the opportunity to work in such a variety of fields. You're not going to get bored. There's always going to be something new, and that's why I see agriculture as absolutely the best field to possibly be in," says Linda Radson, principal of the Radson Company.

The agriculture industry has a plethora of opportunities available for those who are willing to work hard, be open-minded and find a mentor.

"You can learn and watch how they function within their position, and how they think, and how they articulate their ideas, and their ability to vision," says Karla Trautman, South Dakota State University Extension interim director. "She [her mentor] was an incredible visionary. She really could see things coming on the horizon and how do you position yourself to be on the front end of situations or opportunities and be on the front end of leading change versus responding to change."

Another key to success is to not let any barriers get in your way-even if they're the mental kind.

"My father said, 'Of course you can do that and of course you can compete and succeed,' in a field of agriculture where early in my life and even today, a lot of men are in leading positions... It never occurred to me that I couldn't succeed as a young woman or an older woman today," says Wendy Pinkerton, senior manager, U.S. industry relations, Zoetis.

These quotes are just a taste of the career advice and insight included in the thought paper.

For more takeaways, you can read the entire thought paper here.

Subscribe to Spark: Women in Agribusiness on iTunes and Stitcher, or listen here.

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