Ashley Kuhler, a Shenandoah County communications specialist, was among 15 agricultural leaders to graduate from American Farm Bureau Federation’s
Women’s Communications Boot Camp on April 6 in Washington.
The intensive four-day course featured hands-on sessions related to public speaking, working with media and messaging. Program graduates will use their training to participate in local media opportunities to strategically support Farm Bureau’s policy work, share information with elected officials and join social media campaigns that spotlight modern agriculture.
Kuhler said the program “exceeded expectations.” She most enjoyed meeting women from all over the country who shared her passion for agriculture—an interest she “picked up naturally” along with communications.
“I loved learning the stories of these women who are clearly the glue that holds many things together in their businesses and states,” she said.
“After this program, I have grown my confidence in speaking up for how I can advocate and help our Farm Bureau programs and farmers,” Kuhler added. “I also have learned the importance of empowering other women in agriculture, even if they are not farmers themselves but work in our industry.”
Kuhler is a community and content specialist at Farmer Focus, formerly Shenandoah Valley Organic. The company is a partner-owned collective formed to promote and protect generational family farming while providing healthy, sustainable food. She previously served as a communications intern at Virginia Tech.
Along withher communications endeavors, Kuhler taught agriculture at Shenandoah County Public Schools, served as Virginia FFA state president, and currently participates in the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers program
. She cohosts Virginia’s Young Farmers Podcast
with Morgan Slaven, a generational farmer.
The AFBF Women’s Communications Boot Camp is in its 18th year and boasts 269 graduates. It is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau.
“AFBF is proud to offer this training twice each year, which affords women farmers and ranchers the opportunity to develop their agriculture advocacy skills,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “I applaud our graduates as they strive to increase their engagement with both consumers and elected officials while also exploring new leadership roles.”
The AFB Women’s Leadership Committee, in partnership with AFBF staff, runs the Women’s Communications Boot Camp. A fall session will be held Oct. 16-19, with applications opening in June.
With 133,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry. For more news and information visit vafb.com/newsroom
Contact Pam Wiley
, vice president of communications, at 804-291-6315.