Niagara Falls (Rural Roots Canada) – There are many male-dominated areas within the agriculture sector, including plant breeding. Jodi Souter is taking steps to change that while inspiring other women in agriculture at the same time.

The president of J4 Agri-Science Ltd., a farmer, and a Nuffield Scholar, Souter is scheduled to speak at this year’s AWC East 2023 conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in a presentation titled “Navigating a Field of Barriers.”

The dynamic plant breeder grew up on her family’s mixed, rural farm in Saskatchewan, completed graduate school and worked as a contract plant breeder. Her passion for plant breeding, coupled with the fact there were so few private breeding companies in Canada, prompted her to take on the challenge of establishing her own plant breeding company.

Having previously given a talk about her experience making the entrepreneurial leap at the AWC West conference earlier this year, Souter says she’s excited to be back. 

“It’s a great opportunity. There are lots of issues facing women in agriculture, so if we can get into the room and discuss those, it’s great. And it’s a great networking event.”

READ MORE: AWC East 2023 – Cultivating Mental Wellness in Agriculture

As a woman in agriculture in a field predominated by men, walking onto the stage to see so many women was inspiring and a bit overwhelming. 

“I’m still in an area of agriculture that is largely male-dominated, so I usually walk into a room, and I’ll be the only woman, or there will only be a couple of women, in the room, so walking in was a bit overwhelming.”

But the energy of the crowd and the multiple networking opportunities it affords make it an event she believes everyone should be attending. 

“Just come to the conference. It’s such a diverse crowd. You’ll find everybody – agriculture lawyers, accountants, HR people, primary producers, and scientists. It’s pretty much somebody from every discipline. So, you’re learning a lot from each other but also making connections in the entirety of the industry.”

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Souter’s story is one of determination, entrepreneurial spirit, and fearlessness, something attendees at the conference will be able to experience first-hand. She’s navigating the field of barriers while forging a path for other women to follow, where anybody with a passion for agriculture can find a place at the table.

To learn more about the event, click here