Poised for the future: 4 women to lead Wilmot Ag Society in 2018

The new executive of the Wilmot Agricultural Society — which, among other things, plans the New Hamburg Fall Fair each year — is made up of all women this year, which is believed to be the first time ever.

"It’s kind of a neat way to look at it and say, 'Hey, agriculture’s come a long way’"

The Wilmot Agricultural Society executive for 2018 is (from left) vice president Christine Snider, president Stephanie Szusz, treasurer Leann Taylor and secretary Jill Shantz. (Stephanie Schwemler/Wilmot Agricultural Society)

Proud of the past, poised for the future — that's this year's theme for the New Hamburg Fall Fair.

It's fitting then that, for what's believed to be the first time in the Wilmot Agricultural Society's history, the executive is made up of all women.

"Times have changed," new president Stephanie Szusz said. "You wouldn't have found that 50 years ago.

"I think that you will find that more and more now, but it's kind of a neat way to look at it and say, 'Hey, agriculture's come a long way.' And even just to look at our tiny little agricultural society to have all these women who are on the executive, it just points to that."

The four-woman executive was named during a society meeting last month.

Szusz said it wasn't planned and when a male member of the society pointed out they were all women, "I just thought, 'This is kind of cool.'"

'Oh, is your husband here?'

She said she knows women still run up against farming stereotypes daily and she hears about experiences in an Facebook group she's part of: the Agriculture Women's Network.

"You know, a salesperson will come to see a farmer and meet the wife and say, 'Oh, is your husband here?' assuming that they can't talk to her about the business when often, these days, you can," she said.

As for the theme of this year's fair — which runs Sept. 13 to 16 — Szusz said they have two focuses.

The first is changes in agriculture itself - looking at the way things have changed from when horses would pull the ploughs to the equipment and technology used today.

But the second is on the agricultural society itself.

"To say this is what the agriculture society used to do in the past. We're very proud of it, this is who we are, this is what we're founded on," she said.

"But we're certainly an organization that wants to be able to change and keep up with the times so that we are poised for the future, that we can continue being part of our community and adding value and, yeah, being around."


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