Scotiabank hosts Women in Agriculture event highlighting local female entrepreneurs

Above, Women in Agriculture event panelists (left to right), Erin Leduc, Diana Fisher, Meghan MacPherson, and Pam Westervelt. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Kelsey Smith
Nation Valley News

WINCHESTER — Agriculture has always been a male-driven industry; Scotiabank and local women want to change the perspective. 

On Wednesday, February 12, Scotiabank held a Women in Agriculture networking lunch at Winchelsea Events in Winchester. Local women in agriculture were invited to enjoy the company of others and learn about the struggles and successes of other women in the business. 

The event centred around a panel of four women who are part of the agri-business in very different ways. 

The panel was posed questions by emcee and District 11 OFA Director, Jackie Kelly-Pemberton.

The panelists included; ‘The Accidental Farmwife’ author Diana Fisher of Oxford Mills, Meghan MacPherson, Director of the National Credit Unit, co-partner of a family farm in Brinston, Pam Westervelt, and Erin Leduc, partner of her family-owned business Wanna Make It Farm in Moose Creek. 

The women sat side-by-side at the head table facing the 80-plus crowd of ladies.

Things were a bit different from what Pam Westervelt had envisioned when approached with the idea.

“When I was told I would be part of a panel, I pictured sitting on a big black leather chair speaking to a crowd of 25, like I was on The View or something,” she joked. 

Special Guest, Dianne Harkin, author of They Said We Couldn’t Do It, stood up and said a few words about her memoir and her life as a farmer’s wife. 

Harkin is known for her incredible sense of humour, determination, and outspokenness. 

“I’m old as dirt,” is how Harkin commenced her recollections of her years spent on the farm and as a woman growing up during a very different time. 

One of the most memorable stories she told was when she attempted to apply for her very first credit card.

After speaking with several banks and being turned down simply because she “didn’t have a real job” and she was only a “farmer’s wife” she walked into Scotiabank and spoke with the manager.

The manager told her by the look on her face he knew she would not take no for an answer. 

She told him, “You got that right!”

It has taken women like Dianne Harkin to pave the way for today’s women in agriculture. Feminists like Harkin have made it possible for women like Diana Fisher, Meghan MacPherson, Pam Westervelt, and Erin Leduc to live their dreams as women and as entrepreneurs. 

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