During a recent luncheon, I found myself sitting at a table surrounded by incredible leaders in the agriculture industry. I listened to them as they talked about ways to improve ag education and how to reach out to the community.

The table was full of trailblazers in the ag industry — and the coolest part? All of them were women.

I was honored to be among such visionaries. Just hearing their ideas inspired me to be a better professional. The icing on the cake was when I saw Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann look around and say, “This is the future of agriculture.”

She was talking to the other leaders at the table, she was talking to policy makers and she was talking to me.

I guess I’d never thought of it before. I get along well with farmers and never felt out of place as a woman in the ag industry.

But as I looked around the room, every other table was full of mostly men in formal suits. The agriculture industry is traditionally dominated by men, and it is obvious when you go to any meeting.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. I just think it is refreshing to see more and more women rising up as leaders.

Women add a splash a color — and I don’t just mean stylewise, although Ellspermann was rocking a bright blue business dress.

We offer new ideas, fresh perspectives. I really think having women involved in the ag industry balances the scene and springs us forward into the future.

All of the people involved in the ag community are inspiring. Their passion, their drive, makes me want to be the best I can be.

Ellspermann probably never will know how one sentence she said affected my life, but I am nonetheless grateful for her inspiration.