Event showcases women in agriculture

By Kayne Pyatt, Herald Reporter
Posted 3/26/24

EVANSTON — The Uinta County Extension and Utah State University Extension hosted a free event in Evanston on Friday, March 8, in the Beeman-Cashin building. The event, held in conjunction with …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Event showcases women in agriculture


EVANSTON — The Uinta County Extension and Utah State University Extension hosted a free event in Evanston on Friday, March 8, in the Beeman-Cashin building. The event, held in conjunction with Women’s History Month, celebrated women’s involvement in the agricultural industry and provided an opportunity for women to gather with like-minded women in the same field.

Three speakers at the event talked about their personal experience working in agriculture. The speakers were FFA (Future Farmers of America) advisor and rancher Malinda Broadbent, Utah State University Extension educator and rancher Katelyn Barsnick and sheepherder and writer Marie McClaren.

Uinta County Extension agriculture and natural resources educator McKenna Julian, who organized the event, thanked the large crowd of men and women for coming and reminded them to partake of the free meal.

“We hope that the presenters ... and by allowing this group just to get together, (we) will help build relationships amongst women and inspire individuals to be very active in all aspects of ag,” Julian said.

Broadbent was raised on a sheep ranch in Spanish Fork, Utah, and was active as a youth in 4-H. She raised and showed ewes and rams at the Utah State Fair and in California.

She is now married to Lott Broadbent, lives on a huge cattle ranch, is an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.

“I did not grow up with cattle, but Lott and our neighbors have been teaching me,” Broadbent said. “I met Lott when I attended Sheep Days sponsored by the Broadbent ranch in Wyoming. I love what I do and I want to pass it on.”

As an educator of youth, Broadbent said it is important to tell young people why you love what you do. She said a lot of youth hear their grandparents and fathers speak negative about agriculture and the hard work it is, so they decide to choose to do something else.

In her work as an educator of youth, Broadbent focuses on teaching leadership skills. She also offers a supervised agriculture work-based learning experience. The youth are given agricultural problems and work in groups to find solutions. She said it is amazing the solutions the youth come up with.

Broadbent showed photos of four women who have inspired and influenced her. The first woman was her mother who grew up on a cattle and sheep ranch and was a strong role model for her children. The second woman that influenced Broadbent was Ms. Liddiard, her ag teacher in high school who supported and helped her in many ways.

Broadbent said she still keeps in contact with Liddiard today. The third woman was her friend Marissa who helped her learn the ranch tasks and never judged her if she made a mistake. Broadbent said her mother-in-law, Trudy, is the model for whom she wants to become.

“All four of these women have helped to shape me,” Broadbent said. “I am so grateful for Ag women who love this life. Ag women today are valued as equal partners in this lifestyle.”

Katelyn Barsnick began by asking the audience how to define a pretty woman.

“Pretty is a woman who helps others, who works side by side with her husband and does what needs to be done,” Barsnick said. “This is the definition of pretty.”

Barsnick shared a story about her own mother who grew up on a cattle and horse ranch. Her mother inherited the ranch as her three brothers wanted nothing to do with it. She was the first woman to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo as a barrel racer. Later, her mother experienced neuropathy of the spine and kidney failure. She finally received a kidney transplant and recovered her strength.

Barsnick is a third-generation rancher and grew up on her mother’s ranch where she and her two sisters barrel raced just like their mom. She attended Utah State University, majoring in equine studies and did an internship in Kentucky where she foaled out 52 mares. When she returned home to the family ranch in eastern Utah, Barsnick took over their horse breeding program.

“My 4-H coordinator was a big influence in my life,” Barsnick said. “I went back to school and earned a master’s in agriculture extension education. I am passionate about working with people and horses. I’ve used equine therapy with veterans and people with PTSD. I love to educate people.”

Barsnick said she grew up in a home where she never heard that she couldn’t do something just because she was a girl. She said women may have to do things a different way but they can still do whatever a man can do.

Her husband is an engineer and a first-generation rancher. They ranch on 2,000 acres in eastern Utah. Barsnick said her father-in-law became so excited about his son’s new lifestyle that he bought a cabin and land because he wants to become a “cowboy,” too.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you want to live on a ranch, don’t let people discourage you,” Barsnick said. “Take time to learn about our lifestyle and just do it. Women play an important role on the ranch. You are important to agriculture and don’t forget it.”

Marie McClaren is a sixth-generation sheep rancher who lives on Rock Creek Ranch near Fossil Butte in Wyoming. Her great-great-great-grandfather came from England to be a sheepherder. He later started his own ranch which is a large sheep operation today still managed by McClaren’s family.

“My grandfather had a master’s in range management, and I always wanted to be just like him,” McClaren said. “I am a rancher by birth. It’s more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. It is what I do for work and for fun. I’ve always wanted to be a rancher.”

McClaren has a degree in animal science from the University of Wyoming. She has worked on two ranches, her family’s and on her step-father’s ranch. She has helped 1,600 ewes to give birth and, on one occasion, she watched many baby lambs die during a bad snow storm. That experience combined with the death of her grandfather devastated McClaren and she thought everything “sucked.”

She turned to writing stories, found she loved writing and it helped her to heal from the loss of her beloved grandfather. She has written, “A Sheepherder’s Story” on a blog called Rock Creek Watering Hole.  McClaren said she has a podcast and a YouTube channel coming out soon.  The Rock Creek Ranch offers classes in sheepherding and ranching as well.

Reganne Briggs, agriculture agent from Rich County, Utah, then introduced a final speaker, Brandy Mills, representative for the Utah Cattlewomen’s Association.

“This is a great day to hold this event, it is the International Day of Women,” Mills said. “I appreciate what each of the speakers have shared tonight. Whatever role you do on the ranch, it doesn’t matter, you are an important part of the ranch operation. We need women in all aspects of this life.”

Mills told the women in the audience to step outside their comfort zone and be empowered, to be themselves and love and support each other. She encouraged the women to join organizations that support women, like the cattle women’s association. Mills said there were flyers on the table at the back of the room that had lists of resources and programs women can participate in.

“Empowered women empower each other,” Mills said.