Reitzenstein uses her ag background and her finance education to help women find success ag careers
Kaye Reitzenstein of Kersey, Colo., knows farming is at the mercy of many factors producers can’t control. As the vice president of Finance for Nutrien Ag Solutions, the largest crop input company in the world, she has her hand in operations in the U.S., Canada, South America and Australia.
Reitzenstein began in finance with Nutrien 14 years ago and accepted her current role four years ago.
She said diversity is the norm in ag finance with successful people coming from different backgrounds and now working for producers around the world. To help women find success in agricultural business, she played a part in developing Aspire to Grow, a leadership development event. Partnering with Colorado State University, the event is catered to female ag students at CSU, as well as those connected to Colorado FFA.
Reitzenstein said speakers at the event have been selected to give participants a broad view of many of the careers available in the industry as well as networking opportunities with women already contributing to the success of the industry, be it in business, production or other facets. The program proved so popular, a spin off program was established in California last year in partnership with Cal Poly.
Hosted annually at the CSU Ag Education Co Bank Center, this year slated for November, the event hosts about 100 women from across the state.
“I have a passion for the ag industry,” she said. “I grew up in the ag industry and my background and degree are in finance, so for me, it’s been a way I can use my education and knowledge and combine it with ag.”
She said women are finding success in agriculture and are the majority in some programs of study in colleges, something that has a number of advantages, including the ability to communicate with female consumers.
In her years in agriculture, she said she has worked with a number of men who have daughters they hope will find a career in agriculture. Having other women to connect with in the industry, she said, opens doors to young women trying to find their place and passion.
Even with a support system, she said, young producers all face difficulties securing the resources to enter production agriculture.
“Production agriculture is changing,” she said. “There’s more farming being done in urban areas and it’s becoming a different industry and we’ll start to see that change.”
Reitzenstein grew up on a farm and ranch operation near Fort Morgan, Colo., and is married to Dr. Mark Reitzenstein, a large animal practitioner, who specializes in embryo transfer in beef cattle. The couple raised their children in agriculture, actively participating in 4-H and FFA. She is a newly installed member of the Colorado FFA Foundation, a position she said she values for the opportunity to mentor young people. Her advice for young people entering the industry is to pursue his or her passion.
“I have a daughter in her mid-20s and my hope is that my generation has made it easier for women to be in ag,” she said. ❖
— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at email@example.com or (970) 392-4410.