Central Valley resident Alisha Nelson knows a thing or two about raising the bar for women in the workforce. An agriculture enthusiast and former rodeo sweetheart, Nelson is not afraid to get her hands dirty, especially when it comes to heavy machinery as she is the first woman hired by Turlock’s Garton Tractor Inc. as an agriculture sales consultant.
“I have worked for Garton Tractor Inc. for about two years selling farm and ranch equipment. I am the first woman they have hired as a sales consultant. This job comes as second nature to me since I’ve always driven trucks and pulled trailers as a kid,” said Nelson.
It came as no surprise that Nelson took her agriculture upbringings into her educational career at Fresno State University where she graduated with a degree in Agriculture Business.
“Being born and raised in the Valley, I have always been around agriculture. I feel at home with it. I stuck with it through college and always knew that I would land a desirable career in agriculture. After working at a horse ranch after I graduated, I got my huge break when a friend of my parent’s referred me to Garton Tractor, for they were looking to hire a sales consultant,” said Nelson.
After learning the job description at Garton, Nelson quickly realized that if she was hired for the sales consultant position she would be surrounded in an industry dominated by men.
“I didn’t graduate college and think I was going to sell farm equipment. It was second nature once I found out about the job. When I came in to work for Garton at age 25 and fresh out of college, I realized that I will be the only woman working in a company that is surrounded by men, I did not let that factor intimidate me,” said Nelson.
“I don’t feel that gender has been an obstacle for me. I grew up with three brothers so I felt like I’d seen and heard it all before I entered the industry,” she said.
As an agriculture equipment sales consultant, Nelson works closely with farmers by providing them the best options when choosing the machines that help them get through their busy seasons.
“It’s a lot of work. I just think it takes a certain kind of woman to want to enter this kind of industry. Like any job, it has to fit the person. For many women, this may be a desirable or glamorous job. You get dirty while working where I do. I have been around tractors, trucks and trailers my whole life, this is second nature to me,” she said.
Nelson continues to raise the bar for women in the agriculture workforce and plans to stay in the industry for many more years to come.
“I feel very comfortable, it feels like home. It's refreshing to work with people that are proud of what they do. The farmers that I have had the pleasure of working with take pride in what they do and I admire them for that. I am fascinated by the things that a farmer can grow with the right tools and I am lucky to be a part of such a great industry,” she said.