• Empower Blog Series Part 3: Finding Role Models

August 08, 2017 1 Comment



By Ali Luety

Role models can instill confidence in future FarmHers and inspire young women to dream big. It is important, as experienced FarmHers in the industry, to reach out to the next generation and provide guidance and leadership. Our industry will continue to strengthen as we foster these relationships. 

Our conversation with a successful female role model in the industry illustrates this importance.  

Meet a successful FarmHer that knows the importance of role-models.

Pam Johnson of Floyd, Iowa is a 6th generation farmer who grew up when times were tough for farmers. Pam didn’t necessarily plan to remain in the agriculture industry, saying “agriculture pursued me”. She met her husband and ended up moving back home to start farming. When she started a family, she quit her nursing job to farm full-time. Now, Pam still farms but is very involved in agricultural organizations, taking leadership roles in Maizall, the international alliance of corn grower associations from Argentina, Brazil, and the U.S. She has traveled to speak in China at the Food Security Summit, the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and the FAO, Food and Ag Organization of the United Nations, in Rome, Italy. At the Global Agribusiness Forum in Sao Paulo, she gave the opening address and Maizall directors spoke on discussion panels. She also serves as secretary of FFAR, the Foundation for Food and Ag research, appointed by the Sec of Ag Tom Vilsack. She also chairs the Diversity Task Force of the National Corn Growers Association, NCGA, and serve on the Export and Grain Trade Committee of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

On role-models, Pam said, “Couldn’t do it without them! It is powerful and motivating to see and talk with other women in leadership. If we can see it, we can be it. I like to hear about their experiences and learn from them. Past and present, including the strong women in my family and a few really close women friends. A support system is critical, men and women. Colleagues who I work with are inspiring.”


Digging deeper: Mentorship.

Role models are individuals to look up to and aspire to, where as mentors typically facilitate a more personal relationship that offers advice and encouragement. Both role-models and mentors provide inspiration, however mentors take a specific interest in you and your personal goals. On mentoring, Lean In affirms that it is a great way to pave your way to success. “One study showed that women who found mentors through formal programs were 50 percent more likely to be promoted than women who found mentors on their own.”


One great way to find mentors is through the Grow by FarmHer events hosted across the country for young women in agriculture. The events are designed to bring together young women interested in agriculture with women who are going great things in the industry, either as a professional, a producer, or both! The next tour of Grow by FarmHer events take place this November and tickets go on sale September 1st. Find out more here


Read the complete FarmHer Empower Report here




Sanberg, Sheryl. Lean in. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. Print.


1 Response

Vikki Brandstetter
Vikki Brandstetter

August 11, 2017

This is so important. Keep shining your light Marji. Tickles me to death to read all the good things you do.

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