March 13, 2018
Written by the 2017 Scholarship Recipient, Emily Rousch
I own and operate a small farrow to finish hog farm near Lebanon, Kansas, along with my husband. I am a one-woman show for most of the day, as my husband carries an off farm job. My job goes from swine midwife and accountant to feed slinger and social media manager in seconds. Our pigs are raised on dirt and are Berkshires, a heritage breed known for their outstanding meat quality. The dreams that our farm encompasses are always changing. The first dream was building the farm. You read that right: I was young, freshly married, 300 miles away from my “home,” and a farm was on the top of our to do list.
Flash forward a couple of years to our latest dream. An unfortunate business deal lit the fire to sell our own meat to customers who would know the name of the folks who raised it. R Family Farms has since then snowballed into retail sales, with our pork being on the plates of folks within a 60 mile radius of our home, and growing. Our pork can be found in a local chain grocery store, and will soon be found in their freezer sections throughout Kansas. New opportunities are appearing at every turn, and our latest endeavor is online sales, which should be launched in the very near future.
While 2017 was a whirlwind, I know I will always remember receiving an e-mail saying I was awarded the first scholarship to the national 'I Am FarmHer' event, so graciously sponsored by Brenda and Bob Haney. I’m just a young FarmHer from nowhere Kansas, I never would have imagined I would be so lucky to have received the scholarship over hundreds of women that would soon connect me with so many amazing ladies from across the country. That e-mail in my inbox meant that maybe, what I was trying to accomplish wasn’t some wild dream, and someone, somewhere, read about my farm and ideas and believed in what I was doing. Yes, many happy tears were shed that evening.
The 'I Am FarmHer' conference personally came at a time when things on our farm were tough. Walking into a room filled with strong, leading females with the passion for agriculture is invigorating. I remembered I was climbing my mountain, and these other ladies were also climbing theirs, or had stories I could learn from their adventures. I felt so empowered and accepted, knowing some of those sitting in the very room as me, feels, or have felt, the struggles of agriculture.
The FarmHer team hit the nail on the head with the 'I Am FarmHer' conference. They encompassed all walks of agriculture into one incredibly informational and uplifting event for women across the country. I walked away with not only a fresh outlook on my farming life, but with new friends and a knowledge to make myself and my farm better. This FarmHer cannot wait until this year’s conference in Kansas City, and I hope to meet many of you who are reading this post. Until then, happy farming!
Apply for the Brenda G. Haney FarmHer Annual Scholarship by April 15th here.
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