• Season 4 | Episode 9 | Katharine Girone | A FarmHer Rooted in Ag

October 30, 2019 4 Comments

So many times farming is rooted in a family and family farming is the root of a person.  A family’s love of agriculture is passed down from one generation to the next and FarmHer Katharine Girone is the perfect example of that.  Today Katharine is a program coordinator for 4-H youth development at the University of Illinois Extension in Pekin, Illinois. She and her family also operate a fifth-generation farm in Varna, IL.  My visit to Katharine’s farm started with a discussion about roots, and her roots in agriculture are directly tied to her grandfather. He is the person who passed down a love of animals, by teaching her to care for sheep at an early age. Katharine grew up just down the road from her Grandfather’s farm and fondly recalls the days spent and lessons learned there. 


As I walked up the family farmhouse, I was greeted by Katharine as if we were old friends...and she wasn’t alone.  Cradled in the palm of her hand and held up against her was a teeny tiny kitten that the family had recently found in need of help - this was just one hint at this young woman’s passion for animals.  We then joined her dad in a walk up the road to the farm.

Katharine explained that while she lives off the farm, this is where she loves to be. We walked into the shed, that once was a dairy, to a flock of sheep, not so patiently waiting to be fed.  Katharine took care of the feed in quick order and next set out to spread some hay for the animals. Last but definitely not least, we were joined by Katharine’s mother. The two women worked side-by-side to administer some medicine to the lambs. They explained the varieties of sheep within the small herd and even let me try my hand at holding one!  Before we were done with the sheep we took a quick walk out to the pasture to check on the sheep out there as Katharine explained their use of rotational grazing.  


Our last stop of the day was into the chicken house.  There Katharine explained that the chickens were not something handed down by her grandfather, but rather a project she started in FFA and has kept going.  The family collects eggs from the chickens and while they use them as food, Katharine also has a more unique use for the eggs! She uses them for a classroom project through her day-job, teaching kids about chickens and their growth process.  


Katharine is a young FarmHer with deep roots.  Roots in family, agriculture, and community. Roots that she uses to spread her love of agriculture to others.  Young women like Katharine are one of the keys to agriculture’s successful future and I couldn’t be more proud to share her Rooted in Ag story.




4 Responses

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November 26, 2019

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November 26, 2019

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Aunt Sue
Aunt Sue

November 06, 2019

No one could be as kind and loving as this woman. It is gratifying to see the next generation hold dear the concept of roots. May she continue to keep this warmth alive and spread it to a new generation.

Vivian Gerrietts
Vivian Gerrietts

November 02, 2019

we in Tazewell Co. love that Katharine shares her ag love with 4-H in our county

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