Women’s connection to a life in agriculture never ceases to amaze me, and Jenny Mennenga is the perfect example of that. Jenny grew up in Northwest Iowa on a traditional row crop and cattle farm operation. With no intentions of going back home to the farm, she went to Iowa State University where she found her own love of agriculture through the study of agronomy and more specifically, the ability of genetically modified seeds to be able to make a real difference in the ability to feed a growing world. After college, she moved to Illinois to pursue a career with Syngenta.
Strong women. That’s what FarmHers are, strong, real women. Emily and Lisa Zweber are FarmHers through and through. They are half of the equation that makes up Zweber Farms in Elko, Minnesota, but after my visit to their fourth generation family dairy, it’s clear they are the heart of this farm.
On a visit to warm and sunny desert climate of Southern California, I had the pleasure of visiting a small farm, filled with animals and love right in the heart of the city. FarmHer Rene Hopkins was born and raised on the very property where she lives with her husband still today. In fact, she lives in the house she was raised in. Her family lived in the area back when it wasn’t in the city, but they stayed as the town grew up around them. What is left of the property is a handful of acres, hidden away from the street
It's no secret that farms have many moving pieces and that many times women are at the center of those pieces, keeping them all in the air. Farms aren't just family operations, they are businesses that don't stop. At the heart of the Sutter Farm in Pleasantville, Iowa is one such woman, Leanne Sutter.
Meet Ashley Bandoni, a California FarmHer. By day Ashley works in the ag industry as a salesperson for Syngenta. In her role at the organization, she has a territory of customers in and around her home in Atwater, California that she serves. She is the go between the retail seed dealers and crop advisors and the company, working to figure out the pest problems that growers in her area might have. Ashley also farms with her husband Mario on his family’s fourth generation almond farm.
I heard from a fellow FarmHer that Amy Heitland was a woman I needed to meet. She was right. Amy owns and operates Westfork Ranch in Sheffield, Iowa, where, as she put it, they do all things horse. From boarding and training to breeding, buying, selling and riding, she does it all.
In life, it takes a village to get anywhere and in agriculture, it is even truer. Teams are essential whether on a family farm or working in a large corporation. Teams matter whether you are raising a herd of cattle, a family, creating a product or communicating your message.
At nearly every farm I am at it strikes me of what an immense labor of love farming or ranching is. It’s a labor of love for the land and the food grown, and for the livestock raised. It’s a labor of love for the farmHers life. No matter what type or size of farm, it’s always a love that is there and that love was very much alive and kicking at the Boxcar Farm and Garden in Maxwell, Texas.