When you think of a FarmHer you probably don't think of makeup, right? Well, let me introduce you to Crystal. She loves lipstick and tries out new shades all of the time for her unassuming and non-judgemental audience - her cattle.
April Hemmes was born into a farming family, and to put it simply, farming is part of who she is. Following college at Iowa State University, April found her way to Washington, D.C. where she worked for a lawmaker. In 1985 she came home to Hampton, Iowa, to farm and hasn't looked back since.
Krystina Cook was one of the first women to invite me to her ranch when I started FarmHer. It just so happens I was in Iowa with little time and less funds for FarmHer travel while she and her pigs were in California. Fast forward nearly three years and I found my way to the Cook Pigs Ranch just outside of the quaint town of Julian in the mountains above San Diego.
As I sit on the plane, headed home to my frozen Iowa from sunny California I am stumped about where to even start talking about my visit to Archi’s Acres to meet Karen Archipley. A quick look at the live basil plant she sent home with me, sitting carefully protected by my feet on the airplane in a Target sack, made me think about the fact that I could have never guessed I would be transporting plants through airports. That’s life. You never know where you are going to end up or what you are going to be doing.
On the outskirts of Austin, Texas, I met a FarmHer who changed my perspective. I met a FarmHer who is not only compassionate about the homeless population in her city, but she is working with a group of passionate people who are acting. They are acting on the issues and they are creating change.
As we all know, FFA formerly stands for Future Farmers of America, though with the officer team this year, we might as well call them the future FarmHers. For the first time in history, 5 of the 6 national FFA officers are young women. Given that women were not even allowed to be a member of the organization until 1969, this is pretty epic.
I recently met a woman who I have great respect for and can now call a friend. She is a woman. She is a mother. She is a mentor. She is a leader. She is the president of a very large organization. She is following her passions and dreams. She is changing the world.
Life is a road full of twists and turns, long and short journeys, bumpy and smooth paths and if we are lucky, many adventures along the way. On a perfectly perfect spring day, my FarmHer journey led me to the Strickland Ranch in Myakka City, Florida to meet Renee Strickland.