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FarmHER Finds Broadcasting Success in Her Rural Roots & FFA

From starting her first cow-calf operation at age three to producing and anchoring her first network television program at age 30, Charlsie supports producers and inspires ag’s next generation in the National FFA Organization through her work and her lifelong passion for agriculture. Charlsie is not only the definition of a FarmHER and RanchHER, she’s also an Ag InnovatHER!

In our newest blog series, “Ag InnovatHERs: Breaking the Grass Ceiling” in Partnership with Nationwide, we are highlighting female Ag InnovatHERs in tech, agribusiness, and other fields who are helping support producers and propel the agriculture industry forward.


Meet Charlsie McKay, a news producer at RFD-TV’s Market Day Report and the “one-woman show” behind FFA Today! She’s proof that a lifelong love of the land can lead to great things!

“My parents made sure that we knew all aspects of the industry,” She explained. “I remember going to a bank at like, 10, and opening an account because when we sold them, we had to take care of the financials, and put the money in our savings account.” 

Charlsie McKay reining a heifer.

In Cimarron her father managed a feedlot there. That’s also where her family met her eldest brother, Dusty Nothern, who worked with Bobby on the feedlot and became part of the family at age 14. They family then went on to Scandia, Kansas where her dad started managing a new feedlot. In addition to rodeoing and participating in livestock shows, Charlsie also got involved with the National FFA Organization, which still holds a special place in her heart and part of her job at RFD-TV today. 

In Scandia, she saw a clearer picture of the far-reaching impacts of her father’s work. Agriculture was bigger than her small town, bigger than the whole state of Kansas. 

“A lot of people that would come and visit from other like countries and places – I’m not sure why we always had people visiting – and they would be so mesmerized by the cattle industry,” she said, “That’s what started my wanting to tell agriculture stories, and tell the truth behind it all from the perspective of someone who lives it and breathes it every day.”


“I didn’t want to be on the broadcasting side of [ag] until college,” Charlsie said. Finding another shepherd in her first boss, Eric Adkinson of Agriculture Today, who hired her as an Animal Science student at Kansas State. 

“He interviewed everybody and anybody in ag, a lot like [RFD-TV’s] Market Day Report is now. His show aired all throughout Kansas on the radio.” It was when she was working for Adkinson that she stumbled upon a posting for an internship at RFD-TV. 

“I talked to him about it, and I was like, ‘What do you think if I do this?’ And he was like, ‘I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, they would say no?’ So, I applied.”

As time passed, Charlsie assumed she didn’t get the RFD-TV internship. But, always professional, she responded to the automated email to thank whoever was on the other side for the opportunity to apply. Not too long after that, the network’s former news director, Gary, replied and asked her to meet the next day. After a tough, 10-question pop quiz (everything from cover crops to the gestational period of a pig, which she passed!), and she got the job! 

A few months into her internship, Charlsie was hired full-time as a Western Sports producer. She stayed in the role for over three years before briefly moving to Fort Worth, Texas, to help open The Cowboy Channel’s new office. A few months later, an associate news producer position opened up at RFD-TV. Deciding that Nashville was her true home, she moved back and was soon re-hired as an associate news producer by former RFD-TV News Director Katie Avant, who is now RFD-TV’s Director of Original Content and Executive Producer of FarmHer TV. The rest is her-story!


Like many FarmHers, Charlsie lives pretty far from town out in Columbia, Tenn., a rural area about an hour’s drive from Nashville, with her husband, Turner, and daughter, Levy. Turner works in roofing and is a part-time rancher and a rodeo roper. One of Charlsie’s personal goals is to shepherd her daughter, Levy, 2, and raise her up with a passion for agriculture and livestock just as her parents did for her. They haven’t started a cow-calf together quite yet (give it a year!), but she and Turner just got Levy her first horse, Blue, last Christmas. She’s obsessed!

“I want Levy to always look back and be proud of my career and proud of where and how far I’ve come,” she said. “For me, RFD was a place that I never thought I would work because when you grow up in the ag world – RFD might as well be NBC. I mean, you just know about it. It’s on TV. It’s on in the house all the time, so you know what it is. And so, I never thought that I would be working here, and then it all just happened and fell into place, and I’ve been here for so many years now. Always, always, I want her to look back and see that, and see there’s so many different avenues for her — especially in the broadcast industry.” 

Each morning, Charlsie wakes up at 4:30 a.m., drops her daughter, Levy, most mornings, and makes her trek into town, starting her day around 6:30 a.m. From there, in her newsroom chair, it’s hard to say what each day might hold — but that’s what makes it so exciting! In addition to producing an hour of news each weekday on the Market Day Report, Charlsie also helps select and edit long-form news stories, or “packages” used across Market Day Report and the Rural Evening News

“So, all the stories will funnel in, and I’ll look through them for anything I think might fit into a story I’ve already written for my show – maybe it has some more information, or great quote. Then we write headlines, all the cold opens, teases, and then we all spend the rest of the morning kind of finessing stuff. And then, usually at 9 a.m., I line produce my show.”

After those duties are done, Charlsie takes on another role that she cherishes a lot: producing, editing, and anchoring FFA Today

“If it’s an FFA day, after I get done line producing, I go straight into the editing room and edit the show. I edit it over a couple of days. I’ll gather packages that I’ve seen that are online or anything like that that’s come my way and make sure that they’re ready for the show.” 

Once FFA Today is finalized, she’s back on the news — and she’s always planning ahead.

“There’s a lot to figure out – so talking together as a group each afternoon is important. One thing I really like about our team is we have both people with agriculture backgrounds and people with news backgrounds. It’s kind of the perfect mix where we all make each other better. I think that’s important, and I’m glad Katie, and now Ashlee [Pitzl, RFD-TV’s current News Director] have made that an important part of our newsroom.”

One of her other goals is to always be a good employee, co-worker, and representative of the network when interacting with other professionals. She prefers to go the extra mile, always, and she’s both known and appreciated for exactly that. Last year, she finally secured Rural Media Group’s Employee of the Quarter Award, but it was not the first time she’s been nominated. 

Keeping up with everything from changing technology to new crop variations and current events all at once can be a challenge, “but that’s just the world. The world is changing all the time.”


Dealing with change is something we face together in the ag community. For Charlsie, that’s what keeps her coming back each day—to update farmers about important ag policy issues like the Farm Bill, which she knows has a direct effect on the financial and personal well-being of America’s agricultural community. 

“I want to make sure farmers and producers fully understand everything that could be set into play, and how it will impact them—because it will impact them. Especially in terms of mental health.” 

Because Charlsie has always lived a life centered around agriculture, she’s experienced firsthand how tough farming and ranching can be. That’s why advocacy and education are such important values to her.

“Farmers are losing their whole livelihood, something that they’ve had for generations. Some are in their 70s and they’ve been doing this forever. Maybe they want to pass it on down to their kids. But some of these farmers are seeing it end with them, and that’s just devastating mentally. It’s a pride thing, too…just thinking, ‘Oh my God, my family built this, and now it’s going to end with me.’ Heartbreaking.”

Where her heart is, there, too, is her treasure. 

“The most rewarding part of the job, I would say, is whenever people reach out if I’ve done a story about them or they see my byline on a web story. When someone sends me a message like, ‘Hey, I saw you did this story on me, and just so you know, it was so good. Thank you so much for putting me in a light that I never really saw myself in.’ And, you know they probably saw the interview on TV, but making sure there’s also something nice written about them online to remember is nice, too.”


When asked what advice she would give herself back when she was first starting her career, or to an aspiring ag journalist in the FFA, her advice was simple yet challenging.

“Never be afraid to take a chance. I moved 12 hours from home, didn’t know anybody in Nashville, and I remember calling my mom a month in, and I was like, ‘Hey, this isn’t working. I don’t think I like it here. It’s just so different. I don’t know anybody.’ And she was like, ‘You have to give it six months.’ By about month three, I felt pretty settled.”

Once you get where you’re going, she recommends leading with confidence, something she’s had to learn along the way.  

“Just be more confident in yourself. You know what you’re worth at the end of the day. Sometimes, when you go someplace and you feel intimidated, you kind of automatically put yourself down. Just go in there with confidence and act like you know everything. It’ll pan out better than being intimidated.”

From informing the current generations in farming to inspiring the next, Charlsie is always working hard for the ag community! The dichotomy between the two reminds her that some things just get more complicated as we get older. For instance, summarizing what it means to be in ag and what it means to be a “FarmHer.”

“It’s cool seeing all the FFA kids like the convention. They’re so smart. It’s incredible to see how passionate they are and how excited they are to be a part of FFA. Kids that young kind of know –they just understand and grasp exactly what being a farmer means.”

But what does being a FarmHer mean to her? Well, as a thoughtful woman and a lovely writer, I gave her some time to mull it over. Charlsie wrote:

“As a long-time FarmHer, I believe being a woman in agriculture offers a unique perspective where we juggle multiple roles. We aren’t only operators, but also mothers and wives, balancing the demands of the farm with the responsibilities of family life.

As a mom, I cherish the opportunity to pass down my love for agriculture to Levy, knowing that she’ll carry on the tradition with the same passion and respect. 

I take pride in being part of a company where I am exposed to countless stories about FarmHers and RanchHers from across the nation every day. It’s inspiring to hear and see the diverse experiences and contributions of women in agriculture, highlighting their resilience, innovation, and passion for the land.”

Charlsie McKay

Thank you, Charlsie, for your dedication to the ag community and the hard work you do each to keep us informed, enlightened, and uplifted each day. Catch Charlsie at work on RFD-TV, when she produces the news on the Market Day Report weekdays at 9 a.m. ET, for FFA Today on Tuesday evenings, and read her work online.

Ag InnovatHERs: Breaking the “Grass” Ceiling

In our new blog series, “Ag InnovatHERs: Breaking the Grass Ceiling” in Partnership with Nationwide, we are highlighting female Ag InnovatHERs in tech, agribusiness, and other fields like Charlsie who are helping support producers and propel the agriculture industry forward.

As the #1 farm insurer in the U.S., 1 Nationwide has the innovations and expertise to help you grow and protect your business success. And because their roots are in agriculture, we care about your neighbors, too. You’ll see it in the programs and services they provide and support that keep your farm community thriving. To access informative agribusiness resources designed just for FarmHERs, visit Nationwide’s Ag Insight Center.

Do you know an Ag InnovatHER who should be featured? Suggest one today!

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One thought on “FarmHER Finds Broadcasting Success in Her Rural Roots & FFA

  1. Charlie, it is so great to see you doing the work you do! Keep that smile on your face and certainly remember your roots! I am proud of your accomplishments! Keep up the fine work! Mr. Russell (Mark)

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