Being A Woman In A Man's World

Now, this post is for all you women out there. Women that have the dream of marrying their farmer and working along side him every day and can't picture yourself anywhere else.

Being involved in the American Ag Industry is typically two things. Being white and being a male. Welcome to your typical "man's world".

Back when I started just getting involved in the Ag industry, in high school, it was predominately boys. For ten years I have gotten the pleasure to see things change a little bit, not much, but we are always evolving.

It still isn't common to find women who are the matriarch of the family farm. But, they tend to be the glue that keeps the entire family and business together and running smoothly. Women are typically in the background and they do all the unseen work. Like the bookwork, paying bills, cooking three hot meals a day, raising children, picking up parts, giving rides…and the list can really go on and on.

It isn't typical to see women standing up and taking leadership roles in some of the large agricultural associations. But, this last year National Corn Growers had a woman president.

You most likely won't see women sitting next to their husband's learning as much as they can about building a new feed lot facility. But, at the last seminar I went to alone, I was surprised to see wives sitting along side their husband's taking notes and running numbers.

I obviously haven't been involved in the industry for centuries, but even just seeing a change over the last ten years is amazing to me and extremely motivating. It pushes me, as a woman, to continue fighting to be a part of a man's world.

When I first married my husband I would say that he let me work alongside him every day, and SOMETIMES took the suggestions I had and actually thought about them.

Now, I would easily say that when we discuss future endeavors we are together and listening to each other's thoughts and opinions. He truly makes me feel like I am on the same level as him, and that is so rewarding. Rewarding that he values and respects my opinion is such a wonderful part of our relationship.

It's one thing for a man to listen to what you have to say, it's another when you can see them ACTIVELY listening, asking questions, and engaging you to get your own thoughts on a certain project.

If you want to be a woman entering this man's world make sure you make it known up front. If you want to be like me and be beside your husband every day, working every single part of the operation make it known from the beginning. If you would rather do a few things here and there, keep house, cook, and raise children- make sure you make it known. If you want to stay in town and continue to have a career- do it.

In the beginning it was decided once I was done with college I wouldn't start teaching, I would instead join the farm. Before we had our daughter I worked with my husband whenever he needed me. Even if it was something as simple as cleaning out a tractor. I worked alongside him. Now with our daughter I don't get to work alongside him as much as I want to. But, I make sure he comes home to a clean house and a home cooked meal.

My husband is supportive of whatever career choice I decide to choose and as our marriage and relationship grows I realize more and more that I enjoy working with him everyday now, more than ever before. Because now I my opinion is valued in his world.

Fixing a feed bunk cable as a family on a Sunday. 

My Dreams In Agriculture

Before I met my farmer I was pretty passionate about the agricultural industry. So passionate that I chose to go college and enter into Purdue University's College Of Agriculture in Agricultural Education. I was way active in Indiana Agriculture. Always busy with something.

Now way back in my college days I would have said my absolute dream was to settle down and marry a farmer and have tons of little babies to spoil and play with.

My dreams haven't changed so much. I have settled down, I have married my farmer, and some day we hope for more children if God chooses to bless us.

Beyond what I wanted my family life to be I also had a dream of being heavily involved in Agricultural Education. I knew I didn't want to teach at the high school level forever. I foresaw myself with continuing on with my Masters degree and even one day my PhD. And then I wanted to say home and be a farm wife and a someone's Mommy.

As life changes I have also had to adjust my dreams. Getting my Masters while chasing a 19 month old around wouldn't be easy, but I want to be a focused Mom. A PhD would be wonderful to have, but I'm not sure I would use it while my little ones are still young. But, I believe in continuing education and always believe in learning.

I spend my days doing whatever my husband needs on the farm. I also have a couple of bred cows that are mine to check on twice a day. And I have a beautiful little girl that needs guidance, all from me. I believe in play dates, trips to the museum, libraries, and lots and lots of play time and snuggles. I believe in teaching prayers, manners, and giving her a voice. I believe that I am the best one to give these to my little girl, so I put my other dreams on hold…but I am always learning and take advantages of days where I can simply go and learn at a conference. Whether it's about impacting with Social Media, or a recent day of buildings for putting cattle in.

Play dates at the Children's Museum.

I volunteer my time talking to producers about the benefits of using social media on their farms. I talk to consumers about how they can feel confident when making decisions in the grocery store. I blog about what it's like being married to a farmer, and how sometimes it can feel like I am a single parent.

Late night snack with Daddy after he got in from the fields.

My dreams are still the same, maybe one day I will have my PhD. But, I do know that now my dreams are my little girl, my husband, continuing to have a faith filled home, and raising my child in God. My dreams are volunteering all my spare time to talking to consumers and answering whatever questions they might have about modern farming practices. Blogging about my life. And I may not be earning a Masters while I do all these things, but I am certainly learning more and more every day. With every person I have a conversation with, with every discussion I have with my husband over animal welfare, and with every time I make a decision to be an active part of our family's life.

I continue to learn and share that knowledge. And I think that is a pretty important dream too!

Biotechnology meeting in St. Louis.
Women who attended the Biotechnology meeting in St. Louis.