I’m two generations removed from the family farm. Two of my uncles were agronomists and I have a few distant relatives farming, but I can’t recall who or what spurred my passion for agriculture.
As a little girl, I wanted to be a farmer. My father would tell me it was near impossible for me to do that. I’m not sure if he was pointing at the non-existent family farm to take over, or at my terrible mechanical abilities. Probably both. He kept telling me that I could always become an agronomist. So that’s what I did.
I ended up getting a degree in weed science (yes, there is such a thing, no, it’s not that kind of weed). I worked for a few years in agricultural research, testing products and techniques to control weeds in a variety of crops. I’m now staying home with my two young sons. My husband works as a weed specialist for the Panhandle Research and Extension Center. I’m lucky to be able to count on him to keep me grounded in weeds…and in agriculture in general.
Initially, I joined Western Nebraska Agri-Women for very selfish reasons. I missed my job, I missed nerding off about “all things ag” and I wanted to reconnect with people that shared the same passion about agriculture.
But as I gradually settled in my current role of stay-at-home mom, I realized the need for information and outreach from agriculture to the general public.
We live in such a great country. Food is safe, affordable, abundant. You can go to the store any day of the week and grab a gallon of milk for 3 dollars, give or take. You never must line up for it, you never have to wonder whether it will cost 50 dollars this time, whether it is actually milk or cut with water, and whether you need to scald it to drink it safely. Not so long ago, none of that was a given.
Because our food production system today is so powerful and reliable, it really is easy to forget that no, milk does not come from the grocery store. Our agricultural system is also very sophisticated. We have gotten very good at using what we grow for a myriad of purposes. Corn is not just used to feed cattle. There is more than sugar to sugarbeets.
If you are curious about the agriculture going on around you, if you want to know how farmers around you steward the land to produce food, fuel, fiber, I hope we Agri-Women of Western Nebraska can answer some of your questions. And I hope we can share our passion!