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Ag Keynote Speaker, Farm, Women in Agriculture

Celebrating women in ag

Today, I had the opportunity to join the women attending the Eastern Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference. I keynoted the event, sharing about Girl Power.

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As women in agriculture, we do play a unique role in the industry. We are the industry runners. We run for parts, run people between farms, run equipment, run food, run kids, run, run, run. We fill the gaps that nobody else does. We are the doers and the dreamers and the bearings that make the wheels go round.

I shared this video today, and it gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. Women in ag are defying stereotypes and creating their own destinies. Women, you rock!

Farm, Women in Agriculture

The million dollar question

It’s the question I get most often in my life, right after, “Mom, are my boots on the right feet?”

“What do you do?”

On the surface, it’s a pretty simple question. After all, it’s a fairly basic get-to-know-someone inquiry.

C_89roIU0AEkH4RFor someone like me, however, it’s a bit more complicated. You see, I’m one of those people who read in to everything. What’s the person looking for? What do they want to know? What’s going to resonate most with them? How much do I share? These questions and more float quickly through my brain, before I throw out a surface-deep answer. Usually, I respond something like, “Greg farms full-time, and I stay at home with our little ones.”

While that’s entirely true, and in of itself is quite enough most days, there’s more. Typically, I refrain from sharing the other bits and pieces, because while I can juggle the tasks before me, I know not everyone is wired the same way. I’m wired to have 13 different things on my plate; each takes up their own space, but at the end of the day, I love how they mesh and mold together.

If I were to tell the full story, I’d tell about four pieces of my life outside of farm wife and mom to two spectacular boys. I’d tell about the businesses and organizations listed here. I’d tell about how I love the life Greg and I are creating. I would tell about how I do get overwhelmed some days, but how I also love the complexity and variety each of these things bring. I’d tell about how there’s no industry quite like American agriculture. I’d tell about how for our life, each of these pieces fits together perfectly in one big picture puzzle.

I’d talk for seemingly hours about the things I’m passionate about. And, then, I’d simply say, “Tell me what sets your heart on fire.”

Family, Farm, Livestock, Parenting

Raising critters and kids

The boys sit at the kitchen counter finishing their breakfast. Outside, the snow gently falls, joining an already white winter-landscape. I begin pulling out the barn clothes: it’s time to pile on the layers and head outside.

We open the outside door to be greeted by a crisp morning breeze. It’s one of those days where the cool air takes your breath away. It takes longer than normal to trudge through the snowdrifts to make it to the barn. Cries of, “Mama, I’m cold!” fade away as we push open the door to check the stock. Those cries are replaced with excited expressions of, “Look! We have more lambs!”


My husband and I both grew up around livestock. Some of our fondest memories revolve around county fair experiences. We credit who we are today with our involvement in 4-H and FFA. We want our boys to develop life skills and leadership by “learning to do.”

Speaking of our boys: they’re four. Yes, plural: “boys.” Yes, they’re both four. Yes, they’re twins. No, I don’t know how I do it. Yes to all the clichés: double trouble, twice the fun, what one doesn’t think of, another one does. No, I could not imagine our life any other way.

IMG_20180118_221757104.jpgThe sheep are a new thing for us. “Learning to do,” right? We jumped in with two feet, purchasing 15 bred ewes late last fall. Purchasing the ewes was an easy decision. We know we don’t have to wait for 4-H for our boys to start developing a work ethic. They’re working on it now, each day as they accompany us to the barn. We’re learning as we go, and we couldn’t be more thankful for those experienced pros answering our countless questions throughout the lambing season.IMG_20180121_145218862

And, wouldn’t you know, it seems like we’re learning as much from two four year-olds as we are from those seasoned shepherds? The four year-olds see everything from a fresh perspective and have a happy-go-lucky attitude that makes my heart melt. My toes may freeze in the sub-zero weather, but they remind me that it’s so much warmer in the barn than outside. A bottle baby may frustrate me, but they tell me that they’re so happy they get to take care of him. I may curse the frozen water under my breath, but they’re busy carrying hay one handful at a time. I stop and pause, realizing how grateful we are to have this calm barn to teach everlasting lessons that will pay off in a crazy world.


The chores are done, and we make our way back to the house. They talk me into hot chocolate as a treat for their hard work. As we sip the warm goodness, I tell them how they are such big helpers and their faces light up with pride. In my mind, I know I could take care of the animals quicker on my own, but in my heart, I know we’re not just raising lambs: we’re raising quality kids, too.