Amazing Woman in Ag: Sara

Yesterday we shared some thoughts on women farmers and makeup. This concept was brought up by Sara, who is a female farmer. With her blog post, she started the conversation. We love to hear about strong farm women and Sara is just that. Today, we want to share Sara's farm story! Sara is a farmer in Cleveland, Minnesota. She farms with her husband Mark along with his parents and his brother on Hewitt Farms. Their farm is made up of approximately 3000 acres of corn and soybeans. They also operate Hewitt Drainage Equipment, a business that provides tile plows, tile, custom tiling and other supplies to farmers. 

Sara is not new to farming. She grew up on a farm where her family grew corn, soybeans and raised beef cattle, hogs and sheep throughout the years. They also raised sunflowers, sweetcorn, eggs, honey and made maple syrup. However, Sara wasn't anticipating being a farmer when she left home. "I loved the animals and being outdoors, but I didn't really think there was a career path for me in farming. When I graduated high school, there really still weren't a lot of women farmers. Luckily for me, I met my farming husband and he knew it was something I loved to do, so he encouraged me to go back to earn my Master's in Agricultural Education and Communications and really take a handle on our farm's operations. We rent my family's land now and are working on a more diversified farm plan for the future."

For Sara, it is important that people understand that all different kinds of people are in this industry. And that includes people of all different backgrounds. Sara herself is a perfect example. "Yes, I grew up on a farm, but my undergraduate degrees do not reflect agriculture. Yet, so much of it has carried over from my communication classes to my health and fitness background." It helps to have diversity in any industry, but because farming has so many facets, it's easy to see how people with different backgrounds can bring good ideas to the table. Sara said, "with how diverse the agriculture industry is now from organics to conventional to agriculture finances to agriculture communications and media to nutrition, there is a job out there for everyone. You don't necessarily need an agriculture background to excel."

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So why does Sara farm? "I love being outdoors and working for myself. I love being able to be out in the tractor for hours. It gives me time to think and plan. I also love that the industry presents a challenge every day for me. Sometimes it is helping someone understand what I do a little bit better and other times it means I have to attend a conference or write a letter to one of my legislators. I love that no two days are ever the same and there is always something new going on. I love that I am continuing my family's heritage and am working to leave a legacy for my future family."

While farming can be fun, rewarding, interesting and more, a word we hear a lot is challenging. One challenge Sara has faced is managing all of the ideas she has. "We have great plans for what we want to do with our farm. We are in the process of diversifying with honey bees, but we also want to diversify our farming operation with cattle. I grew up with livestock, so I miss having chores to do every day. We have farm plans that we are working on solidifying so we can move our operation into the future, and make is sustainable for us to continue to farm. I'd just like it to all move a little quicker!" But Sara is learning to be patient and take it all one day at a time.  

Sara said one of the best things about being in the ag industry is being able to prove the boys wrong. She said, "I always find it funny when someone finds out how much you know about farming or how heavily involved you are with the production side of farming. I think it is important to remember that there are farmers of all kinds and that the nostalgic picture of what a farmer was is changing. I enjoy being a part of that changing face of agriculture. I love what I do, and I love being able to share that through many platforms from public speaking to our blog, to being on the board of our county Farm Bureau.  I thoroughly enjoy connecting with other women in agriculture, and telling our story." And Sara tells her story well!

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Sara may be young, but she is incredibly in touch with the industry she loves so much. It helps her to have strong women in her life. "Frankly, I know what is happening in the industry way before my husband and my father-in-law because I have a great network of other agricultural women I communicate with. I love having mentors in farming and in other professional areas of my life, but it is important to remember that young people and women have a lot of valuable information and life experiences to add to the conversation." We absolutely agree! The days of the traditional farmer are long behind us!

The last bit of advice we want to share with you from Sara is about sharing your ag story. At Pink Tractor, we believe in advocacy and telling consumers about your farm. It's important for people to get their information from the source rather than someone who might have a motive. Sara agrees. "I wish more people would go out and ask a farmer for their information. They might be surprised at what they find. I even find when just talking to my own network of farmers, that what they are all doing is simply amazing. There are so many resources out there to connect you directly with your farmer, so take advantage of them."

Thanks so much to Sara for sharing her farm story with us. If you want more information on Sara and her farming adventures, check out her Faith, Farming & Cowboy Boots!

And if you know an amazing woman in ag, nominate her to be on the website by emailing info@pinktractor.com.

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