Amazing Woman in Ag: Ashley

Our latest Amazing Woman in Ag is Ashley Messing-Kennedy. Though she grew up on a farm, she didn't always love it. Growing up, her parents would punish her by making her milk cows. Eventually working on the farm and participating in 4-H allowed her to turn her thoughts around. Slowly, she grew to love the farm. She said, "I went to Michigan State University and I got my short course degree in Dairy Management and I got my BS in Animal Science. After college I worked 2 jobs out in the industry and never felt fulfilled. During one of them, I met my now-husband, Eric, on the farm he helps to manage. She now lives on a dairy farm with her husband outside of Bad Axe, Michigan.

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Ashley's favorite thing about being a farmer is that she gets to be her own boss. She explains, "I am not a very good employee and being an owner of the farm has been a good thing for me. I enjoy deciding on my own day." But the responsibility of running a farm can bring a lot of challenges. Her biggest challenge on the farm is balancing everything. "When I'm getting a lot done in the barn, I have a mountain of laundry, tons of dirty dishes and every floor in the house needs to be swept. But when my house is somewhat clean there are always a million things to do out in the barn." I think we can all relate to this.

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The best thing about being a woman in agriculture for Ashley is that she likes feeling unique. "Being a woman dairy farmer and truly the one that works and manages the cows is still a rare find." Ashley thinks one way for women in agriculture to succeed is to have help balancing it all. Being a woman in ag means that not only are you responsible for a farm, but also children, the house, and sometimes another job. "We need to know we aren't alone in the struggle of finding balance. We need to know if it's okay that we are stepping back from farm duties to raise our family."

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When she is not farming, Ashley enjoys blogging, writing, and traveling. Even though she doesn't get much free time from the farm, she writes for agriculture publications and for her own blog whenever she finds an extra minute. If you want to know more about Ashley, check out her blog!

related topics: farming, women, agriculture, farm gal

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