Today, we have an amazing woman in agriculture to share named
Katie. She comes to us from Grand Prairie Farms in Illinois. As a
fourth-generation farmer, the farming lifestyle is in Katie's
family. Not to mention, her husband is a seventh-generation farmer.
It just made sense that, together, they would end up with a farm of
Even as a young girl, she only had one plan: to "grow up, marry
a farmer, raise a family and build a life around promoting
agriculture." And she has done just that. Her family consists of
her husband, Andy and kiddos Ethan and Natalie. The farm is truly a
family affair including Andy's parents and brother and
sister-in-law. To Katie, farming is not just a job; it's truly a
lifestyle choice. But it's a life choice that she loves. "It's a
life choice to live on a farm, to farm, to pay the bills from
farming. I love that my kids are learning daily from their
uncles, aunts and grandparents; that they can go to 'work' with
their dad and never leave our farmstead. It's rather
Growing up, Katie was "a passionate young girl who absolutely
loved my life in the country and taking responsibility on the
farm. I thrived on it." With the help of 4-H and FFA, Katie
found even more opportunities available in agriculture which fueled
her passion for farming. With the help of the FFA, Katie grew into
a more confident woman. As a young child, Katie was "an
uncomfortably shy young girl who wasn't all that thrilled
about experiencing life outside of my box of family,
friends and farm." But FFA taught her the importance of connecting
with others and learning the basics of interacting with
people. "I learned the simple things through FFA - a
strong handshake, steady gaze and a smile can take
Her time in the FFA made her an even more successful advocate
for agriculture. With that strong handshake and smile, she has
become an advocate that regularly shares her story. Katie enjoys
sharing the facts with the consumers. "I love light
bulb moments…Gaining new perspective on farming and folks'
relationship to food is so interesting. Watching someone
start to nod in understanding as I describe why we do
what we do is icing on the cake." While she loves the ability to
connect with the consumer and share her passion, she admits, it's
hard to not let the passion overwhelm her.
The passion she has definitely started at a young age. Katie says,
"I grew up trying to prove myself to my grandfather and father,
trying to prove that, even though I was a girl, I could stack a
rack higher and better than anyone else; trying to prove that I was
a worthwhile partner on the farm. Where did that need come
from? Looking back, I can't tell you a time when my
grandfather or father made me feel less than or demanded more of
me. That need to prove my worth as a woman came from me."
Being a woman, however, has not made it harder on her as she shares
her story. "Gender has no bearing on being a good advocate
for agriculture, a good farmer or a good agri-business
person. Agriculture needs good, knowledgeable, respectful
people interested in listening and learning and sharing their
story." We couldn't agree more.
Katie's son teaching others about farm technology.
When it comes to women expanding their role in the ag industry,
Katie had some great insight. "I think women may have found their
niche in agriculture through this movement to share the farm story.
Many are taking to social media, the airwaves and community
meetings to listen and talk. No doubt, barriers will always
exist for woman in agriculture, but I don't think my daughter will
have a tough time finding her place in this industry or on our
farm. She may demand a pink tractor, though." We hope she
is right. We can't wait to have a pink tractor
For more on Katie, check out her blog.