Amazing Woman in Ag: Kaitlyn

Today, we are sharing a new amazing woman in agriculture. Kaitlyn grew up on a family farm in northeastern South Dakota, where they raised spring wheat, corn, and soybeans. Her father is a custom harvester so he spent most of the summer months harvesting wheat in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, central South Dakota and North Dakota. When her parents divorced when she was 15, Kaitlyn joined her mom in Oklahoma, where they had horses and a small herd of Low Line Angus cattle. Kaitlyn predicted that moving to Oklahoma would be the end of production agriculture for her, but she was wrong! Throughout high school, she spent every summer with her dad on the wheat run, running the tractor and grain cart and helping with the accounting. 

Having grown up in agriculture ignited her passion for it and led her to pursue a degree in agricultural communications at Oklahoma State University which was just the beginning. "Through a few internships, lots of classes, and some really good mentoring, I ended up with a sales trainee position at Monsanto upon graduation. With Monsanto, I moved to Michigan for a 10-month period (surviving the snowiest, coldest winter in decades while I was there). I fell in love with my company and knew I had found one of the best workplaces in the industry."

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"I was about 9 years old in this photo, helping put lids back on the boxes of my dad's planter in South Dakota. I was started early in farming!"

It seems as though everything was falling into place for Kaitlyn but her boyfriend had other plans! "Right before I graduated, the love of my life asked me to marry him. As it happens, he is a farmer and rancher from the Texas Panhandle so when I moved to Michigan, he stayed on his farm - in Texas. After proving my worth to Monsanto, I eventually had the opportunity to switch to a new position as the marketing communications specialist for our WestBred wheat group. In March 2014, I hopped on a plane to Texas, and I'll be here...forever. Seven months in and now happily married, I'm loving it and still learning a whole lot about Texas!"

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Kaitlyn's favorite part of farming is that it's her true passion. She says it better than we could…" I was standing in a wheat field at sunset near Harper, KS. It had been raining that summer, and we were struggling to get the crop out. Our combines had been stuck a couple of times that day, and I remember being tired and wishing we could just get done. Then I saw the sky break into the most amazing display of orange, red and yellow. The dust from the combines was hanging in the air, adding to the dramatic effect of the sunset. You don't get those moments just anywhere, and I realized that while most people spent their lives in cities and working jobs that helped people live longer, communicate easier and travel faster, they all depended on those of us who were bringing the harvest in - even if they didn't know me or what I was doing. That was a turning point for me - my moment of realization that agriculture is my passion."

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"Selfie while plowing this spring in Texas. You get lots of time to think when in the tractor, and sometimes, it is very refreshing!"

Kaitlyn's passion doesn't stop there. "I absolutely love watching plants grow. It really is an amazing process, seeing a tiny seed turn into a plant capable of producing so much food, feed, fuel or fiber. I also enjoy seeing the processes our raw products go through to reach the end user. Seriously, it is pretty darned awesome watching a cotton seed turn into a cotton plant which produces cotton fiber that is then harvested, ginned, weaved and then turned into a pair of blue jeans. I just wish more people knew and appreciated all of the work that goes into those blue jeans."

One thing we know is a challenge for lots of farmers out there is relating to the consumer and Kaitlyn understands this. "It is so hard for me to relate to someone who knows nothing about production agriculture because I can't imagine my life without it. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't grown up around agriculture, hadn't spent endless hours in a tractor or combine cab, hadn't dealt with the worry that it wouldn't rain for our crops to grow, hadn't seen farmers struggling to make ends meet when it didn't rain. For me, agriculture is a real tangible part of everyday life, and it is really challenging for me to remember to explain some of the simple things to non-ag people. This is a challenge I'm working on daily, but I definitely have a long way to go."

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Kaitlyn and her husband Royce with cotton in the background.

When Kaitlyn is not helping out on the farm or working, she enjoys riding horses, photography, playing with her two awesome Australian Shepherds (Ranger & Rori), reading and driving the tractor and/or riding in tractors/sprayers/combines with her husband.

We love to hear about women who are working hard and making it in agriculture and Kaitlyn agrees! "We have to stop thinking of ourselves as 'just a farmer's wife' - we most definitely are farmers alongside our husbands. I am so amazed and proud of the women in agriculture who are doing a great job on social media reaching consumers. To those women, keep up the great work! You serve as role models for me!"  

If you want to find out more about Kaitlyn, you can check out her blog at www.becomingtexan.com!

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Comments

Stephanie - Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 1:43:27 PM
Love the great story on my girl, Kaitlyn! So proud of her and her commitment to agriculture.
Lou Shupert - Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 6:58:01 PM
i am so proud of you and the amazing young lady that you have become

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