Ag 101 Week 12

I love My Job


It's been a year since I launched my website and spoke at a conference for the first time as 


On the outside, not much as changed. The website is humming along and getting more traffic, with updates and changes coming. I'm still speaking at conferences and will be back at Farm to Table 2018 in Pittsburgh where it all began. I am still working with farmers. I even partnered with some amazing groups in the industry that have shown support beyond what I could ever imagine or even pay them back for.  

So here is where things are different since March 20, 2017

I'm writing more than I have since college 

As a stay at home mom, and even though I homeschool our kids, I had no need to write anything other than checks to pay bills and notes to the kids about school work. Neither required research or for that matter any real involved thought. Now I write for my website, emails, presentations, and recommendations for the growers I work with. 

I never even thought I'd write because I loudly proclaim on any given day how much I hate doing it. Now I'm writing pretty much every day and seem to come up with an endless supply of ideas. 

I haven't always been eloquent or grammatically correct. My junior year of college my ecology professor informed me I wrote like a third grader. The next semester I had him for my senior project which included a lengthy paper and presentation. I came to the conclusion I was pretty much screwed and going to fail. I decided I needed all the help I could get and asked for it from the library ladies. With their commitment to my plight, I managed to pull out an A for the course.

Just last year I meant the professor's cousin at a talk I was giving. She said she was going to report back to him I had turned out better than okay. As a matter of fact, she enjoyed the presentation and learned a few things that evening. 

Thank you, Dr. Mertz. It was the push I needed to get better.

Now I write because I saw a need in the industry and want to be able to fill it. I started the 52 Weeks of Agronomy Series because the more people I talked to the more I realized there is an entire generation that doesn't understand or have never heard of basic agronomic principles. 

I've changed my motive but not my purpose


"What got you here, won't get you there."

-Nick Burton


Maybe someone else said it before he did, but he's the guy I heard it from and it's been repeating in my head since. This morning I finally got it. My motives for starting my own business were frankly selfish and negative. I wanted to prove a bunch of jerks they were wrong. 

This morning I finally had that moment when I realized I was building a business based on what I don't like about an industry instead of what I respect and excites me about an industry.

I started working for myself because-

1. I didn't like how I was being treated, nor how I saw farmers being treated.

2. I had become increasingly bored out of frustration and disillusioned by the Ag Industry.  

3. I was tired of being ignored and told I was useless. 

4. I was tired of being told I didn't belong and couldn't do things. 

5. More than all of that  - I wanted to leave a farm better than I found it

All valid reasons but not the most positive. Then I heared that quote in my head again.

"What got you here, won't get you there."

All of that has gotten me here. Where I'm at right now and all I have accomplished this past year. Not to say that is all bad. I've done some really cool things, been on the best farms ever, and work with some of the best in agriculture. I'm also very thankful for all the support along the way. But the motives I've had won't get me any further. Those won't help me take my work to the next level and help reach more of the people who need it - The Farmer

Here is my take on the direction of my work now

1. The things that hurt me the most are the things that have pushed me to become a better agronomist than I ever thought I could be. It made me see what and who matter the most. And if companies and organizations supporting farmers are successful that means the farmer is successful. 

2. If I'm bored now it's because I have a lack of or misguided focus. I have to be the one to correct it and remind myself  who I'm doing this for.

3. I want my work to matter and help people. I do feel there is too much noise in the industry but no one else can deliver the information the way I can and I have fun doing it.

4. I've never thought in terms of someone not belonging for superficial reasons like gender or appearance until it was pointed out by others. I had no idea my hair, tattoos, and car could cause so many issues. Nor did I have any idea I could fail. Whether I belong, fit in, or have the potential to fail miserably, it doesn't matter. Now, instead of proving to others what I should be doing, want to do, or can do

I want to show a farmer how to elevate their operation to be the best at what they're doing  

5. Now I have the freedom to be unbiased, honest, and forthright about what I feel it will take a farmer to succeed. Whether it's fertilizer, management, or in one recent case ripping everything out and starting over that farms success is the goal. 

So, the not so nice parts of the industry that still frustrates and ticks me off aren't the focus anymore. I've done everything they said I couldn't do. I've been places they said I couldn't go. I've worked with people they said I didn't fit in with. What motivates me now is not proving them all wrong, but helping farmers succeed. My focus now is to  

work with farmers to help them better understand agronomic principles and how to apply them to their farm and make it the best it can be 

So what's all this got to do with agronomy anyway?!

Well, I'm an agronomist and agronomist have feelings too. All of the stuff I've been through, put up with, watched, and listen to has made me the agronomist I am today -unbiased and honest.

 I've taught our kids to love or care for people and use things. Agronomy is a thing, and it should be used to elevate the people who need it the most - the farmers. Just as the crop is the thing and the farmer uses it to show who they care about - their families and customers.

I use agronomy to show I care about farmers 

I will be the first to admit I am still the same opinionated Pennsyltuckian Redneck with some things to say. Okay, a lot to say.  I say it because I care, and I care enough to honest. 

What I can honestly say is that after one year,

''I still love my job"

because it all comes back to the people I do it for and with - The Farmer

Last but not least, that same thought

"What got you here, won't get you there."

Can be applied to your farm or garden. What are you doing as far as fertilizing, cover cropping, cultural practices, or crop rotations that could be revisited to take your farm to the next level? 

 Just as I had to ask myself where I want to be and what I have to get there, you can do the same.