Eight Iowa Women to Receive Recognition for Work in Agriculture
ISU Extension and Outreach will honor eight women for exceptional contributions to agriculture during the 2016 Farm Progress Show
The shifting, growing role of women in production agriculture signaled the need for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to create a new program focused on women. Over the last several years, the program has expanded the research-based education specifically designed for and offered to women. The Women in Agriculture program will introduce a special recognition during Farm Progress Show to showcase the lives of eight outstanding Iowa women.
The honorees were selected from applications submitted by ISU Extension and Outreach employees across the state. They demonstrate exceptional contributions to managing and working with livestock and farmland, and providing professional agricultural services.
“ISU Extension and Outreach has so many wonderful connections with inspiring women working in Iowa agriculture,” said Madeline Schultz, Women in Agriculture program manager. “The Women Impacting the Land recognition gives us a meaningful way to honor these women and share their stories.”
The women will be introduced and their stories shared at the Iowa State exhibit during Farm Progress Show Aug. 30 – Sept.1. Several women will be on hand each day to meet visitors and talk about their experiences. A special recognition ceremony will be held at noon each day on the Iowa State speaker’s stage.
Cathy Ayers – Indianola
Ayers is a Warren County Soil and Water District commissioner and region 6 director for Conservation Districts of Iowa. The help she received from the district after inheriting her family farm in 2008 inspired her to serve. Ayers built terraces, then shifted to no-till and using cover crops. She enrolled some of her land in CRP, including the CRP Pollinator Program. Ayers produces corn, soybeans and hay on her farm.
Nancy Bohl Bormann – LuVerne
Bohl Bormann, an Iowa State alum, is an environmental services manager and agronomist for Maschhoff Environmental, Inc. She works with swine producers on nutrient management planning and leads a systems analysis program that looks at company-wide practices to address environmental challenges. Bohl Bormann and her husband, Matt, use strip-till in their crop production, serve as consultants and have a custom strip tillage business.
Kathy Dice – Wapello
Dice is a strong proponent of perma-cropping systems using chestnut, pawpaw, persimmon, aronia and other trees and perennial plants. These crops stabilize the soil since there is no need for annual cultivation. She and her husband Tom Wahl own Red Fern Farm, an innovative tree and perennial plant nursery, as well as fruit and nut productions.
Jean Driscoll – Mechanicsville
Driscoll and her late husband, George, started farming with lots of time but not much money, often seeking help from local extension specialists. The couple started no-till in the 1970s – a huge success for them. As their farming operation grew, Driscoll continued to participate in extension farm management courses. Today, she and two sons farm 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans, and operate a farrow to finish swine herd with 350 sows.
April Hemmes – Hampton
Hemmes has been a farmer for 31 years, implementing conservation practices in Franklin County and traveling the world to tell others about sustainably raised crops. She developed a wetland on her farm; added filter strips along streams, as well as wildlife habitat, a pollinator plot, and pasture; and uses no-till and conservation till on her corn and soybean acres. She mentors young people in FFA and 4-H and is a spokesperson for organized agricultural groups for women.
Jenni Peters – Bellevue
Peters welcomes groups to her farm and shares information about the non-traditional strategies her family uses with their bred heifer market – hand feeding and rotating pen/pastures for quiet heifer dispositions; crop rotation of corn, soybean, hay and pasture to maintain soil; pasture rotation for better weed control; and pasture water tanks formed using tiling, springs and cement basins. She travels internationally on behalf of the trade mission to increase global demand for U.S. beef and pork.
Amy Petersen – Muscatine County
Petersen is the fourth woman of her family to operate the Majestic-Manor Dairy farm, which has passed from mother to daughter over four generations. Petersen and her husband, David, manage the dairy as a closed-loop system where the cows feed the soil, the soil feeds the crops and crops feed the cows. Their innovation has earned them awards and public recognition, including being featured in a 2015 PBS documentary, “This American Land.”
Julie Walters – Villisca
Walters’ passion for the family cow herd and equestrian activities has been encouraged and supported by her connections to ISU Extension and Outreach. The application of what she has learned is paying off in her recordkeeping, pasture management, and soil erosion control related to her cattle operation. By applying her leadership, entrepreneurship and lifelong experiences with horse projects, she now guides youth in Page County as the 4-H horse superintendent at the fair.
Videos telling the women’s stories are being posted online at www.extension.iastate.edu/womeninag.