By Madeline Schultz | December 8, 2022
Tara Neal is a 2022 Women Impacting Agriculture Honoree. She is an Administrative & Sales Assistant at Nutrien Ag Solutions and operates JAC Farms and MCTA Pork with her family in Des Moines County.
Nutrien Ag Solutions has a valued office administrator in Tara. She has supported the chemical, fertilizer, and seed sales at the Mediapolis location for 18 years. In that role, she organizes many events incorporating learning opportunities for growers and community members. Some of these events include grower meetings on various agronomic topics, community meetings with stakeholders on farm estate planning, and anhydrous ammonia safety training for growers and first responders. She works with ISU Extension and Outreach on farm safety day camps for local youth. She enjoys hosting the local high school and community college agriculture students and offers agronomic lessons and tours of the Nutrien retail facility.
Tara and her sister, Amanda, along with their spouses, Greg and Ben, own and operate JAC Farms and MCTA Pork, a grain and swine farming operation. Tara is responsible for the farm bookkeeping and very involved in farm decision-making. Together with their parents, Tara and Amanda carefully researched how to make a successful farm transition plan. They tapped into accountants, farm business professionals, and attorneys to start executing their transition plans in 2020. The daughters and their spouses now are responsible for day-to-day operations and long-term decision making for the grain and swine farm.
Staying innovative is important to Tara and her family. They currently use solar panels for farm electricity generation and precision farming practices such as grid soil sampling and applying variable rate fertilizer. Tara and her family practice no-till on the highly erodible acres and work with the local USDA-NRCS office to create land management plans such as building terraces.
Tara is most proud of being able to manage home, farm, and work by creating a culture of care for each. Tara strives to make sure there is clear and frequent communication with the family members in the farm operation. It is important to her that the family keeps their strong friendships and relationships as well as being business partners.
A proud alum, Tara graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Agricultural Education in 2002. She values her education and time spent at ISU and maintains relationships that provide her with important agricultural insights. Tara looks to ISU for tools, information, and technologies she can use in her farming operation to make better agronomic and business decisions.
She served on the Des Moines County Extension Council from 2013-2016, contributing as secretary, vice president, and president. She was on the personnel committee and was responsible for identifying key needs in her county and hiring people into roles that would meet those needs.
Tara taught high school agriculture for two years before starting her position at Nutrien Ag Solutions. She has always been a big supporter of 4-H and FFA in her community. Tara was part of an Agriculture Advisory Board that laid the groundwork and started the Mediapolis FFA Alumni Program. She is a member of the Southeastern Community College Agriculture Advisory Council. Tara recently started a homeschool cooperative in Mediapolis and develops many agricultural-themed lessons. She volunteers to be a teacher and leader for her church’s Kid’s Club program and holds a position on the community fellowship committee. Tara is known to be an active member of her community and can be found at most community events lending a helping hand or advocating for youth and agriculture.
At the 2022 Women in Ag Leadership Conference, Tara shared, "I pray that you all find success in your endeavors and livelihoods."