Shine On~ Women in Agriculture~Kay Schrock
Shine On, Shine On was the subject of a blog post that I did a while back.
Here is the link to my first Shine On, Shine On post! I have decided that there are a lot of people that help me “Shine” and I am going to feature them on my Shine On, Shine On series.
This year I decided to start a new spin on my Shine On series and add a little more of agricultural spin. I am excited to be bringing you these interviews. My goal is to share these fine ladies stories with you all. Help me welcome my second Shine On Lady, Kay Schrock.
From historic homesteaders to contemporary cattle ranchers, women have been the cornerstone of America’s agriculture heritage. In fact, the 2012 Census of Agriculture notes that nearly 1 million women are working America’s lands. That is nearly a third of our nation’s farmers. Women are also scientists, economists, foresters, veterinarians, and conservationists. Women are in the boardrooms and the corner offices of international enterprises, and are the owners and operators of small businesses. Women are property owners and managers. Women are policymakers and standard bearers. Women are involved in every aspect of agriculture.
Shine On~Women In Agriculture featuring: Kay Schrock
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your career path.
I am a stay-at-home mom and wife. I am very careful what I allow in my life that takes me away from my home. As my kids get older, I am setting aside more time to write, photograph ranch life, and work on my blog. My goals are to become a better horsewoman, learn more about cattle health, and be able to help more on the ranch.
Tell us about your role and what does your “typical day” looks like.
I get up early to spend time in Bible reading and prayer. Then I make breakfast for my family, and homeschool our kids. Usually I workout for 30 minutes each day, or go for a run! Winter days are spent mostly at home in the house. In the summer, I spend a lot of time outside; riding with my husband, moving cows, checking mineral and water, etc. I also love gardening and puttering around my yard. We go to a lot of brandings in the summer as well. Usually I take my camera and get a lot of photos!
My husband is a hired hand on this ranch, but I was not hired on, so I don’t have any responsibilities on the ranch. But I do enjoy helping and learning, so I am out there when I can make it work! I do cook for the crew when they are working cattle on this end of the ranch.
Who has been (who is) your biggest influencer mentor? What have (did) you learn from them?
In photography, my biggest mentor is Chris Dickinson. He has shared his knowledge generously with me and many others. He taught me to see life through my lens with my heart. To pick out and capture what makes me go “aaahhh!”
In motherhood, one of my biggest examples has been Sally Clarkson. She shares openly the struggle of being a busy mom, and how to find rest and renewal in the midst of it all.
In ranching, I pretty much just try to be open to learn from anyone better than myself – which is nearly anyone, since I don’t know much at all!
How do you define personal success? How do you get there?
I believe success is being content and happy every day. The only way I know to get there is to live life for God instead of myself, be thankful, think of others more and myself less, and to be generous and kind to everyone. To find beauty and blessing in every day and every small thing.
How do you think women’s role(s) in farming/ranching/agriculture has changed over the last decade?
Well, I see fewer women in traditional mom/wife roles. Many women have to work in town to help support the family. Many more are starting side businesses to supplement the income. I see it becoming more acceptable for ranches to hire on women, and that is a good thing. I also see a lot of women making a fuss about being a female rancher, or wanting to be recognized as a woman who can do everything that men do. Personally, I want to be treated differently than the guys – I don’t want to lose my femininity in my quest for equality.
Learning from our mistakes is an important part of life, but sometimes rough, part of life. Would you mind helping others and share your mistake that you have made but taught you something important?
Once, I bought a pony colt without having the knowledge to train it. I eventually gave it away, and it has since been trained and sold as a kids pony. I thought watching a few dvd’s would give me the skills to train her. She was ‘just a pony’, after all. But I should have taken time to go watch and learn from a real horse trainer. Then worked my way up to where I had the skills, before trying to train a fresh colt. No one was hurt, the pony wasn’t messed up, but it was a waste of my time and money. If I want to do something right, it is worth some time and money on learning the skills.
How would you define “women in agriculture?”
I would say any woman who has a job in agriculture, or her husband works in agriculture. Ranching, farming, advocacy, etc.
What in your opinion, is the most important topic in the agriculture world right now?
Bridging the gap between organic vs. traditional food sources, and the care of animals. GMO’s, organics, pesticide usage, animal care… all things that scared consumers want to know about, but unfortunately they are often misinformed. I would like to see more quality, easy-to-understand websites and initiatives on this subject. Education is a powerful tool. If we can help consumers understand the truth, they will be more willing to buy our products.
What is in your daily toolbox? Planner? Phone? Computer? Special item(s) Why do you carry it with you?
Phone is a necessity! Calculator, calendar, camera, notes, and so much more! You can create a spreadsheet to track calving, pasture usage, or just about anything, then create a shortcut (like an app) so you can access it on your phone.
I try to carry a knife anytime I am outside. If I am horseback, I carry energy bars, chapstick and water, because it is so dry out here, and you never know how long you may be gone.
In closing, do you have any advice, quotes for young women, or anyone for that, starting their career in agriculture?
If you really want to live this life, then be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up. The perfect job will not be handed to you on a silver platter. You have to prove that you can work hard, be dependable, and just be a decent human being. You may have to start out working for free on the weekends to get some experience. Be creative! Find someone you look up to and ask if you can help them. Never burn your bridges. You never know who you may need later, or who may need you. Relationships are extremely important. Be gracious, don’t gossip, be kind, be diligent. Good help is hard to find – be that good help and you can get a job anywhere.
Is there anything you would would like to add?
Never think you know it all! Never stop learning. And be careful what you put online – even private messages can be screen-shot. 🙂
Kay~Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer a few questions. I appreciate all you do. I also appreciate our few chats and your support!
Here are a few more reasons that you help me Shine On:
🌟You have a good attitude on everything you do. I appreciate your “GO TO IT ATTITUDE.”
🌟I admire your willingness.
🌟I admire your faith!
🌟You are a great example.
🌟Your a hard worker and it shows.
🌟I love your western story. I love that you share it. Keep up the good work.
🌟Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart, and nourish your soul.
My message to you, dear friend is Shine On!!
Thank you for just being YOU!
Want to follow Kay?