Shine On~Women in Agriculture~Natasha Mortenson
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 this Shine On Lady, Natasha.
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: Natasha Mortenson
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your career path.
I was born on a crop farm and didn’t grow up with livestock, except for a few show livestock animals. I wasn’t proud to be a “farmkid” until I entered my first Agriculture Education class in 9th grade. Finally I found my place. I decided as a 9th grader to be an Agriculture Teacher in the future. I attended the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and earned my Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Education, which led me to my first job in Morris, MN. I married my high school sweetheart, who also has a passion for agriculture. I taught Ag and advised FFA for 14 years before taking a position in Community Relations at Riverview, LLP. Now, I spend my time teaching students in many different schools about Agriculture, focusing on Beef, Dairy and Crop Production. My kids also run a few cows and show livestock. I am extremely passionate about teaching others about agriculture and helping people find a future in an agricultural career path. I also love to present to all age groups on how they can advocate for agriculture.
Tell us about your role and what does your “typical day” looks like.
I can honestly say there are not many days that are “typical”, which I love! I spend my time working in elementary, middle and high school classrooms. These lessons are based on many different topics in agriculture. My ultimate goal is to get as many kids as possible on the farm to have hands-on experiences with our livestock, both dairy and beef. I enjoy working and volunteering with 4H and FFA groups as well. I also find ways to get involved in our community locally and in the agriculture community in our community and state. We definitely want to have a presence on social media as well with the intent of teaching agricultural practices to others related to agriculture production.
Who is/was your biggest influencer or mentor? What did you learn from them?
My biggest influencer in my life was all of my fellow agriculture teachers in Minnesota. I learned passion, dedication, and love for the agriculture industry through them. I can honestly say these people are all the most dedicated people I know and will give their all to leading young people both personally and professionally.
How do you define personal success? How are you working to get there?
I define personal success as the ability to live your true passion. My passion is to teach others about agriculture and create enthusiasm for a future in agriculture. I strive to find every opportunity to work with young people. The most important factor to success is continuously learn, never assuming I know enough. Agriculture is such a diverse subject and I love learning.
How do you think a women’s role(s) in farming/ranching/agriculture has changed over the last decade?
Woman can do anything they find passion for in production agriculture. Woman are running farms and ranches all over this country. There are no boundaries for women. NONE! I believe men have realized that woman are valuable assets to the farm/ranch. Not only for raising a family and making a meal, but for labor and intelligence.
Learning from our mistakes is an important part of life. Would you mind helping others and share a mistake that you have made and what it taught you in the process?
One of the biggest mistakes I have made (and sometimes continue to make) is not trusting others to help me. I often have this feeling that I shouldn’t impose on others and shouldn’t ask for help. I will drive myself crazy and run myself ragged because I don’t ask for help. I am trying to improve and lean on others for support and help.
How would you define “women in agriculture” or “women in your career”?”
Women that are dedicated and passionate about growing crops and raising livestock with love and compassion for the animals, the environment and their communities.
What in your opinion, is the most important topic in the agriculture world right now?
I feel that the lack of agriculture education programs in urban AND some rural areas and the lack of agriculture teachers is a detriment to the agriculture industry. A strong and robust agricultural education system in our schools would be the answer to many of the consumer issues agriculture faces.
What is in your daily toolbox? Planner? Phone? Computer? Special item(s)? Why do you carry it with you?
My phone has it ALL. I have my calendar, email, and social media on one device. It is SUPER handy and allows me to work from anywhere. I always have a notebook and post-its available for note-taking. There are always things I need to write down! I also ALWAYS have chapstick! Very important!
In closing, do you have any advice, quotes for young women, or anyone that is starting their career in agriculture?
Do not ever, ever let anyone discourage you from following your dreams and developing your passions. Never assume you are done learning, because at that moment you will stop growing.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thanks for highlighting woman in AG….this is lovely!
Natasha~Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer a few questions. I am lucky that our paths crossed.
Here are a few more reasons that you help me Shine On:
🌟I love your attitude. You differently made a difference in my life.
🌟 I love your passion about teaching others. I know that my ag teacher made a huge impact on my life and I am guessing that You have made a huge impact on many kids.
🌟I appreciate your efforts in teaching people the “truths” about where their food comes from and not to buy in on fear marketing.
🌟Your a hard worker and it shows.
🌟Your beautiful inside and out.
🌟I admire your interview skills. You where awesome.
🌟Your go-get-them attitude is a great example for those of us around you.
🌟Strong women stand together when things get rough, hold each other up when they need support, and laugh together when there’s no reason to.
When I think of you, this quote comes to mind:
“Never fear standing out, being BOLD, being YOU and being PHENOMENAL!
My message to you, dear friend is Shine On!!
Thank you for just being YOU!~Naomi
You can find Natasha on: