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Shine On – Women In Agriculture  Kiah Twisselman

Shine On ~ Women in Agriculture~ Kiah Twisselman

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.   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. Women do play significant roles in agriculture and this series is to spotlight some of those women. 

Shine On~Women In Agriculture featuring: Kiah Twisselman

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your career path. Hi! My name is Kiah Twisselman, a 6th generation rancher turned entrepreneur and life coach. I grew up in rural California where my family has been ranching for more than 130 years. After graduating from UC Davis in Northern California, I made my way to Germany for a year as part of a one year cultural ambassador program. Upon my return, I started my first “big kid” job as the Director of Consumer Affairs for the Kentucky Beef Council. I had the honor of representing Kentucky’s 38,000 beef cattle farmers and sharing their story with consumers through communication and outreach. It was through that role that I realized my passion for using my creative talents to share the story of agriculture. In the fall of 2018 I started doing graphic design and illustration on the side for small farms and ranches across the country, beginning my entrepreneurial journey with my side business Burley & Barley. In February of 2019, my Kentucky gentlemen and now fiancé, Brent, and I moved to my home county in California where he started as the Executive Director of our county Farm Bureau and I went full-time in my creative business. At the same time I started Burley & Barley, I also embarked on a health journey, determined to shed the excess weight I had struggled with ever since I was a kid. I shared honestly and openly about my health journey on social media and slowly friends and family began asking me questions and requesting coaching services which opened my eyes to an all new business venture I had never considered. In August of 2019, Coach Kiah was officially launched and I began doing life coaching and weight loss coaching primarily with other rural women in agriculture alongside my creative business. To date I have lost over 125 pounds and have been recently featured in People Magazine, Good Morning America, Access Hollywood, Daily Mail, and more for my transformation story. While my heart will forever be in agriculture, I have recently decided to pivot my business to allow me to lean into coaching and focus on empowering others to love themselves to health and happiness too. As of July 1st, I am full-time Coach Kiah and on a mission to empower others to love themselves to health and happiness!

Tell us about your role and what does your “typical day” looks like. Each day typically starts the same – a cup of coffee, my journal, and 30 minutes of exercise before diving into the day. Beyond that, my typical day has changed drastically over the last year and half. As a coach, my day is typically behind a computer for a calendar filled with virtual coaching calls. When I’m not coaching, I might be doing media interviews or spending time at my family’s ranch helping with our new direct to consumer beef business. 

Who is/was your biggest influencer or mentor? What did you learn from them? I’ve had some really influential people in my life over the years. The first and greatest mentor I’ve had is my Grandpa Darrell. He is the smartest man I know and has lived such a vibrant life filled with adventure and curiosity. Ever since I was little, he always told me I was destined to work with people. I never really knew what that meant for me or how that might translate into a career, but over the last year and a half I think his words are finally falling into place for me. He has instilled his same curiosity and love for people within me and I’m so grateful for his continued wisdom and support. On a flight from Kentucky to Arizona for Ag Media Summit, I finally read that book so many of my friends were raving about, Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I devoured that book in one flight and it was the words I needed to hear at a time when I was ready to receive them. Her words were my wake-up call that if there was any aspect of my life I wasn’t satisfied with, whether that be my health or career, then it was 100% up to me to change it. That fall, October 1, 2018, is when I started my health journey with Rachel Hollis’ Last 90 Days, practicing 5 simple daily habits to become my best self. They were: 1) Wake up one hour earlier for yourself. 2) Drink half your body weight in ounces of water. 3) Give up one food that doesn’t bless your body. 4) Move your body for at least 30 minutes. 5) Write down 10 things you are grateful for. After 90 days I had already lost 25 pounds and for the first time ever didn’t feel like I was making empty promises to myself come January 1st. It set the foundation for my healthy lifestyle and I can’t thank Rachel enough for being the inspiration for trying again.

How do you define personal success? How are you working to get there? Through my health and entrepreneurial journey, I’ve realized how important it is to celebrate the small wins. I think we often focus on success being these big grand goal accomplishment, which are great, don’t get me wrong, but I think the real magic is in the small, baby step goals we accomplish along the way. Some of my greatest wins on my health journey were being able to comfortably fit into an airplane seat, wrap a towel around my body, or being able to cross my legs like a lady. Each day I wake up with the desire to get just one step closer to the best version of me. Long term personal success isn’t about drastically overhauling our lives all at once, it’s about being intentional to wake up every morning committed to becoming just 1% better than who we were yesterday.

How do you think a women’s role(s) in farming/ranching/agriculture has changed over the last decade? I think this next generation of women ranchers especially is learning to fully embrace our title as farmers or ranchers amongst the men. In the past, I think many women considered themselves to simply be farm or ranch wives and weren’t as likely to wear the title of farmer or rancher with pride. There is nothing wrong with being a farm or ranch wife, but I want every woman in our industry to know they are just as vital to our industry as any man. Whether that’s doing the hard labor, taking care of the cattle, tending to the crops, raising kids, or keeping food on the table for the family and crew. Agriculture has traditionally been seen as a man’s world, but I see that changing and evolving with time. It takes all of us to feed the world – men and women, old and young, urban and rural.

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? When it came to my health, I tried countless fad diets over the years. I would get to a place where I hated myself enough that I was desperate to try again. When I’d slip up and eat something that I “shouldn’t have” or missed a workout, I would beat myself up about it and revert back to food for comfort from my self-shame. This became an endless cycle for me. This last time I decided to try again, I knew I had to learn from all my failed attempts before and do something different. That difference for me was learning to love myself FIRST instead of thinking that the weight loss would be what made me finally feel worthy of love. That mindset change completely transformed my life and has allowed me to empower so many others along the way to love themselves to health and happiness too. I think it’s important that we rethink failure in our lives. Instead of seeing mistakes as a stopping point, it’s so important that we instead view them as our greatest teacher along the way. Instead of fearing failure, we should embrace it and recognize that through failure there is growth. And growth is a challenging but beautiful thing.

How would you define “women in agriculture?” I would define “women in agriculture” as any woman working to produce, process, market, or support agriculture in whatever way that may be. I grew up in production agriculture on my family’s cattle rancher. I worked for agricultural advocacy organizations for years and supported ag businesses through marketing and communications. Today as a full-time life coach, some might think I’m no longer in agriculture. I would argue, however, that my role has simply transformed. Now I have an opportunity to use my platform as a voice for our industry, which is just as important for agriculture as the men and women that are working in it each and every day. It takes all kinds of kinds and I’m honored to find a way to continue being a woman in agriculture as my career path continues to evolve with me.

What in your opinion, is the most important topic in the agriculture world right now? I think the most important topic in agriculture is communication. In fact, I think that’s the most important topic in society right now. Less than 2% of the population is involved in agriculture yet we feed 100% of the population. With the gap between consumers and producers growing larger by the generation, it is more important than ever that we continue to share our story. Sharing stories is able to build bridges between worlds. It helps create trust and understanding, especially at a time when there seems to be so much divide. We can’t simply expect consumers to understand how their food is raised or trust that it is raised responsibly unless we continue to share our voice, and more importantly, unless we LISTEN to their concerns.

What is in your daily toolbox? Planner? Phone? Computer? Special item(s)? Why do you carry it with you? I suppose I’m a typical millennial – you’ll rarely find me without my smartphone! It’s where I do most of my business besides on my computer and how I stay connected with friends, family, and clients. It’s also how I document all the things, I love taking photos! As much as I love the digital world, I’m also a die-hard paper planner and journal user. There’s something about pen and paper that is so therapeutic. My other favorite accessory that I carry with me wherever I go is my water bottle. It’s plastered with some of my favorite stickers I’ve illustrated for myself and clients!

In closing, do you have any advice, quotes for young women, or anyone that is starting their career in agriculture? Don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big. Dream BIG, even if it scares you. Heck, even if it scares other people! Amazing things can happen when we start believing in ourselves. Will it be challenging? Absolutely. Nobody is entitled to having it easy. You’ll fail, a lot, but whatever you do, don’t let it stop you. Failure is guaranteed, standing back up is a choice. Learn from every mistake and failure along the way and stand right back up on the other side even stronger. It will take a lot of hard work to get there, but your dreams are absolutely worth chasing. 

Is there anything you would like to add? If you’d like to connect on social you can find me on Instagram @kiah_twisselman or on Facebook at Coach Kiah. If you’re interested in learning more about my story or exploring coaching, visit Stay tuned, later this summer I will be launching my first ever digital course teaching others how to live life with intention to lovingly lose the weight for good. Sign up for my newsletter on my website to be the first to know when more details are available!

Thank you Kiah for taking the time to share your story on Circle L. 

Here are a few more reasons that you help me Shine On:

🌟I love your attitude. Your good attitude on everything you do does not go unnoticed. 

🌟 I admire your outlook on life. 

🌟Your a hard worker and it shows.

🌟Your beautiful inside and out.

🌟I admire your story.  

🌟I appreciate your advocacy efforts. Telling your story is so helpful and I admire you helping those along the way.

🌟You are an great example. 

🌟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: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” -Dale Carnegie

And you my friend, are one of those strong women.

My message to you, dear friend is Shine On!! Thank you for just being YOU!~Naomi

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