Shine On~Women in Agriculture~Britni Schmaltz
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: Britni Schmaltz
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your career path.
I am a thirty something ranch wife and mother of three children. I married my high-school sweetheart. Prior to graduation my husband bought into custom harvesting and was gone all fall & summer. We were in a substantial amount of debt, pregnant, renting an apartment and only had a microwave stand, stereo and bed to our name. After having a daughter when we were 19, he decided the harvesting gig was keeping him away from raising a family. So he sold it. We bought a cheap dumpy vacant farmhouse and got married. From there we’ve added a couple more little ranch hands, a few cattle trucks, a feed yard, herds of cattle, countless machinery and a ranch. We’ve inherited nothing. Nothing was given to us. At the end of countless months, we only had $5 left in our account thanks to my day job. There’s never a day off.
Neither one of us are college graduates. We had a dream of the life we wanted and we went for it. I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not one day. We’ve made our humble house into a home with pride knowing we earned it. We rebuilt the feed yard with the next generation in mind. Everything is sentimental. Nothing came easy. Hard work, honesty, little sleep and living on love.
Tell us about your role and what does your “typical day” looks like.
‘Typical’ is there such a thing in the ranching world? Depending on the season it differs slightly but we start with sending our two oldest off to school and then we go to checking, feeding, watering, doctoring, fencing, breaking ice and all the other duties involved in the daily care of cattle. Inevitably, something will throw a wrench in the plans you have for the day. The cows will be out or a water line broke. You have to be ready for anything. Every day is an ‘agventure’.
Who is/was your biggest influencer or mentor? What did you learn from them?
I would have to say my husband, Eric. Neither one of us had parents that ranched for a living. We had both been exposed to it but didn’t know the ins and outs of what it all entailed. My husband dove in head first and is self taught. He is always learning & teaching me. He is very cow savvy and plays close attention to their behavior. He is very particular about how are cattle are handled and ensures stress on them is kept as low as possible. Everything I know about cattle came from my husband.
How do you define personal success? How are you working to get there?
To me, you can’t put a dollar amount on personal success. Knowing that we are raising our kids in the best lifestyle available and exposing them to way more than the average kid ever gets to experience, is success to me. Working hard at our family dream every single day is success to me. Looking around and know that all we see and have is because of we weren’t afraid to take risks and go for the lifestyle we both wanted, that is success to me.
How do you think a women’s role(s) in farming/ranching/agriculture has changed over the last decade?
Woman aren’t afraid to work like a man and most actually enjoy it! It’s definitely not for every woman, but the ones that are passionate about it dive in head first and are a force to be reckoned with. I think more than most men want to admit but they depend on the woman in the ag life. Farm/Ranch woman have come along way and wear many hats. They can drive tractors and pull calves.
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?
We’ve had a lot of learning lessons on this journey whether it’s with machinery, hired help, nutrition or business transactions. I don’t believe anything is a mistake per se. It happened because you needed to be taught the hard way. I truly believe your own mishaps are your best lessons learned. The more knowledge and education you gain, you will see those mistakes diminish.
How would you define “women in agriculture” or “women in your career”?”
A strong woman that is hardworking, driven, passionate about land & animals, not afraid to take chances and content with the simple ways of life.
What in your opinion, is the most important topic in the agriculture world right now?
All ag related topics are intertwined. And they are all very equally important. What is going on with crops has a direct impact on the beef industry. Media has a way of skewing information. More people need to be educated on where their food comes from and the myths about food labeling.
What is in your daily toolbox? Planner? Phone? Computer? Special item(s)? Why do you carry it with you?
I’m old school. I have to write everything down in a planner. I like seeing it in print. I am a very visual person. I have my trusty iPhone that is usually left at the house and my husband is always reprimanding me for. While I don’t always carry my phone, I do always have water, snacks and layers of clothing because when leaving the house I have to be prepared. I never know when my next meal will be or if the weather will do a quick switch. (You can add that to mistakes I’ve learned the hard way along the way.)
In closing, do you have any advice, quotes for young women, or anyone that is starting their career in agriculture?
Just because you’re a woman, there’s nothing you can’t do or achieve. Your goals should be limitless and written down where you can see them often. If you don’t have a goal, it’s just a wish. Be eager to learn and never ever stop educating yourself. Surround yourself with positive, knowledgeable people in the industry. You can learn a lot from books and classes but you’re best knowledge and experience will be gained when you do it yourself with your own two hands.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thanks Naomi for thinking of me and sorry it took 6 months to get it back to you!
Britni~Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer a few questions. I am lucky to have you as one of my friends.
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. “
🌟 Your smile is contagious.
🌟You make me want to be a better person.
🌟Your a hard worker and it shows.
🌟Your beautiful inside and out.
🌟I admire your picture taking, caption making post. Whether its on Facebook or Instagram, I always look for your posts. Keep up the good work.
🌟I appreciate your advocacy efforts. Telling our story about the way we live is important and You my friend, are one the the best.
🌟You are an great example.
🌟I know there is nothing that you can not do and that makes those around you, including me, want to try harder each day.
🌟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:
“I don’t know exactly what’s next but I’m stepping forward with grit, anchored in grace” – Julie Graham
My message to you, dear friend is Shine On!!
Thank you for just being YOU!~Naomi
Please head over to Britni’s Instagram and give your a “Follow”.