Shine On~Women in Agriculture~McKenzie Hunter
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, McKenzie.
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: McKenzie Hunter
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your career path.
My name is McKenzie. I grew up on a farm in north east Mississippi. My degree is from Mississippi State and is in Animal Science, concentration beef cattle. After college, JBS Five Rivers hired me as a Manager Trainee at one of their larger feed yards in the Texas Panhandle. I did everything from manage the shipping and receiving cattle, processing protocols, death loss, feeding and bunk reading, I was even allowed to spearhead a resort program!
Back in the spring, I decided that I needed a major change in my life. I knew God was making things “uneasy” to give me that push I needed. So, I had a job offer in Oklahoma that fell through but what does momma always say? Ya better make lemonade out of those lemons He throws at ya! So currently, I am running my own business here in Oklahoma. I train, show, and sell my personal horses. I also have a pretty cool yearling stocker deal going!
Tell us about your role and what does your “typical day” looks like.
Oh boy, that’s a tough one. Things change daily! When it’s super hot, I try to get horses ridden first thing in the morning while it’s cool. However, some days I sit at the sale barn all day buying calves. When I get my calves bought, we let them rest overnight and process them the following day. Typically two weeks after that, we revac them. Sometimes we have sick calves, so they need doctored. Calves have to be checked. It’s an extremely “normal” stocker life. My biggest stress isn’t packing salt and mineral or what calving season might look like. It’s got to be keeping them alive, getting them straight, and providing quality animals to send to the feedyard all while beating the board.
Who is/was your biggest influencer or mentor? What did you learn from them?
Curtis Chisum of the Chisum Ranch in Dalhart America. The man didn’t teach me about cattle, although he’s got some really good advice. Instead, he showed me what type of life I wanted. God gave me my desires and passions for a reason, to do His will. Curtis showed me what it means to live a life like that. He didn’t thump his Bible. Instead, he took kids like me, my best friend, and several other kids in the community under his wing. He set a good example, gave us a mentor to lean on, and showed us how to and what it means to live a Godly life. The Lord used Mr. Curtis’ passions to reach so many kids. It’s UNREAL!
How do you define personal success? How are you working to get there?
Success can have so many definitions and mean different things to different people. I feel like at this point in life, I am successful. I took a leap of faith. Moved to a different state, started my own business, I may not be rolling in the dough but I’m happy, I can feed myself and my animals, and can I work every day to become something better. The only person who can hold me back is myself.
How do you think a women’s role(s) in farming/ranching/agriculture has changed over the last decade?
It’s so funny because I think it depends on what part of the country you’re in and what section of the industry you are apart of. I have friends who are stay at home wives and mothers. Without them staying home to tend to kids and animals, fix supper and do laundry, they wouldn’t be able to afford to do anything and their husbands would be overloaded. I also have friends who cowboy just like the men did traditionally. However, sometimes the girls aren’t allowed to go out on the spring and fall wagon. There are also women who run companies and their different departments and programs. Some even run their own multi thousand acre ranches! All I know is without women, agriculture wouldn’t be where it is today. From moms and wives supporting their husbands and kids to the young ladies who still rope, gather, doctor and brand all the way to those who are bosses! Why? Because agriculture makes up less than 2% of the population. The average rancher is in their 60s. The majority are men. So who is left to fill that gap?
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?
Always listen and keep it simple, stupid! No one is too smart to learn something from someone. Like my dad always said, you can either learn what to do or what not to do! Also, do not over analyze or over think things. If your gut is telling you something don’t second guess yourself!
How would you define “women in agriculture?”
Anyone who is directly involved and is making a difference. Whether you raise and sell livestock or are a an ag teacher, even consumers are involved and don’t even realize it!
What in your opinion, is the most important topic in the agriculture world right now?
The hormone, antibiotic, GMO topics. Why? Because I feel like they can be so negative and it’s because the general public doesn’t understand the “why” and the “how”. We really need to work harder as a community to help educate those who do not understand while exhibiting patience, kindness and understanding.
What is in your daily toolbox? Planner? Phone? Computer? Special item(s)? Why do you carry it with you?
I keep a planner with me at all times! I have to constantly write down appointments, phone numbers, sales information, calf information, everything.
In closing, do you have any advice, quotes for young women, or anyone that is starting their career in agriculture?
Even though agriculture is still a traditional industry, do not allow that to hold you back. You are capable. You are smart. You are talented. You can do anything you set your mind to. God put that passion in your heart for a reason, act on it.
~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 example.
🌟Your a hard worker and it shows.
🌟Your beautiful inside and out.
🌟You are a Bad A** Cowgirl and you ride bad a** horses.
🌟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:
“No Matter How you Feel. Get Up. Look Up. Show Up. Never Give Up.”
My message to you, dear friend is Shine On!!
Thank you for just being YOU!~Naomi
Check out McKenzie on:
Tell her that “The Circle L” sent ya.