Shine On~Women in Agriculture~Wanda Patsche
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, Wanda.
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: Wanda Patsche
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your career path.
I am a farmer located in southern Minnesota. We raise pigs and grow corn and soybeans. We have been farming for over 40 years. My career path has been varied. I worked off the farm for the first 20 years of our marriage. This allowed us to put food on the table and put revenue back into our farming business. I was employed by a local manufacturing company, Weigh-Tronix, where we manufactured electronic scales. I worked in Information Technology. I have also worked as a computer consultant and insurance agent. As of late, I spend much of my time either on the farm, performing agvocacy and working with the Minnesota Ag in the Classroom program.
Tell us about your role and what does your “typical day” looks like.
So I really don’t have a typical day. Our farm labor division designates me as the person to handle all the accounting tasks and help with the field work in the spring and fall. I am the combine operator in the fall—the best job ever. I am on the county Corn and Soybean board and the Minnesota Pork Board. So lots of meetings result from that.
Who is/was your biggest influencer or mentor? What did you learn from them?
I don’t think I have a particular person as a mentor. I think groups have influenced me the most. I attended multiple AGChat conferences and they were a huge influence on me. I also am a graduate of the MARL (Minnesota Ag Rural Leadership) program—a truly life-changing experience.
How do you define personal success? How are you working to get there?
Personal success is making a difference in the world. It doesn’t matter what difference, how big or small, but that you try to make a difference in the world or even with in your family or community. I look at each day and try to find something I can contribute. My comfort zone is to work on the “sidelines” of life. I don’t need to be front and center. I like working in the trenches, so to speak.
How do you think a women’s role(s) in farming/ranching/agriculture has changed over the last decade?
Women’s roles have changed immensely in farming. When we first started farming, women had a less significant role. Now I see women who run hog barns on their own—something that never happened before.
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?
I probably regret not going to college after high school. I did go later as a non-traditional student. It taught me to have no regrets in life. Go for it—don’t hold back. I nearly backed out of the MARL program. I am so glad I didn’t listen to others who were trying to convince me not to participate. It truly was life-changing for me. It allowed me to visit another country and learn from other cultures.
How would you define “women in agriculture” or “women in your career”?”
Women in agriculture has a very large definition. We are many. We are varied. And it’s all okay. I become frustrated when women want to paint women in agriculture in a box. We are all agriculture, no matter what anyone else tells us.
What in your opinion, is the most important topic in the agriculture world right now?
I think the most important topic in agriculture right now is allowing farmers to farm. There are so many pressures, many political, that are putting regulations in place that makes it very difficult to farm. Along with that, the misinformation about how food is grown or raised is also an important topic. And one that I am personally passionate about.
What is in your daily toolbox? Planner? Phone? Computer? Special item(s)? Why do you carry it with you?
My daily toolbox includes a paper planner, paper calendar, computer, iPhone. I also have my calendar on my phone. I carry my iPhone with me continually—it’s my connection to the outside world.
In closing, do you have any advice, quotes for young women, or anyone that is starting their career in agriculture?
My advice is to follow your passions. Also to understand that your passion may change over time and that is okay. Work at a job/career that your voice raises and races when you talk about it because you are that excited about it. And enjoy it, bumps and all.
Is there anything you would like to add?
The only other thing I would like to add is to remember that life is all about relationships. Personal and professional. Have good communication skills, don’t burn bridges because I can almost guarantee you will need them later down the road. Life is an amazing journey so be kind and respectful.
Wanda~Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer a few questions. I am thankful that our paths crossed.
Here are a few more reasons that you help me Shine On:
🌟You have a good attitude on everything you do. I appreciate your “Just Get it Done!”
🌟 I love your story.
🌟You make me want to be a better Advocate for Ag.
🌟Your a hard worker and it shows.
🌟I love your example. Your ability to educate the younger generation about Ag is awesome and it doesn’t go unseen.
🌟I admire your involvement in agriculture associations and your community.
🌟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:
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.~Helen Keller
My message to you, dear friend is Shine On!!
Thank you for just being YOU!~Naomi
Make sure to check out Wanda’s Blog, Minnesota Farm Living!
“Minnesota Farm Living is about connecting consumers with those who grow their food. I share my passions — my life, my farm, and my family.”