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  • Writer's pictureJen

Corporate Ag by Day--->Farmher by Night

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

For the last four years, I have put my homesteading passion on the back-burner so I could build a solid foundation for myself. In college, I had always dreamed of being a farm owner and having my own business relating to the farm. Those dreams are hard to achieve, as farming, and agriculture in general, unfortunately, are becoming a dying industry. That is an ironic progression of events though, considering the World's population has been exponentially increasing.

Me in my chicken coop

Now that I am more established in my career, I am working on building my dream farm business on the side. So now, I am officially corporate agriculture by day, and entrepreneur, side-hustler, Farmher, by night. I know I will most likely never be able to have a full-time business on my own, but I would like to turn my passion-projects into somewhat of a profitable passion-project.

So, what does a typical day look like for me? It looks busy, for starters. It's a good thing I have a restless soul, because I am always doing some kind of project. Each day is different for me, as some days I work out of my home office on the farm. Some days I venture into my work office in Madison, WI. Some days I am driving around the state servicing some of our local farms. Some days I am traveling across the United States (sometimes Canada) to work with farms at every corner of the country.

Most days I wake up, throw a pot of coffee on, then head out to the chicken coop with Ellyeska to let the chickens out for the day. I head inside, make breakfast, and start my day of my corporate job. I am the North America Training Manager for a cattle technology company. I help farmers and ranchers implement our technology into their operations to create a more holistic approach to raising cattle. In a consumer-driven market, the need to reduce hormones and antibiotics is a MUST, so many farmers are looking for alternative ways to make this happen. That's where people like me come into play.

Since I work on farmer's schedules, I work 24/7. This means that I have very laid-back normal "office" hours. I tend to start working around 6:30 am since I am up because my animals don't let me sleep, and sometimes I work late into the night, and sometimes I have light afternoons. It all depends on the day. After I close my laptop for the day, I head outside. I tend to the chickens, then head out to the garden. By time I am done feeding the chickens and locking them up, and working in the garden, it's way past dinner time.

I try to dedicate some time writing blogs and working on my social media as well, but my dedication to a weekly blog post has gotten very hard to make a permanent commitment. If only there were two of me and more time in a day!

Some weeks are much different, though, like this past week.

I started my Monday by jumping onto a plan at 6:00 am to head to southern Arizona. I spent Monday through Wednesday working on a large dairy farm just north of the Mexican border. I worked on installing technology, putting neck collars on cows - 750 cows to be exact, training farmers and other industry professionals about the applications of our technology, and I even got drafted to be the skid-steer operator. The farmer looked at me and said, "You're from Wisconsin right?!?". To which I nodded in agreement to his statement. "Don't you guys take a course in high school on how to drive skid-steers? You probably know how to operate one, so you're in charge of that". Well, to his assumption, I actually DO know how to operate skid-steers as I spent many hours on them while working on farms in college.

Me on the skidsteer in Arizona

I caught a flight out of Arizona Wednesday afternoon and landed back in Wisconsin just shy of midnight, so after my long drive home from the airport I finally settled into bed sometime close to 3 am. I was back at it shortly after 8am, but I had scheduled a vacation day for Thursday and Friday. It was no surprise that even after putting my work life on "do not disturb" mode, I was still getting bombarded by calls, texts, and emails. I ended up sitting down and working for about 1-1.5 hours so I could knock out some important items that needed attention. After that I dedicated my day to working in the garden and getting items ready for Art in the Barn.

Art in the Barn is a local art show that my future Mother-in-Law hosts at her gorgeous barn. She is soo INCREDIBLY talented, and I was both delighted and honored when she asked me to participate in the event. Art in the Barn ran Friday and Saturday, and I had a booth set up to sell some of my homemade and homegrown items. Among the items were eggs, rhubarb, radishes, planted herbs, original canvas prints, homemade candles, and a sign-up sheet for ordering fall chicken meat.

The show ended up being a success, and I was even invited to sell in an upcoming local art show in July. I will post information on my website!

By time Saturday night rolled around I was exhausted! I spent some time with friends and family Saturday night into Sunday, and took a little time for R&R Sunday afternoon before my corporate responsibilities took precedence again come Monday morning.

Somehow in the mix of all this madness, I managed to read 2 books (on the airplane), and write 2 incomplete blog posts. No matter how crazy life gets sometimes, you still need to take a little "me" time. The hectic chaos of life and the endless projects will always be there. If you don't get to it today, it will be there tomorrow still. Most days I am like a chicken running around with its head cut off, but Austin always pulls me back down to Earth and tells me to "breathe".

Get out there and work hard to climb in your career, or kick-start that passion project you have always wanted to. Don't be afraid to fall on your face or get overly excited when new opportunities are knocking on your door. Run a million miles per hour and dive head first into things every once in a while. But at the end of the day, be sure to breathe and enjoy life.


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