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Ask Me About My Farm: Be Brave

Hey ya'll! Welcome back to another Ask Me About my Farm Series featuring the farmer's daughter, cancer survivor, and dog mom, Jessica. She's been so kind to open up and share her Ag story with us as well as the battles she has recently faced. Jessica is from my neck of the woods, (shout out to West Central IL!) and I'm going to let her take it from here!

WHO:  Jessica Hart

WHERE: Adair, Illinois (west central Illinois)

FARMS WHAT:  corn and soybeans and occasionally some wheat

JOB:  Seed Specialist for Helena Chemical Co.
          Active part of the family farm
FACT:  The love of farming runs deep as a farmer's daughter and granddaughter 

INTERESTS:  Spending time and boating with family and friends at Lake of the Ozarks, Avid NASCAR junkie, renovating my 100+ year old farmhouse, "Mom" to three rescue dogs
                                                           "Be Brave"

    Like so many other women, when I first saw Rosebud's tees, I just had to have one for myself...but how to choose which one??  I love a good graphic tee but have never really felt a connection with their messages...until I saw these. As I scrolled through all of the options, one jumped off the screen and smacked me right in the face...."Be Brave". 

    I grew up on a grain and livestock farm in west central Illinois. In addition to farming, my Dad worked in the retail fertilizer/chemical business. Seeing the respect that his customers had for him and his agronomic knowledge made a huge impression on me and inspired me to enter the same career path.

    I have spent most of my life building my "farm girl" resume on our family farm. The older I got, the more jobs I acquired. There was always a bit of uncertainty and nervousness anytime I was given a crash course in doing something new for the first time....helping sort and vaccinate cattle, working ground, catching on the go at harvest, learning how to hook up and back a trailer.  All of these things were intimidating to me at first, but once I did it, I had a great sense of accomplishment and I knew I had helped get things done. It was important to me when facing a tough situation, to always know how to accomplish what I needed to do without always having to find help. I had no idea how being brave when facing a new challenge head on and getting things done would become so important in my adult life. 
 Entering the workforce following college proved to be another situation that forced me to be brave.  It was very intimidating to be a young woman entering an industry that was dominated by men.  I was the only girl with a sales position.  Trying to forge my path and find my way was challenging but has proven to be very rewarding.  Working with growers to make agronomic recommendations for their operations to help them increase their yields and efficiencies has been very fulfilling.  A grower putting their trust in your recommendations and evaluating the outcome at the end of the season makes all of the challenges worthwhile.  It is amazing to see how the number of women choosing to enter this business has grown over the years.  So many doors are opening and barriers are being knocked down allowing women to be successful in any area of agriculture that they choose.  It is so exciting to see how many young women have joined the company that I work for in just the past few years.  I feel like an older sister who tries to be a mentor and role model for them.
  Another opportunity to be brave for me came on July 20, 2015 when I received the diagnosis that every woman fears, I had invasive breast cancer.  My immediate first thought was to be brave and find a way through this. After 2 surgeries, 22 weeks of chemo, 7 weeks of radiation and a hormone blocker regimen, I found my way through.  My farm girl strength helped me face each obstacle and plow right through them.  This past fall, one year after my mastectomy, I was right back where I my tractor catching on the go for Dad and loading trucks.  Cancer can take a lot of things from you, but it can't break this farm girl's spirit.  It is my firm belief that women involved in agriculture possess extraordinary strength, determination and compassion to face any adversities and be a good example for others. 
    Like my Rosebud's tee says...Be Brave.

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