Meet Heather. Mother, wife, and farmer at Granitewood Ranch.
It takes a rockstar to raise both a family and a flock.
This is why, in celebration of National Women in Agriculture Day, we’re recognizing Heather and the many incredible female-identifying farmers across the agriculture industry who work hard to produce food for your table.
A Day in the Life at Granitewood Ranch
The morning bathes calm rays of light across the pasture as Heather walks toward the barn to greet her girls. At her hip trots her strong protector, Titus – the Granitewood Ranch pasture dog.
These morning hours are spent among the sweet sound of clucks and coos while preparing the pasture for the girls. Titus stands guard as Heather walks through the barn to gather eggs and check that everyone is healthy, happy, and ready for a fun day of roaming outside in the sun.
As the afternoon settles in, Heather and her husband sit down for lunch before continuing their day with a stroll on their horses around the farm’s perimeter. Together, they inspect their fences and check in with the animals.
“Hey Ladies! Time for bed girls!” Heather calls out at sunset. The girls follow her cue, and make their way back into the barn for the night.
Our Conversation with Heather
While we know that farm life can be labor-intensive, we must admit that life on the pasture sounds remarkably peaceful and downright dreamy. We spoke a bit more with Heather to see if our observations were correct…
Did you grow up farming?
I did not grow up farming, but at 13 years old, I went out and bought my first horse, and that is when I started to love the thought of having a career in agriculture.
What do you wish people knew about the work you do?
Running a chicken barn is very rewarding. The better you treat the girls, the better they treat you with egg production, and their personalities become sweeter and long for your attention. Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning, there was a lot of manual labor and long hours figuring things out. But it’s worth it in the end.
It’s no secret that women are a minority in the agriculture industry. We’re pleased to see that the USDA Census shows a rise in female agriculture producers.* Could you share what it feels like to be a part of the change we’re all excited to see?
I feel proud to be a part of the growing female Ag owner/operator business and look forward to helping females in Ag continue to grow in any form they like. I am so happy to be able to show all the young women in FFA, and other forms of Ag-related industries, that building a life in agriculture can be one of the most rewarding lifestyles. It is not a job, it is a life we love to live every day and a great way to raise a family.
Speaking of family, does anyone help you out on the farm?
My daughter Dylan helps me out with the daily chores. She is beautiful, smart, kind, and hard-working. I hope to be able to pass this down to her someday, as she is amazing with the girls. I also have my husband help with the heavy lifting and tractor work as well as my son, who has helped with our “inventions” to make things work more smoothly here. They are true assets, and I wouldn’t be able to make this work without them and God! My family truly is a blessing from above.
Do you take time to bond with your girls?
Yes, when I walk through the barn, I squat down and let them jump up on my lap and get held. Some like to get a pet, some like to get on my back or shoulder, and some like to be held and pet.
If you could give words of wisdom to aspiring women in agriculture, what would it be?
That this is a very enjoyable, successful, memorable lifestyle that can get passed down to the next generation.
What is your favorite dish to make with eggs?
I enjoy making potato salad, and everyone says it’s the best they have ever had.
Interested in trying Heather’s potato salad for yourself? Check out this Granitewood Ranch-inspired recipe!
*The number of farms with female producers increased by 23% between 2012-2017, according to the USDA 2017 Census of Agriculture data. While waiting for new data, we can only imagine that these numbers have increased over the past six years.