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Father Helps Daughter Love Her Ag Roots
“Being around a man who has such passion for what he does really rubs off on a person,” says Kellie Gregorich, 23, about her dad, Dave. As an Iowa State University alumnus with a degree in agricultural communication, Kellie blogs regularly about her favorite experiences as a farm girl and as a devoted advocate of agriculture: feeding bottle calves, showing cattle at the county fair, and naming newborns from heifers she’s raised through her 4-H project.
Kellie didn’t always love her agricultural roots. Around the time she was in sixth grade, she was the only girl in her class who was raised on a farm, which quickly labeled her the “4-H cowgirl.”
“At that age, I wanted to do what everyone else was doing. We had chores. We had responsibilities,” explains Kellie. Like many preteens, Kellie believed she should be shopping or hanging out with friends instead of helping her dad sort cattle or gather eggs.
Kellie and her sister, Cassie, worked with their dad to make hay, grind feed with a shovel, and haul manure, as well as harvest eggs and chickens from their free-range flock for their own family’s consumption and to sell at the local farmers market. Little did Kellie know how much she would come to appreciate their chores.
How it all began
Dave is a man with deep roots in agriculture. He grew up farming with his father and older brother in rural Iowa.
When his brother inherited the family farm, Dave’s passion didn’t suffer. He knew he loved farming, and he would farm again no matter what it took. Dave worked jobs at the feed store and grocery store so he could save money for his own land.
Years later, the chance came along to rent the 200-acre Westwind Farm, a longtime Shorthorn cattle farm in LaMotte, Iowa. After a few years and after the owner saw how Dave treated the animals and the land, he offered the land to Dave in 1994.
Kellie admits she had a distaste for agriculture until she joined FFA her sophomore year of high school. That’s when she met others who loved to farm and raise cattle. Her enthusiasm for agriculture hasn’t quit growing since.
As much as she hated grinding hay by hand and sorting cattle (or anything to do with being out on the farm, really), Kellie attributes her passion, lessons learned, and understanding of the importance of agriculture to her father.
Lessons on life
Dave allowed his daughters to cultivate their own opinions and to make decisions for themselves. Kellie now owns seven Hereford cows and a miniature bull named Otis.
“I realized that I’m more than just a worker on the farm. I am the animals’ caretaker. I’m the one they rely on. They support me, too. The cattle are very much my family.”
Kellie’s love for the farm flourished as she grew up and realized the lessons her father provided on the farm.
From staying even-tempered while working cattle to remembering the importance of safety, Kellie stresses that growing up on Westwind Farm did more than teach her how to farm.
She says her love of agriculture stems from the decision her dad made back in 1994 to buy a farm.
“Whose dad could really say that he’s provided that much for his daughter? My dad can,” she says with a big smile.
Who inspired you to start farming?
Nominate them for the My Mentor, My Legacy award sponsored by Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance. For more information go to www.agriculture.com/MyMentor.