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6 Hardworking FarmHers

  • Let Me Whisper in Your Ear

    Makenzi Marek, 16, picks up a piglet in her family’s farrowing barn on their multigeneration family farm near Washington, Iowa. Makenzi and her sisters take an active role in the hog operations from breeding, ongoing care, and showing at their county fair.

  • Before-School Chores

    Abbie Johnson checks and feeds a group of feeder lambs on a cool morning at her family’s farm near Charles City, Iowa. Johnson is an agriculture instructor at North Iowa Area Community College and also works with her in-laws and husband on their family farm.

  • Mother-Son Time

    Kris Walker works with her son, Sidney, 6, doing chores in the horse barn on the family farm near Webster City, Iowa. Walker works full time on the multigeneration family farm in addition to raising a family. The Walker Family Farm is diversified to include row crops, a cow-calf operation, and also horse boarding and training. 

  • A Brilliant Glow

    Joan Ruskamp is a FarmHer from the small town of Dodge in eastern Nebraska. On this particular Sunday morning, Ruskamp is running her regular early-morning cattle checks at the feedlot she owns and operates with her husband, Steve. As Ruskamp works, she is met with a bright, golden sun rising over the rolling hills to the east, which casts a brilliant glow over the cattle. With about 2,500 head of cattle in her care, Ruskamp takes her role seriously, moving slowly among the shifting herd and paying close attention for anything out of the normal. She and Steve have spent more than 30 years on their operation, raising five children and countless cattle, and building their farm business.

  • Leaving Her Mark

    With help from family and friends, Kim Waltman brands a calf on her family’s southern Iowa ranch. Earlier in the day, the group drove cattle and vaccinated, castrated, and dewormed calves. Waltman’s family has a decades-long ranching heritage, and she has spent the last few years working and learning about what goes into raising cattle. She also runs an agritourism operation called Full Circle Ranch, where she connects people with the land and the animals that she and her family raise.

  • Husbandry Courtesy of the Wife

    Peggy and Brian Duesterhaus, along with their children, own and operate a diversified family farming operation in rural Menden, Illinois. Their operation includes cropland in Illinois and Missouri, hogs, and cattle. Here, Peggy does early morning chores for the small cow-calf operation she runs with daughter Nicole. Each member of the family plays an important role on the farm – from tending to the cattle to custom-finishing hogs during the summer months.

FarmHer is a project that combines Marji Guyler-Alaniz’s love of photography and her passion for promoting women in agriculture. “FarmHer started as a photography project to show that women are an important part of ag,” she says. “I realized that people in urban areas may not know that.” The idea was to photograph women doing their work and to share those images online at farmher.com. Read Marji's story and see more of her photos.

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