Content ID

332878

Mom on many missions

Alisha Schwertner flashes a big smile as she takes the podium of a packed ballroom in a stylish red blazer and perfectly curled hair. As Schwertner confidently urges fellow young farmers to share their story, expand the organization’s membership, and engage with policy makers, it would be easy to assume the Farm Bureau leader has it all figured out. 

Except, she doesn’t always.

“I doubt myself on occasion,” she says. “It’s easy to find the things that you’re not great at instead of recognizing your strengths and the things you bring to the table.” 

She flashes back to her daily routine, before the sun peeks in her bedroom window. She first wears the hats of being a wife and mother of three children under 3 years old. Her mornings (and every other hour of the day) are full. There are diapers to change, little shoes to find, and everyone needs to eat.

On a typical morning, Schwertner is thinking about her duties as a farmer and certified crop adviser before most people sit down with their first cup of coffee. She and her husband, Eric, raise cotton, corn, grain sorghum, wheat, and cattle near the small town of Miles in west central Texas.

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“My husband and I have worked together on implementing some new strategies in terms of sustainability on the farm and working towards bettering our soil health,” Schwertner says.

As the farm’s bookkeeper, she also works closely with their accountant. 

As the business day begins, Schwertner logs into her remote office and puts on her “product manager” hat. She works fulltime for an equipment manufacturer to ensure farm families like hers get machines and technology they need. 

In the evening, and on the weekends, she and her husband often have Farm Bureau activities on the calendar. They’ve served in leadership positions at the state and local Farm Bureau levels. In February, Schwertner became chairwoman of American Farm Bureau’s National Young Farmer and Rancher Committee (YF&R).

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“The entire committee is composed of individuals who are talented, have unique skills to offer the American Farm Bureau, and who are equally as passionate about the agricultural industry as I am. It’s an incredible opportunity to be a leader among these leaders, and it is exciting to have the opportunity to truly drive change, adopt new ideas, and improve old ones in an organization that makes a big difference,” she says.

When juggling these roles gets to be overwhelming, she reminds herself why she’s doing it all. 

Ensuring her sons have opportunities in agriculture drives her long-term goals.

“I have three boys at home who love the operation, and I believe that in order to protect their future, I have to be involved. Being a young woman in agriculture, it’s important to me that I set the precedent that we can do hard things if we have purpose and with some help from our tribes. My boys and our family operation are my ‘why,’” she says.

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Alisha Schwertner

The Schwertners are proud to raise their sons, Lane, Eli, and Caleb, on the operation in west central Texas. Sometimes balancing family and farming means time together in the cab.

Surround Yourself With Support 

On a practical level, Schwertner has adopted several strategies to help her thrive in each role. 

Before taking on her YF&R leadership commitments, she asked if she had the necessary help and people in place to make this possible from a personal and professional perspective. Conversations with family and her employer confirmed their support.

Rely on Your Team 

With each hat Schwertner wears, there’s a different team. “We are in this together,” she says. “I may be serving as chair, but I rely heavily on the opinions and leadership of everyone on the committee. We were all chosen to serve for a reason.” Every individual contributes unique experiences and skills. 

“Build yourself a team of people that can help you in those times of self-doubt and encourage you to keep going,” she says. 

Prioritize With Boundaries And Time Management 

Identifying her priorities helps her devote the focus necessary to each task. 

“Farm Bureau is at the top of that priority list right now, just underneath my faith and involvement in our church, my husband, and kids. Our operation is obviously very high on that list, too,” she says. “If you truly want to impact change, you make time for your priorities. 

“When I go pick up my boys after I’m done with my full-time job, my attention is on them,” she adds. “I try really hard to set boundaries and make sure I’m spending the time with them.”

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Jana Rouhier Photography

Reflecting on Her Role Model 

Schwertner also reflects on her upbringing. “I was raised by a very strong woman. I admire my mom,” she says. “She worked in education for a long time, and she now is a business owner. She was also an advocate for her industry, a force. Anything she does, she does 120%.” 

Becoming a mother helped Schwertner see her own mom’s sacrifices in a new light. 

“For a period of time she put her life on hold so she could raise us. Then, from working as a bus driver all the way up to a superintendent, she’s seen every piece of the education system and has made her impact where change was needed,” she says. 

Her mom’s personal and professional accomplishments inspire Schwertner as she sports an array of hats through motherhood. “Watching her be a mom first, and knowing that as a young woman, who’s also a professional, we can do hard things and make a difference while also being a wife, mom, and having a career,” she says. 

As her own children watch her, Schwertner hopes her boys recall similar lessons looking back on this chapter. “I hope they recognize the value of teamwork and that I didn’t do this alone. I also hope they recognize that with a little sacrifice, we can make a difference,” she says. “We can be involved, and we have an important opportunity to make our voices heard in this industry.”

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