“I always try to remind my family and friends that no task is too big and we can accomplish anything we set our minds too. We all face challenges but we can’t give up, we have to pick ourselves up and keep going even if it means leaving our comfort zone. For every success we achieve, we have many failures that led to that one success. We all make mistakes but that is part of the learning process! NEVER GIVE UP!” Chris Chinn, Missouri hog farmer, mom and wife from Clarence, Missouri
Chris Chinn was one of the first “agriculture advocates” I didn’t know in “real life” (yet) that I watched actively engage in social media from her farm when I watched a five-minute June 2008 YouTube video on The Truth About Modern Hog Production. Through Twitter, Facebook and our active membership and roles in agriculture organizations like AgChat, Farm Bureau and FFA, Chris and I developed a trusted friendship. We’ve met only a handful of times in-person together but when the going gets tough on an agriculture issue, or I am dealing with a bully or sometimes when I just need a fresh perspective on parenting, I call Chris or email her. Everyone needs personal cheerleaders in life and there have been a few times in the past year plus that Chris has been mine. For that, I am grateful.
For all of agriculture, I am extremely grateful for Chris’s leadership, bold and positive outlook, her commitment to her family farm and willingness to take on issues, not just for her personal gain. Chris engages for all of agriculture, whether her farm and family are impacted or not. She is inclusive, not exclusive and always kills you with kindness but never backs down for what she believes is right.
At the heart of all that Chris does, it is always family first. Her husband, Kevin and children Rachelle and Connor are her number one focus. She has a deep faith, is community minded, has a sweet charming smile and accent but can debate toe to toe on issues she is passionate about. I hope Chris Chinn is a U.S. Senator for Missouri someday. She could do it. I remember watching her compelling testimony on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation regarding the proposed U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed Child Labor Regulations and thinking “she needs to be elected”. But whether Chris is ever elected to a national office or remains full-time on her farm in years to come, I know she will never stop sharing her voice, engaging on issues and empowering others to join in the conversation about food and farming.
Chris Chinn is a woman of agriculture that any person, anywhere can learn from, believe in and be proud of. The truth is we need many more voices and people passionately standing up for what they believe in and know is right for their business, family and caring about how food is raised. Chris Chinn is one that can inspire more voices and is doing just that by her example.
Originally from Shelbina, Missouri and currently a family farmer in Clarence, Missouri, raising hogs, cattle and row crops, meet Chris, in her own words.
What is your role in agriculture today? I work with Kevin and his parents, and his brother, on our family farm. We raise hogs, cattle, row crops and hay and we make all of the feed for our livestock at our feed mill. We are the 5th generation of farmers in our family. I am an advocate for agriculture and I love traveling the country sharing the great story of agriculture. I was named one of the four Faces of Agriculture by the US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance in 2013.
What excites you about your community? I love how our community pulls together to support you in your time of need. In 2010 a tornado hit our feed mill and destroyed/damaged both of our 500,000 bushel grain bins. There was debris scattered everywhere and we knew we had a big job of cleaning up ahead of us but we had to care for our livestock and keep making feed too. Our neighbors showed up with trucks, trailers and lots of extra hands and they organized our clean-up for us. Their actions left us speechless. That’s how our community works though and I love it.
When was the last time you tried something for the first time? Last week I climbed the ladder to our attic for the first time. I have an extreme fear of heights if it involves climbing a ladder or going over 10 feet off the ground. Kevin was in the field and I needed to put our lawn furniture away for the winter. There was no one around to help me so I just swallowed hard and held my breath. I was proud of myself for doing this but I really didn’t like it. It’s not something I want to make a habit of!
What do you do to encourage others? I always try to remind my family and friends that no task is too big and we can accomplish anything we set our minds too. We all face challenges but we can’t give up, we have to pick ourselves up and keep going even if it means leaving our comfort zone. For every success we achieve, we have many failures that led to that one success. We all make mistakes but that is part of the learning process! NEVER GIVE UP!
Who/what serves as a source of encouragement for you? My kids are my encouragement. Our son has overcome many health challenges and his spirit is amazing! Our daughter is very self-driven and pushes herself to always achieve her goals. When I look at the courage my two children show each day of their lives it reminds me that I owe it to them to be courageous myself and set high goals for myself. They motivate me to keep telling the story of our farm so they can hopefully come back to our farm after they finish school. I also have a great friend, Mace Thornton, who challenges me to reach for the impossible, even when it seems out of reach. He is a great mentor and he pushes me to try new challenges and to leave my comfort zone.
Which children’s book best describes your childhood/life? When I was little my mom always read “The Little Engine That Could” to me. I loved that book as a child and it has been very instrumental in my life as an adult. The book taught me to never give up and that positive thinking was very important to achieving your dreams. I am passing these same values onto my children and I often remind them “Remember, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
What is your favorite home-cooked meal? My favorite home cooked meal is Teriyaki Pork Loin with mashed potatoes and hot rolls. It’s simple to cook and my family loves it!
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be? Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and don’t under estimate the power of one person!
What makes you smile? My kids make me smile! They are the reason I work so hard to preserve our family farm and to protect their future to farm it one day!
I missed a Women in Agriculture feature on November 22 because I became an AUNT for the first time. Photos are on Facebook and Instagram of our new and perfectly healthy niece and cousin, Nola, named after our Grandma Nola. My sister is lovely, healthy and glowing and my brother-in-law is over the moon excited to be a new daddy. We are blessed.
Subscribe in the right column of this blog by email to not miss any updates. No SPAM, I promise! I have far more than 30 Women In Agriculture to feature in this series and am going to continue it as a weekly feature starting in December.
Earlier Women in Agriculture features this month include:
November 23: Lara Durben, Minnesota’s Turkey, Chicken & Egg Agvocate
November 16: Marie Bowers, Oregon Grass Seed Farmer
November 1: Introducing 30 Days of Women in Agriculture
For a listing of all the 30 Days Bloggers that Holly Spangler rounded up, visit here.