“You don’t have to fear your food. You can trust farmers. We know the ins and outs of our farm and our animals, and all of our decisions have food safety in mind.” Katie Olthoff , a turkey farmer’s wife, mom of two boys, former teacher, owner of The Homeshed and blogger including a timely post of Everything You Wanted to Know About Turkeys.
“You don’t have to fear your food. You can trust farmers. We know the ins and outs of our farm and our animals, and all of our decisions have food safety in mind.” Katie Olthoff , turkey farmer’s wife, mom, former teacher, owner of The Homeshed and blogger including a timely post of Everything You Wanted to Know About Turkeys.
As your turkey is thawing, or you are stuffing it, roasting it and then enjoying it, think of the faces of farmers and their families that raised the turkeys. The roasted and perfectly juicy turkeys bring together families across America, to give thanks and celebrate all that we have. One turkey farmer’s wife is Katie Olthoff. I know her through the Real Farmwives of America which we are both a part of. I love Katie’s blogging style and of course her name.
On her blog, Katie is never ranting and raving or talking down on why we should trust exactly how her family raises turkeys. She engages. She listens. She educates. She shares. She isn’t pretending to be an expert on all things food and farming. She blogs and shares on a variety of topics from owning a “junky” business, how to build a pull-out pantry, parenting two boys and then, turkey farming from responsible antibiotic use to addressing consumer questions on whether turkeys can walk. It’s just the way social media as a woman of agriculture should be done in my opinion. Katie focuses on varied content on topics she is comfortable sharing about and engaging on.
As a woman of agriculture, I believe that we have to do the best we can to understand what it is we do and why. It’s important to also share about our other passions, outside of agriculture to connect with you, whether it be home decorating to gardening, work life to parenting, painting old furniture to make it new again to remodeling an old house. Katie does just that. She shares her passion. Never growing up on a farm, Katie now lives the life of being married to a turkey farmer, raising livestock, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It takes all kinds of voices to engage in the conversations about food and farming. I am thankful Katie chooses to do just that. (Plus, did I mention I really like her name?)
Katie resides in Stanhope, Iowa and is originally from Stratford, Iowa. She is the mom of Adam, age five and Isaac, age two and a half and wife to Bart, a turkey farmer.
Meet Katie Olthoff, in her own words.
What is your role in agriculture today?
I am a turkey farmer’s wife. I actually do very little work on the farm, but sharing information about farming with others has become my passion.
How has agriculture shaped your life?
Farming has changed my life more than I ever imagined possible. I was not raised on a farm, and I had no idea what it was like to raise livestock 24/7/365. As I transitioned into my role as a farm wife, I instantly became aware of how little people know about farming – particularly turkey farming.
What excites you about your community?
I love the rural area where we live. We are close to the first land-grant university in the United States, and surrounded by agriculture’s best and brightest scientists and veterinarians. Our neighbors and friends are farmers, vets, seed salesmen, and others involved in agriculture.
But for every friend who is on the farm, we have at least 2 that are a generation or two removed, and have questions about the way food is produced and the way modern farms work. I see this especially from my friends in the “big city,” but I’ve also been absolutely thrilled with their responses to my farm-related conversations. Just recently, I had the opportunity to explain to an acquaintance the local economic effect my farm has. She was blown away and is now sharing my story on her blog. I love that our community is open to conversations about food and farming.
When was the last time you tried something for the first time?
Last week, I drove a combine for the first time.
We don’t grow row crops, although my husband’s father does. Every time the combine’s near, there are two little boys who want a ride, so I’ve never gotten a chance to take ‘er for a spin. Last week, I was interviewing a turkey farmer who had a field of corn that needed to be picked. Instead of stopping his work to talk to me, I climbed up in the combine with him, and before I knew it, I was driving.
I like to think that I have a pretty great appreciation for farmers already, but the truth is, I know little about row crops. The more I learn about grain farming (or any type of farming!) the more my appreciation grows.
I’ve always loved Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I like to think that her books describe my life, but that’s probably not really accurate. I’m re-reading the books for the first time as an adult, and just as I romanticized raising livestock, I’m finding that I had a very romanticized vision of life on the prairie, too. The realities of Laura’s life are much more serious for an adult reader.
What is your favorite home-cooked meal?
Home cooked? Hamballs and sweet potatoes. Or Pioneer Woman’s Mac and Cheese. Or all three.
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
You don’t have to fear your food. You can trust farmers. We know the ins and outs of our farm and our animals, and all of our decisions have food safety in mind.
Stay connected with Katie on her blog, Facebook page and Twitter. Thank you Katie for sharing your story. Anytime I prepare a turkey or even stare at which to buy in my grocery store, I will think of your family!
Be sure to check out the other women in ag featured so far this month with many more to come. I actually wish November had more days in it. Ok, I don’t. But I am going to continue this on because my email folder “Women In Ag” has many more women to feature with a list of women I haven’t even asked yet.
All Women in Ag features can be found here. Be sure to subscribe in the right column of this blog to not miss any updates. This children’s book giveaway is open through Friday and includes THREE copies of a new humorous and fun book about how food gets to your table.