“Farms are people. They have people making decisions every day on what is best for the land, the crop and their families. I wish some would have a little more grace when it comes to criticizing farms and their practices. Try to understand them, go talk the farmers and the people who work the land. And just don’t talk to one, talk to a variety of people in farming and ranching because they are all different. And different doesn’t mean bad.” Marie Bowers, Oregon grass seed farmer and bold young voice, taking a stand for agriculture.
Marie Bowers is vivacious. Her personality bubbles right out of her and when you meet her (or read her oregongreen blog), you quickly learn she knows where she stands on issues and in life. Marie is firmly planted in who she is, her passions and the future of farming she is working to continue. Marie boldly speaks out locally, statewide and nationally on issues and is actively involved in organizations she cares about, advocating not just for her family’s farm but for all of agriculture.
I admire Marie and remember when she left her post-college office job to return to her family’s grass seed farm to farm alongside her parents, Eric and Vicki Bowers. I thought to myself, “We need more young women in agriculture like her!” Marie is a get-it-done type woman without the fluff. Her candor is authentically her own. There would a lot less time wasted if Marie was in charge. And if she ever runs for office I might need to quickly move to Oregon to vote for her or at least work on her campaign. And if she runs for president, I am endorsing her, now.
As tough as Marie is on ag issues, she has a soft side and in less than two months, she is getting married to one very lucky man, Tristan Stagg. I look forward to following along to Marie’s future married life and all that Tristan and she do together as a couple. There is no doubt in my mind, it will be successful.
You never knew there were grass seed farmers? Now you do and this is grass seed farmer has something to say. Meet Marie Bowers, in her own words, as a woman in agriculture and hailing from Harrisburg, Oregon, the Grass Seed Capitol of the World!
What is your role in agriculture today? I am a farmer. I farm with my parents on our grass seed farm in Oregon. I am also current President of Oregon Women for Agriculture and Vice President of the AgChat Foundation.
How has agriculture shaped your life? Agriculture is who I am. I live and breathe it every day. It is part of my earliest memories and there is not a time where it did not affect my decisions about life. Agriculture is my passion; it burns down deep inside me and drives me. When I went to college I was going to study psychology and political science then I found myself constantly talking about the farm and tractors. I soon switched my major to agriculture.
I love my agriculture community because they get me. They are the most genuine, salt of the earth people. I also love them because more and more of them are desperate to share their stories about what they do & why. This excites me and the more they grasp social media and the audience it can reach makes me absolutely ecstatic.
I love my social media community all the ag & non ag folks. It allows me to interact with folks I would have never have met or come across. Which energizes me! It has opened doors for me to tell people about grass seed farmers and why we do what we do.
I love the community I currently live in. It is small and most families have been there for multiple generations. The legacy that my great-great grandparents started long ago on the same road my family still lives on keeps my passion alive. Plus it’s the “Grass Seed Capital of the World”. How many people have that claim to fame?
When was the last time you tried something for the first time? I got engaged. I have never tried that before. I have to admit it feels pretty nice.
What do you do to encourage others? Who/what serves as a source of encouragement for you? I try to encourage others by getting them to recognize the gifts and strengths they have inside themselves. I think many people, particularly women, do not give themselves enough credit on their abilities. We all have talents and gifts and we must seek to emphasize them. When we do that It gives us confidence and brings us success.
My fiance’ Tristan is a great source of encouragement for me. At times he seems to have more confidence in my ability than I do for myself. He tells me I can accomplishment anything I set my mind too. He is also editor of my blog and he does a good job at helping me make a good post great. He doesn’t complete me he makes me a better version of my current self.
Which children’s book best describes your childhood/life? Well it’s not a book but the Disney Movie “Lilo & Stitch”. The character Lilo and I have a very similar personality and many people associate her with me…I am not sure if that is good or bad. But if you need a book, I have read pretty much EVERY Nancy Drew book and to this day still want to be a detective.
What is your favorite home-cooked meal? Steak. Red meat, medium rare preferably, makes me incredibly happy.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? Paulette Pyle, Grassroots director for Oregonians for Food & Shelter. She is the top natural resource lobbyist in the state. She is the one who told me “to get an ag degree because Political Science degrees are a dime a dozen”. I interned for her before my senior year of college and shadowed her in high school and my freshman year of college, but I have known her my entire life because of my family’s political activities. She taught me so much about professionalism in terms of dress & actions. To this day I won’t wear open toed shoes to the Capitol unless my toes are painted fully and I do wear panty hose when needed/appropriate.
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be? Farms are people. They have people making decisions every day on what is best for the land, the crop and their families. I wish some would have a little more grace when it comes to criticizing farms and their practices. Try to understand them, go talk the farmers and the people who work the land. And just don’t talk to one, talk to a variety of people in farming and ranching because they are all different. And different doesn’t mean bad.
What makes you smile? Life. I have been blessed and I am grateful for that.
Stay connected with Marie in Oregon via her blog, Twitter and Facebook. (Thank you, Marie! You are a leader that all Americans can look up to and be proud of the next generation we have to come into future leadership roles.)
Follow along to all women featured in this series by subscribing to my blog in the right column by email. I’m backlogged with features. This might be 300 Days of Women in Agriculture! For sure starting in December, I will continue with weekly features on amazing women.
Earlier Women in Agriculture features this month include:
November 1: Introducing 30 Days of Women in Agriculture
For a listing of all the 30 Days Bloggers my friend Holly Spangler rounded up, visit here. Subscribe in the right column by email to not miss any features!