About the Author
  • Brenda Frketich is a third generation farmer from St. Paul, Oregon. She has been farming full time since 2006 and currently manages her family's 1000 acre farm. They raise grass seed, hazelnuts, crimson clover, wheat, vegetable seeds and peas. She grew up on the farm but never thought that farming was what would be her future. She left her small town to Los Angeles to get a degree in Business. But after years of city living she realized farming was in her blood. Brenda is very involved in many parts of her industry and community. She is a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in her small town. She is involved in Farm Bureau, is a Clover Commissioner, and always tries to find new ways to bridge the gap between her urban neighbors and her rural life of farming. One of the ways she does this is through this blog, and also her personal blog, www.Nuttygrass.com Brenda is married to Matt Frketich who has also recently started farming with her. They also have a son, Hoot, and old hunting dog, Diesel and farm dog Yukon.
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A New Type of Woman in Ag

by Brenda_Frketich on ‎07-08-2014 01:20 PM

I thought I knew what it was like to be a woman in agriculture.  I'm quickly realizing that it means so many different things, not just person to person, but in every one of life's stages.  I can't say that I'm back 100% to the farm.  Life with an infant has been eye opening into the world of what it's like to be completely responsible for someone else's little life.  But I am slowly getting back into the swing of things on the farm.  I think that being pregnant, having a baby, these are just two things that reminded me that women aren't like men, and as such there are differences in many aspects of life.  And this includes being the person who is the manager of a farming operation, the reality that being a woman does make a difference, no matter what some people might say.  I'm in the thick of this realization and I will tell you, it makes a difference.

 

While this reality has been frustrating.  From 8 weeks into the pregnancy when I was told I couldn't lift more than 10 lbs, from the start of week 5 when I started to puke every single day (which didn't let up until the sucker was born!), all the way until he finally did join us and he quickly took up every second of the day whether I was just staring at him in awe, feeding him, or changing his diapers...the 24 hour life that we led (and are still leading) was not conducive to managing a farm.

 

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Days at the farm office, Yukon is a great babysitter!

 

I'm lucky that I have some great people as a part of my team however.  My husband for one has become an intregal part of the farm, even though daily he reminds me that he has no idea what he's doing so if I could get a chance to look at the combine, sneak away to check the orchard or stop by to check the irrigation that would be great.  And thank goodness for cell phones, because as much as I'm not physically at the farm as much anymore I'm always just a call away to answer a question.  And of course my dad has also resurfaced from retirement, not too much, but just enough to make sure that we don't have to sell off the farm next year.

 

So as I'm learning this new role in my life, I'm realizing that being a woman in agriculture looks very different for everyone and even for myself I think it will continue to evovle and change.  The days of just gettin myself ready for work and doing the "man's job" I'm sorry to say are maybe not over, but changing.

Comments
by thomasandrews7
on ‎12-11-2014 02:39 PM

I am so glad that you went back to farming. It will get easier as your wonderful new addition gets older. I grew up on a small farm in North Carolina. A long way from you, but farming in any part of the country is very similar. I left farming saying I'd never marry a farmer. There have been many times that I have regretted that decision. I love that wonderful land. When my father passed away, he left the land to me and my 4 siblings. Already 3 have passed away and the land has passed to their children who have never had a love for the land that those of us who grew up on it ahd worked on it from the time we could walk to the time we left. I, too, am old and  disabled, but I can still see my father and all of us on the land, working together. The land is rented out to a large farm operation, but a lot of the younger generation are beginning to hunt and learn a great respect for the land and all that it means. I am sure that your parents are so proud of you for coming home and continuing the trying but wonderful life of being a farmer. I hope your new little boy will love it, too. Thank you for standing up to measure 92. My son, who has studied much in the field of sciences, has stated that if not for GMOs many parts of the world would have long ago starved. People who fight against them do not know what they are saying. Keep up the fight and may God bless you with a long and happy life on the farm.

Sincerely,

Laurie Andrews