About the Author
  • I am an online content editor for Successful Farming/Agriculture.com and Living the Country Life, but my full-time job is raising three boys on a small farm in south-central Iowa.
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New Addition

by Heather_Barnes ‎05-05-2014 07:51 AM - edited ‎05-05-2014 07:53 AM

The Women in Agriculture blog family has a new addition – me!  I’m excited to represent the south and share my story.


I’ve bucked the trend of young people (yes, I still consider myself young) and moved to the country instead of away from it.  I was born in Portsmouth, Virginia (the city), then moved to my parents hometown of Emporia (the town) in middle school and now live on my husband’s family farm in North Carolina (the country). 

So how did a city girl become a Carhartt-wearing, tractor-driving momma?  It’s in the blood, at least that’s what I’ve always said.  My dad grew up farming.  My mom’s grandpa was a farmer.  I remember the only time I went to Pampaw’s farm when I was nine or ten years old and saw the piglets;   I think that’s when I decided I wanted to be a farm animal veterinarian.   By the time I got old enough to appreciate farming nobody in my family farmed anymore.     

After moving to Emporia, I joined the local 4-H.  I went to lots of camps but the best thing I did was attend Congress at Virginia Tech.  Since it’s the top agriculture school in the state and there is a veterinary college right on campus I decided it was the place for me.  Luckily they agreed and I was accepted. 

Then I decided being a vet wasn’t for me.  I’m not sure if it was organic chemistry, physics, or the fact that looking under a microscope at cell shapes didn’t excite me that helped make the decision.  Really, I just liked the hands-on classes, where we got to work with the animals.  Who knew sheep shearing could be so exciting?  So instead of a DVM, I got a degree in Animal Science and decided to attend graduate school for Agriculture Education.

With a second degree in hand it was time to go out in the real world and I got a job with Cooperative Extension in North Carolina.  I was familiar with Extension through my 4-H activities as a teenager.  I spent almost 11 years with Extension as an Agriculture Agent working with adults and youth.  I still lived in town but in a rural county.  And yes, I actually sheared sheep as part of my job.

sheep shearing.jpg

Then I met my future husband.  He farmed with his dad and since he couldn’t pick up the farm and move it to me, I moved to him.  To the country.  I changed jobs and now work with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Marketing, specifically with sweet potatoes, organics and the NC Farm to School program.   I married the farmer.  I continue to learn what it takes to raise tobacco, sweet potatoes, corn, soybeans and wheat on our farm.   We welcomed a son almost two years ago.    Our son is obsessed with tractors.  Maybe he will buck the trend like his mom did and stay in the country.

on ‎05-06-2014 06:38 AM

So happy to see a familiar face on this page.  Welcome, Heather. 


by Heather_Barnes
on ‎05-07-2014 07:39 AM

Thanks Kay for being my first comment!  It's appropriate since you were the one who connected me with this opportunity.