My maternal grandmother passed away on October 29, just a few weeks ago. She was a third-generation dairy woman and worked harder than anyone else I know. There is so much I could say about her and her effect on my life, but I’ve realized that deserves more reflection before I attempt to articulate it.
In thinking about my grandmother’s life and those whom I admire, there are obvious themes and traits that arise. Here are some characteristics of my favorite farm women, in no particular order:
- Physically strong, no matter their stature.
- Mentally tough, but with the most tender heart.
- Determined, though often called stubborn.
- Astonishingly productive: They have more tasks on their to do lists than most can fathom, and they get them done.
- Faithful and grateful: Their belief in God is unwavering.
- Can-do attitude: They may not know how they’ll get it done, but they are willing to figure it out.
- Resourceful: They always know who to call or what to try.
- Selfless: For better or worse, they put themselves last.
- Efficient: Their routines and processes are impressively optimized.
- Beautiful: I have never met a farm woman whose beauty from within didn’t shine on the outside.
This is just a small snapshot of the similarities between the strong women I know. I am blessed to know and have known them, and I strive to be like them.
Erin Massey is the product development manager at Prairie Farms, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Edwardsville, Illinois. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the development process, from concept to commercialization. Erin grew up on a Florida dairy farm and has a deep-rooted passion to invigorate the dairy industry. Erin earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida. Her personal mantra is “Be Bold.”