April Hemmes, 2011 Midwest Farm Mom of the year, is a 4th generation farmer in Iowa.
She’s been farming since 1985 on land that has been in her family since 1901.
April’s operation is a little different from what one might think of as a typical family farm – because she’s the primary operator. Her husband has a job in town and doesn’t work on the farm.
April loves that she was able to raise her children on the same farm she was raised on. There’s nothing like being a farm kid.
Hi, I’m Ruth. I’m 16, and I would like to nominate my mom, April Hemmes, for Farm Mom of the Year. My mom IS the farmer in our family. My dad works in town, and mom operates our family’s century farm, totaling 1000 acres, and has a 30-head cow/calf herd. She makes all the decisions from planting to harvest, bulls to banking.
She has a B.S. in animal science from Iowa State University and had various jobs before coming home to farm in 1985. She is a 4-H club and beef project leader, and she teaches 4-Hers Food Safety Quality Assurance (FSQA). Her other activities are the county hospital board, county soil and water commissioner, township clerk, Iowa 4-H Foundation board, plus other state boards and committees. She helped form Iowa Women in Agriculture and served as its first president.
She has recently been chosen to travel to Uganda for a project involving Iowa women farmers helping Uganda women farmers. Mom has teens work on the farm in the summer and shares her love of agriculture with them. She is often asked to speak to groups and share her unique perspective on farming. She enjoyed being a member of an ag-urban leadership class, where leaders of the agriculture and urban worlds met to develop projects to improve Iowa.
Since my mom farms, I know sometimes farming comes first. Fortunately, these times are rare. Most recently she helped me with a project I did for the Youth Institute of the World Food Prize. She also found time to raise funds for my junior prom and took me on a Caribbean cruise! She always tells me “Do what you love doing – happiness and success will follow.” I know this is true because my mom is the most enjoyable and funniest person know.
This summer April Hemmes, the 2011 Midwest America’s Farmers Mom of the Year, traveled to Uganda as part of the 2011 Iowa /Uganda Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange. The program is coordinated by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Global Program, in collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at ISU, and VEDCO, a non-profit organization based in Uganda. The project is funded by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) through Weidemann Associates.
The program aims to teach African women how to improve farming practices and increase yields. While in Uganda April traveled from village to village, speaking and learning from individual women farming groups. During her adventures April took the time to blog about her experiences in Uganda and with these farming women.
You can read April’s adventures by visiting the America’s Farmers Blog or use the links below to jump to her different blog posts.