April Hemmes is an advocate for women in agriculture, soybean enthusiast and the first-ever Executive Women in Ag Trailblazer Award winner, announced on January 15, 2019.
“All women in agriculture should know that anything is possible,” says April Hemmes, United Soybean Board (USB) farmer-leader from Hampton, Iowa, and this year’s recipient of the Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes a female producer who is a shining example for her peers and acts as an advocate for agriculture. With this award, Top Producer also recognizes the innovative farming or ranching operation of the recipient.
Nominees complete a comprehensive entrance process, including a detailed application, resume, essays and two letters of reference from business partners. Applications are judged on agricultural advocacy, farm business innovation and industry or community leadership. The award is given annually at the Top Producer’s Executive Women in Agriculture Conference
“This award is a great honor,” says Hemmes. “I am grateful that Top Producer has created this award to recognize women in agriculture and all that they do to promote, innovate and lead. Anytime you get honored for doing what you love to do, well that is just icing on the cake!”
Hemmes grows soybeans and corn on her family’s century farm where she is the full-time operator. She is a fourth-year soy checkoff farmer-leader.
“I enjoy my involvement with USB because I know my voice is valuable in the industry. I can use my voice to guide where the checkoff dollars are going, especially in the areas of education, research and promotion.”
In September, Hemmes was invited to the Women in Agribusiness Summit as one of more than 30 speakers from across the U.S.
She joined a panel titled “Female Producers Panel: Viewpoints from the Farm,” which featured Hemmes, along with Julie Maschhoff of The Maschhoffs LLC. The panel focused on circumstances that support women taking on a larger role in farm management and what specific challenges arise on women-operated farms. It was moderated by Jessie Scott of “Successful Farming.
While many of the women who attended are involved in agriculture and agricultural business, very few were producers who spend their entire day on the farm. Hemmes provided a perspective on the struggles she faces and the decisions she makes, giving them better insight into how full-time operators think and do every day.
“At the end of the day, I still do all the work. The realness of the story I am sharing is compelling because I am the one out there, doing all the things,” says Hemmes.
Women often think they don’t have a place on the farm or in agriculture, Hemmes observes. She stresses it is important to tell your story in today’s agriculture landscape.
“Women’s voices need to be heard, especially in agriculture,” says Hemmes. “We tend to look at things in a broader sense and from a different perspective.”
Hemmes is a passionate advocate for women as farmers, from those who hope to return home to those interested in starting their own farm.
“Farm women have a way of getting the job done, no matter how difficult,” says Hemmes.
In addition to her role as a USB farmer-leader, Hemmes also serves the Iowa Soybean Association, Beginning Farmer Center Advisory Council, Franklin County Soil & Water Commissioner and Franklin County Farm Service Agency County Committee.