Kathy Reinhardt and her husband have always farmed, but for the better part of their life together, it was Kathy’s husband who did the farming and Kathy who did the part time helping while she worked off the farm as a CPA.
Today, however, Kathy and her husband split the farming duties almost right down the middle. After 20 years as a public accountant, Kathy decided quit her job ‘in town’ and work on the farm full time, taking on a significant portion of the farm’s financial- and marketing-related decisions.
Kathy is staking out the same territory as a growing number of women in agriculture: serving as the primary, or one of the primary, decision makers on her farm.
Her on-farm jobs are many and range from tax planning and preparation, to determining cash flow, handling inventories, assisting with grain marketing and even driving the combine. For Kathy, the step from part time to full time was an easy one.
“It was more natural for me because of the way my father raised me,” Kathy said. “And my mother didn’t work off the farm, either. She did the books, too. My father always impressed on her the importance for her to know all about agriculture and all aspects of the farm and he did that with me, too.”
According to the 2007 Ag Census, 30 percent of U.S. farms are operated by a woman. Even more are listed as primary decision makers alongside their male counterparts, and that’s a statistic Kathy is proud to be a part of.
“A lot more women are involved in farming now than people realize,” Kathy said. “A lot more daughters are stepping into that role, and a lot more wives than people realize. It’s an important part we play. We have so much to offer and we have a different skill set and viewpoint. That’s why I think my husband and I are such a great team — because we do look at things differently.”
As far as her role in putting food on America’s table, well, that’s pretty straightforward. As a corn and soybean farmer, the Reinhardt’s grain goes to a variety of places, including livestock feed, which helps put the chicken, beef, pork and lamb on your table. And Kathy’s proud of that, too.
“We love what we’re doing, but we feel it’s important for everyone to know that we do our absolute best,” Kathy said. “You get out there and you do your best. You plan it out, you plan when the crops need rotated, whatever you need to do to take care of your land and make sure you’re growing the best crop that you can to help feed the world. We don’t have control over so many things; it’s very important to produce a great crop this year and take care of the land so future generations can, too.”
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