You’re probably familiar with the expression, “You sure have a lot of irons in the fire.” Shoot, maybe you live it. If you do, you’re in good company because Henry County farmer Megan Dwyer is right there with you.
Megan, whose family raises corn, soybeans and a few head of beef cattle, partners with her husband, Todd, and his family on their grain operation. But those aren’t her only jobs. Megan adds precision agriculture specialist and mom of one — soon to be two — to her list of titles, too.
“On my family’s farm, though I’m not in the tractor doing tillage and helping with harvesting as much as I used to be, I’m more active in our cow herd and behind the scenes on the crops,” Megan said. “I handle bull selection and heifer and cow care, record keeping and marketing. On the crop side of things, I help in the hybrid selection of corn and the record keeping and analysis of our data.”
Data is a big part of Megan’s off-the-farm job, too. As a precision ag specialist for River Valley Cooperative, Megan works with local farmers to develop data analysis, including yield data, and helps farmers find what the ‘weakest link’ is on their farms.
“I help farmers with variable rate seeding, managing phosphorus and potassium, and helping maximize return on every acre,” Megan said. “Really, my off-the-farm job allows me to stay current on technology, trends and practices that I not only share with customers, but also bring back home to help our farm and my in-laws’ farm.”
For someone outside the farming community, all of that might be like trying to read a foreign language. In a nutshell, it means Megan helps farmers best plan and use chemicals on their farms. By following the data Megan collects and analyzes, farmers can see what areas need more nutrients and which areas need less, thereby reducing their use of chemicals on the farm.
“I love being able to interact directly with farmers and answer their questions — give them answers to their ‘whys,'” Megan said. “I can help solve questions by putting data and real knowledge behind it. I can help farmers eliminate some of the chemicals they use and maximize the amount of food they produce. Everyone is concerned about the safety of their food and it’s so easy to Google something and find these horrible stories, but nobody sees what farmers really do. When they see it firsthand, they get a completely different view.”
“Just like every other mom out there, it’s a balancing act,” Megan said. “Getting the things done that can’t be put off while making time to do the things you love and are passionate about. For me, that’s working on the farm and sharing the story of agriculture with others. It’s a part of me and I can’t imagine where my life would be without it.”
Don’t forget to check out all the awesome blogs happening this month over at Prairie Farmer.
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