Shana Beattie

Sumner, Nebraska
She was born and raised on her family’s cattle ranch in North Central Florida, and now resides in Sumner, Nebraska, where she farms with her husband Bart and his parents on Beattie Ranch, a fifth-generation family farm. Currently, the Beattie’s farm corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and certified grass seed. In addition to raising crops, they run a cow/calf ranch and a wean-to-finish swine operation where they utilize the corn they’ve raised as the primary feed source for the livestock. While Shana and her husband understand the immense responsibility of producing quality food to feed the world, she cannot think of a better opportunity to give her four children than their way of life in agriculture.

You can watch two videos about the Beattie’s on the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture’s (A-FAN) website

Kristen Eggerling

Martell, Nebraska
She and her husband Todd were intensely interested in agriculture since they were young. Today, Kristen and Todd Eggerling, along with Kristen’s parents, operate a farm and ranch near Martell, Nebraska, on the land that was homesteaded by Kristen’s family in 1873. In addition to raising two children, Kristen is heavily involved in the day-to-day care of the cattle and crops with the guiding philosophy to improve the farmland and rangeland they operate. Kristen and her family recognize that an agricultural operation with close proximity to a city such as Lincoln, can serve as a positive example of the proactive steps taken by the majority of farmers and ranchers to ensure a healthy, sustainable environment in the present and for future generations.

Dawn Caldwell

Edgar, Nebraska
Dawn Caldwell is a Nebraska CommonGround spokeswoman from near Edgar. Dawn, along with her husband Matt, and her two kids, Kaydee and Emmet, raise cattle on 800 acres in north-central Kansas, about an hour south of their home. They also grow wheat; soybeans; and sorghum, which is similar to corn and used in livestock feed; and a lot of hay for the cattle. Dawn says that they all work together on the farm, including Kaydee and Emmet, who have a small herd of their own cattle. “Every family is busy, and ours is no exception. Like others, we rely on technology to keep things going. We use new technology to farm more efficiently and wisely. We work hard, but we love our busy life on the farm. We’re proud of the small part we play in providing healthy, affordable food to this country.”

For more information about Dawn, visit her blog, Lady Of Ag


Diane Becker

Norfolk, Nebraska

Diane Becker and her husband Tom farm south of Norfolk, where they raise irrigated corn and soybeans and do custom work. They have six children ages 7, 11, 15, 17, 19 and 26. Diane taught online and campus web page classes at a nearby community college for many years. Now, she focuses her energy on writing columns for the Nebraska Farmer and the Norfolk Daily News, working as a staff writer for the City of Norfolk and updating websites. Diane says, ” I am active in our kids’ school organizations and am a member of the board of the Norfolk Express Soccer Club and the Nebraska Soybean Association. I was in the Nebraska LEAD program 2007-2009. My hobbies include attending the kids’ activities, running half marathons, taking long bike trips, and reading with my online book club.”

Joan Ruskamp

Dodge, Nebraska
I grew up a city girl dreaming of the farm life. My childhood love for animals drew me into the field of veterinary medicine. When I met my husband in 1980, our common values of faith and family along with a combined desire to build a farm of our own led to our marriage in late-1981. We bought the 40 acres Steve’s grandfather received as a wedding gift in 1914 and raised our five children in the same house my father-in-law grew up in. Since that original purchase we have added ground and built pens for cattle. We are able to utilize nutrients from our manure and holding pond for the corn and soybeans we grow. We hold all the water flowing into and on our farm into a six acre (1 acre = 1 football field) holding pond, protecting rivers and streams from nutrient runoff and acting as flood control. We bring cattle from regions with the terrain and climate suited for growing grass to our region where we grow grain really well. The cattle are able to utilize resources in a way that enhances the environment while producing tasty and tender beef as well as numerous other items like leather, insulin and gelatin. It is important to me and my husband to protect the environment, show respect for the cattle and provide a quality product in the process.
Our five children have graduated from college following a variety of passions. Four of the five are married blessing us with six grandchildren so far. My husband and I are active in our local church and serve our community as volunteer EMTs and 4-H leaders.


Hilary Maricle

Albion, Nebraska

Being a farm mom with five kids keeps her busy, but Hilary also enjoys her role of teaching agriculture to young farmers who are in college. Hilary and her husband, Brian, are the 6th generation living and working on Maricle Family Farms with his family, and her parents own and operate a grocery story – so she can truly relate of the story of “farm to fork”! They raise cattle, corn, hogs, and soybeans just south of Albion, Nebraska. My favorite time of the year is calving season and assisting with birthing and then working with the calves! She also enjoys being involved in American & Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Nebraska Cattlemen & NCBA, Ag-Ceptional Women’s Committee Member, National & Nebraska Ag Educators Association, Boone County Planning & Zoning Commission Board Member, as well as helping out with the Boone County 4-H and FFA. She especially likes working with her children as a Youth Soccer Coach and assisting with Youth Coach Pitch, teaching her children how to show cattle and ride horses, and showing them the values of agriculture through 4-H and life on the farm!

You can read more at my Hilary’s blog, Maricle Musings, watch her family farm videos on YouTube, and follow her on Twitter (@Mariclefarm) and Instagram (@hilarymaricle).

Linda Schwarz

Gosper County, Nebraska

Linda Schwarz farms with her husband Tom and their two children, Alex and Becky, who are the sixth generation to farm in Gosper County, Nebraska. They have grown many organic crops including corn, blue corn, popcorn, white milo, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. In 2010, they put up two passive solar greenhouses, which are plastic covered houses, where they are experimenting with a variety of vegetables to sell to grocery stores and restaurants. As an American farmer, Linda is proud of our ability and commitment to providing quality, safe products to a diverse consumer base.

For more information about Linda, visit her blog, Schwarz Family Farm

Leslie Boswell

Shickley, Nebraska

After growing up on a hog farm, life on a grain farm seems pretty simple. Back then, everything Leslie did had to wait until chores were done all 365 days a year including Christmas, birthday parties and sports events. Now her work is more seasonal and dependent on the weather. Leslie and her husband, Ken, farm about 1200 acres of irrigated and dryland corn and soybeans near Shickley, Nebraska. This keeps them busy from early spring to late fall, but also gives them time to spend with our family and nine grandchildren. Through most of the year, Leslie is the support staff, helping in any way she can. At harvest time she runs the combine. When they are not busy on the farm, they like to travel and attend meetings and conferences relating to farming. Her family lives on their land, drinks water from their well, and are good stewards of the land that supports them. They care about safety for themselves, her family and for the food they raise on their family farm.

Chandra Horky

Sargent, Nebraska
I am from central Nebraska where I am farming and ranching with my husband of 16 years and counting! Terry and I have 3 beautiful children who are 10, 7, and 8 months old. On our farm we raise roundup ready sweet corn for our own family, GMO corn and soybeans for livestock feed and fuel. We use technology in our farming operation to help use less seed and conserve water. We also raise Black Angus cows to calve out in late winter/early spring. We raise our calves to sell to a feedlot in the fall. Every day and every year is a learning experience. We try to make better decisions than the year before to raise a better crop, raise a better calf and keep our cow herd healthier.

Susan Littlefield

Surprise, Nebraska

Susan Littlefield and her husband Mike, along with their three children, Bryan, Morgan and Paul, raise registered Columbia sheep along with all the fun 4-H brings on a small farm south of Surprise, Nebraska. Her role as a farm wife may be different than most because besides her life on the farm and being a mom, she am a firefighter/EMT and a most might know her voice as being a farm broadcaster. She loves living on the farm and being able to talk about it on the air. Susan is excited to share and have the opportunity to talk to other Mom’s about farm life, raising kids, and one of her favorites – cooking!

Diane Karr

Blue Hill, Nebraska

Diane Karr and her husband Mike raise corn, soybeans, wheat, grain sorghum and cattle with their four boys on their farm in south central Nebraska. Between staying busy with four boys, Diane plays the organ for her church, manages the farm accounting and enjoys photography, scrapbooking and Husker and Packer football. Diane’s passion for agriculture goes way back. Both she and her husband were raised with farming backgrounds and their families’ agriculture legacies go back 125 years!

You can read more on Diane’s blog, Real Farmwife on the County Line or follow her on Twitter at @RealFarmwife.

Sharon Portenier

Farnam, Nebraska

I’m Sharon Portenier, and I ranch with my husband Keith and our daughters near Farnam, Nebraska. After nearly 36 years of raising our four daughters, row crop farming and running our cow calf operation in central Nebraska, we chose to relocate and devote our lives to ranching. Our passion for the cattle shines through in our girls’ lives. The youngest is still in high school but spends every spare minute with the cows. Our third daughter lives nearby and is involved in our operation as well as her husband’s family farm and ranch. Our older daughters are also involved in the ag industry with their husbands on family farms and ranches. It is so exciting to watch our grandchildren grow and help them learn about the importance of agriculture, how it provides for our family and how it feeds everyone around us. I have enjoyed serving as a CommonGround volunteer for five years and look forward to continuing to help inform consumers about their food choices.

Lisa Lunz

Wakefield, Nebraska
I have been involved in agriculture my entire life. I grew up on a diversified livestock and crop farm south of Wakefield. Today I live north of Wakefield with my husband Jim, and we have three grown children. Two of our children are married and we are enjoying our first grandson. We grow dryland corn and soybeans and have no-tilled for more than 20 years. Being good stewards of the soil and the environment is important to both of us. During harvest, I operate the combine. I also keep the farm records and we share the marketing duties. I have been involved with several organizations to help promote agriculture. There is a disconnect between the consumer and the farmer and we need to continue to tell our story

Karol Swan

York, Nebraska
“I’ve had the fortune to live on a farm all my life. I grew up on a row crop farm in Saunders County, where my brothers still farm. I currently live on a small irrigated row crop farm near York owned by my daughter, my step children and me. We are blessed with wonderful tenants who help us farm the land. I was a 4-H Mom, so for projects we had many species of large animals for many years. In the past we had Hereford cattle. We still have horses and always will. I also worked for more than 30 years for USDA Meat Grading and Certification Branch grading carcass beef in Grand Island, I have also worked in all beef plants in the area. My daughter Jordan recently graduated with an Ag Business degree and is starting graduate studies.”

Ruth Ready

Scribner, Nebraska
“Farming and science are one in the same on the Ready farm. My husband Sid and I farm near Scribner, Nebraska, raising corn, soybeans, alfalfa, chickens and cattle. Sid also teaches high school chemistry and college level biology at Logan View High School. I help him at school by prepping labs and discussing how to teach scientific ideas as they relate to agriculture. At the school, I am also the drama director and junior class sponsor. In between, I work at the local hardware store. Three of our children are in college and professional school and we have one grandson. Our youngest daughter is in junior high and we have two daughters awaiting us in heaven as the result of a car accident. Family is foremost in our lives and we enjoy working and playing together on the farm and off during camping and fishing trips. Our farm has been in our family since the homestead days of 1870 and we want to be sure it is here for the generations to come. I truly feel that there is no place like Nebraska.”

Marilyn Pribyl

Geneva, Nebraska
I am a lifelong farm girl, wife, mom and grandma who has had the wonderful opportunity to live on the farm all my life. As the youngest of 8 children, I grew up on a row crop farm near David City, Nebraska, where my brother still farms. Currently, my husband and I live on the farm near Geneva, Nebraska where we have been for 28+ years. We raised our 4 beautiful children on our farm and are now enjoying sharing our farm and the many adventures of it with our 6 wonderful grandchildren. We farm with my husband’s family and have a good sized corn and soy row crop operation. When it comes to livestock, we have dabbled with a lot over the years. As a 4-H family, we have had our share of experiences raising everything from turkeys, chickens and ducks to hogs, cattle and rabbits. Outside of helping my husband on the farm, I am an RN where I have worked in the hospital, clinic, nursing home and school settings. I love to cook, garden and sew!

Ashley Babl

Albion, Nebraska

I grew up in Albion, NE as the oldest of three girls. My family has farmed around the Albion area for quite some time with corn, soybeans and wheat. We have also been involved in a farrow-to-finish hog operation. After graduating high school, I attended Northeast Community College for Animal Science in hopes of becoming a pharmaceutical rep one day. My biological father passed away during my second semester and I chose to leave agriculture for a short time. I became employed with Faith Regional Health Services in the laboratory department, but the farm kept calling me back. After 6 years in the medical field, I quit work and went back to school. I returned to Northeast and double majored in AgriBusiness and Agronomy. During my time at NECC, I became president of the Diversified Ag Club and a member of the Nebraska LEAD Program. I am also a mother to a young boy, Brantlee. We currently reside in Albion with my husband Adam. I am employed with Green Line Equipment as a Precision Farming Consultant.

Deb Gangwish

Shelton, Nebraska

I haven’t always lived on a farm, but after marrying a farmer I can’t imagine living anywhere but our farm.  My name is Deb Gangwish.  Until the age of nine I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska.  One of the best gifts I have received was to turn 10 on an old farm acreage my parents bought that summer.  It was there, with the original farm house, squeaky windmill, red barns, brooder house and hen house that I fell in love with agriculture and Mother Nature.  Today, my husband and I live on a farm near Shelton, Nebraska where we grow corn and soybean and raise cattle.  Raising our five children on our farm has taught them the lasting core values of hard work, caring and perseverance.  And today, our kids’ lives are shaping up to be living proof of those values.  Farm life continues to bring with it hard, dirty, long hours, no matter the elements outside or the time of day.  But I wouldn’t trade it.  Something inside folks changes for the better when you are needed by something bigger than yourself.  Folks in agriculture learn this from the moment they are born. I learned it at 10 years of age. “Work before play.” It’s how we live.

Melisa Konecky

Wahoo, Nebraska
My family and I live near Wahoo, where we milk dairy cows and farm 500 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa. I help manage daily farm operations and records, milk cows, care for the cattle, and act as a general farm hand with anything from putting up hay to running the grain cart. As a third-generation dairy farmer, growing and producing food has always been a part of my life and one of the things I am most proud of. Along with this great responsibility, there also comes a need to help others understand where their food comes from. There is a lot of misinformation being spread about the food we consume. My goal is to help connect consumers with the farmers who help produce the products we all love. Most of these farmers are family farmers, just like us, who work hard to ensure that the food we’re producing is sustainably raised and safe for our families and yours.

Deb Lundeen

Minden, Nebraska

I grew up on a farm near Minden, Iowa and now live on a farm near Minden, Nebraska!  I have a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in Counseling and Psychology from the University of Nebraska- Kearney.  My first job as a Registered Dietitian was to work for the Nebraska Beef Council educating consumers on the health benefits of eating beef.  I then went on to do wellness work for 21 years in the Kearney area.  In 2012, I obtained my CDL to become a semi-truck driver on our farm.

My husband Brad and I have raised our three children, Mark, Laura and Nate, on our family farm, where we grow row crop irrigated corn and soybeans. We are very proud that all of our children are involved agriculture and our two sons are the fifth generation to farm our family’s ground.

When I’m not working on the farm, 4-H, church, and summer and winter sports take up my extra time. I love agriculture and have a passion to share scientific truths about the food we eat!”

Morgan Wrich

Osceola, Nebraska
My husband Seth Gebers and I, along with our two dogs, raise corn and soybeans north of York. I grew up in Northwest Omaha and had the privilege of spending many days helping out on my grandparents’ farm in Washington County, where my love for agriculture bloomed. I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Agricultural Leadership and a minor in Agribusiness. Along with helping out on the farm, I work for the Nebraska Corn Growers Association as the Director of Grower Services. In this role, I have the honor of working with corn growers all across the state. When not working in the office or on the farm, I enjoy chasing after the dogs, attending Husker football games, and visiting family and friends.

Elaine Farley-Zoucha

Columbus, Nebraska
I grew up a “Navy brat” living on the East Coast until my dad retired from the U.S. Navy. When I was in sixth grade, we relocated to his hometown of Schuyler. I will never forget our first day in Nebraska. I had never seen so much corn! Growing up in a farming community, I thought I knew farming, but I was wrong. It wasn’t until I married my husband, Troy, that I truly learned the blessings and struggles of farming and grew to love it. I became involved with CommonGround in 2015 after attending one of their ag tours. As a chef and registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), it was the perfect fit. There are so many misconceptions about agricultural practices. As a farmer’s wife and RDN, I feel that it is my responsibility to educate people on the truths of how farmers keep the food we produce safe. I am honored to be a farmer’s wife and feel blessed to raise my sons, Nicholas and Grant, on my husband’s family farm.

Rene Blauhorn

Palmer, Nebraska
I grew up a city girl in Omaha and recently resettled in Palmer, Nebraska to marry my handsome farmer husband! I am a general practice attorney. If I am not up town at my law office, you can often find me helping out on my husband’s family farm. My favorite part of our farm is the cow/calf operation, due to the dynamic interactive nature of the work. I am a passionate advocate both at work and on the farm. I love community involvement, baking, reading, and being active.

Karah Perdue

York, Nebraska
I farm with my husband and our four kids.  We have a diversified farm including a cow/calf operation, row crops, and a pullet barn (where we raise young hens). My husband has a full-time job with an ag retail company, so the day-to-day duties are up to me and our kids.  I am a farmer’s daughter; and I love passing down all the lessons I learned to the kids and teaching them how to work as a family on the farm. Farming and caring for our animals have taught our kids empathy and patience.  I hope to share my story about our farm and help consumers make informed food choices.

Paula Peterson

Waverly, Nebraska
I am blessed to be part of a three-generation farm. I work with my husband, his uncle, and our daughter on a daily basis. I can’t imagine a better job than getting to feed the world.  We also have a cow-calf operation, which means that I get to raise baby calves for a living. I love sharing the story of our farm with kids and adults across the state. Some days I am in the office, keeping paperwork and records for the farm current. Other days you will find me fixing fence or driving a tractor. I’m living the life I love.

Crystal Klug

Columbus, Nebraska
I grew up a farm girl and despite my mother encouraging me to ‘NEVER marry a farmer,’ I met my farmer husband, Beau, in college and we moved back to his family farm following graduation. We are the fourth generation (raising the fifth) to live and work off the land and raise cattle, crops and kids. My husband works alongside his dad and brother every day to ensure livestock are properly fed, watered and cared for. We plant a lot of cover crops to protect and improve soil health, which also provides an additional feed source for our cattle. We also utilize the manure from our livestock to fertilize the soil, and are always seeking opportunities to improve sustainability on our farm. I play a supportive role on the farm, making meals for hungry farmers and crews during the busy spring planting and fall harvest seasons, manage the books, and keep our young family of five fed, clean, laundered and chauffeured. I volunteer in my kids’ school, am a 10-plus year 4-H leader, and help my oldest son walk, feed, and travel to pig shows with his show pigs during the late spring and summer months.

Heather Korver

Wayne, Nebraska
Dairy farming is in my blood. My grandparents operated their dairy a mile from the acreage where I grew up, west of Norfolk, Nebraska. While I was still in grade school, I helped my family bottle-feed the baby calves at our place. After attending Northeast Community College and working as an auction clerk at the Norfolk Livestock Market, I began employment on a friend’s family dairy farm north of Wayne, Nebraska. Through this mutual friend, I met my husband, Tim, a dairyman from northwest Iowa. Currently, we both live and work on the 750-cow dairy by Wayne. Tim helps with overseeing the cows and crops. I work with the calves (newborn to 9 weeks old), feeding them and taking care of their health. The cows are milked three times per day, and the milk is hauled to Sanborn, Iowa, where it is made into cheese. Most of the feed is grown on the dairy’s 1,000 acres of farm ground. We utilize cover crops and fertilize the fields with manure from the cows. When I’m not doing chores, I may be found teaching piano lessons, gardening or crafting. Tim and I are both very involved in our church, teaching Sunday school, attending small group Bible studies and playing the trumpet or piano during the services.

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