Hometown: Ashdown, AR
- Rancher/Owner of Lick Creek Meats and Lick Creek Land and Cattle, Inc.
- County Extension Agent, Little River County, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture
Briefly describe your role: I perform all labor (with the help of my children and some hired help from time to time) and management on my ranching operation as well as my ranch-to-table meat business. As a County Extension Agent, I provide education and information to my producers in all areas of agriculture including row crops, cattle, and forages.
Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
A: Absolutely! I always knew I would be a rancher (and I told the Little River News reporter so when I was 8 years old when my family was first selected as Farm Family of the Year). My current role as an Extension Agent also fits me to a tee. I can’t think of another career that would fit me any better. I get to work with farmers, ranchers, and homeowners every single day on my number one passion, agriculture!
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
A: Men are respected until it’s proven that you can’t respect or trust them. It’s typically backwards for us as females. We must prove ourselves prior to respect being given. Obviously, we are smaller and not as strong (even though as an arm wrestling champion till the 8th grade, I don’t like to admit it!) so we must find creative ways to make up for our physical weakness. For instance, one of the best investments for me was a floor jack and I always have tractors with front end loaders! Opportunities wise, we probably connect with the modern mother more than some men. They trust us when it comes to feeding their families typically because we have children ourselves.
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: Being a 5th generation rancher, I have never known another life. My Pawpaw Norman used to say it was bred into us. And I think that is true. I’ve never considered another life other than the three weeks that I thought dermatology would be cool.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: Never give up. You may be tired, so rest, but do not quit. You don’t fail until you quit.
And also, zip it and listen. It’s definitely something I am realizing more every day. I ask a lot of questions!
Finally, you can learn something every single day no matter how big or small. Always stay teachable.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: Can I say my Dad and the hardheadedness I inherited from him? I do call him my best asset. He is an exceptional cattleman. I do run most big decisions by him. There are going to be things that we disagree on like me wanting to put Brahman bulls on my cows to produce females but most of the time, I hate to admit it, he is correct.
Another thing that has helped me is that I have had careers in agriculture all of my life. I spent eight years with the Farm Service Agency in Lubbock, TX prior to divorcing and moving home. Once home, I started running yearlings here and went to work for Farm Credit of Western Arkansas for seven years. I was a lender as well as an appraiser for them. Finally, I am now the agricultural extension agent for our county where I have a whole state full of expertise at my fingertips. Take advantage of all you can to learn!