From $425 “faux muddy jeans” to trendy vintage FFA jackets, it seems that everyone from hipsters to fashionistas want to live the legacy left by the farmers and ranchers before them.
Every morning Jennifer Carrico is reminded of her agricultural roots as she enters the stately wooden barn on her family’s Century Farm in central Iowa to do cattle chores before heading into the office or hitting the road for her job as field editor for the High Plains Journal.
“Miranda Lambert sings ‘The House that Built Me.’ I love that song about how she wants to go in the house she grew up in to find her roots again. I am lucky enough to be able to go into the barn that built me every day,” says Jennifer, who’s raising the sixth generation on her family farm in Dallas County. “I want my children to understand how important agriculture is to our family and how farmers and ranchers provide so much for so many other people.”
Today Jennifer, her 16-year-old daughter and her 11-year old son, enjoy raising cattle and showing them across the country. Most of their family vacations involve attending cattle shows. While it’s a lot of work, she says it’s also a lot of fun.
“I grew up being part of Carrico Angus, a purebred Angus operation my dad started when he was in 4-H,” says Jennifer. “My dad dispersed his herd in 2006, and I was able to purchase some of the genetics in that sale to continue my herd. Since returning to the farm in 2007, I have had the opportunity to build a small herd of purebred Angus cows with a few crossbred cows.”
“Growing up on a farm teaches a work ethic that can’t be taught by a book,” adds Jennifer. “Both Kassidy and Klayton help work
cattle, pull calves and have their own show cattle to care for. They learn about the importance of teamwork. They also learn about life cycles and develop compassion for all of God’s creations.”
In addition to their farm chores, Jennifer’s children are involved in school sports and youth organizations. Kassidy is in both 4-H and FFA. Klayton is in 4-H. These two organizations, along with junior beef breed associations, provide them with opportunities to expand their leadership and communication skills. They also get the chance to make friends locally and nationally with others who share the same interests.
Similar childhood experiences are what led Jennifer to pursue a career in agriculture. She enrolled at Iowa State University with the intent of becoming a veterinarian. Two years after working toward her animal science degree, Jennifer realized she wanted to tell the stories of farmers and ranchers. She wanted to help others understand why agriculture is so important, so she added a minor in journalism.
Jennifer has been involved with ag communications for the past 25 years. Without a doubt, she says the favorite part of her job is telling the story of the farmer and rancher. She has the pleasure of meeting many great farmers and ranchers from across the country and has the opportunity of traveling through some of the most beautiful areas.
Also active in professional organizations, Jennifer serves as secretary of the Livestock Publications Council board of directors. She serves on committees for the American Agriculture Editor’s Association, as well. She has been involved with the steering committee for Agricultural Media Summit and chaired the event in 2014. Jennifer also a member of the Alumni FFA and is serving as education chair for the 2017 National Junior Angus Show in Des Moines.
In support of the industry she’s so passionate about, today Jennifer is sharing with us one of her family’s favorite recipes for beef brisket.