Just three years ago Delaney Howell of Columbus Junction, Iowa, was attending Northwest Missouri State University and working as a summer intern on the Market to Market program at Iowa Public Television. On Feb. 16, 2018, she became the fourth host – and the first female host – in the 40-year history of this popular television program that airs weekly nationwide.
“I grew up watching Market to Market,” says Delaney in an Iowa Public Television interview posted on YouTube. Her parents raised their three kids on a diversified row crop and livestock farm where they raised everything from corn and soybeans to cattle, pigs, goats and chickens. “My dad would turn on [Market to Market] every Friday night. It was like church—you didn’t miss it. And if you wanted to watch, you could watch, otherwise leave the room or be quiet.”
It’s such an honor to report the news that affects people’s livelihoods, adds Howell. “I’m the first female host, and the youngest by far, but I’m so excited to embrace the role and connect the older generations and younger generations to come. We are at a pivotal point in agriculture, and I’m excited to be at the forefront of it all!”
She’s not just on the forefront of television news. Delaney is taking agricultural communications into unchartered territory. Her business, AgCulture Media LLC, specializes in video production for technologically savvy agricultural companies. She freelances for This Week in Agribusiness and Agri-Pulse. She also hosts a radio program on Your Ag Network. In addition, she and Mike Pearson recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of their Ag News Daily (AND) podcast of which Latham Hi-Tech Seeds is a proud sponsor. You can follow @agnewsdaily on social media.
“Mike and I started kicking around the idea of starting a business in October of 2016, but it wasn’t until I attended Commodity Classic in March of 2017 that we really had a concrete idea of what we wanted to do. It was there that Rob Sharkey from the Shark Farmer podcast said, “Hey, why don’t you guys start a podcast?” It was like a lightbulb went on and like a week later, we launched our daily podcast. We have styled it to be a supplement to the news or markets that you hear on the radio.”
“Mike and I like to make news about agriculture fun!” adds Delaney. “We try to mix up each day’s interviews to give all people involved in the industry something interesting, relevant, and timely to listen to. But we aren’t experts in everything, so we appreciate people’s ideas, comments, and suggestions!”
Involvement in the FFA fueled Delaney’s passions for agriculture, communications and international travel. She joined the FFA in middle school and says her advisor, Katie McWhirter (who was Ms. Lewis at the time), was an inspiration to all her students.
“She challenged us which is why I think I fell in love with agriculture all over again. I loved her so much as a teacher that I thought I wanted to be the next Katie McWhirter, but after I attended college for a few years and studied abroad, I realized teaching wasn’t my true passion,” explains Delaney, who took a 10-day tour of Japan through the FFA’s 2014 International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership program. “I ‘checked off’ 16 countries on my world map and realized how important agriculture is across the globe. I decided to switch my major to agricultural sciences with minors in broadcasting and international studies.”
Both of Delaney’s parents have college degrees. Her mom also has her MBA, so Delaney grew up with a desire to continually learn and grow. In addition to working full time, Delaney is working on a master’s degree in agricultural communications from Texas Tech. She is a student member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) organization. She also is a member of the Iowa Cattleman’s Association and was one of just 28 members selected as part of the 2017 Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program (YCLP).
“I have so much love and adoration for the people who grow and raise our food,” says Delaney. “Growing up on a farm taught me so much about hard work, dedication to the land, and ultimately through the eyes of my dad, I was able to see why so many people choose to live the rural lifestyle. During the summers, I spent SO much time with my dad. I loved just being outside with him. I have many memories of being right by his side, holding his hand while we were checking cattle. He was always the first to comfort me and to also give me tough love.
Delaney’s mom instilled within her a love of delicious foods by teaching her how to bake and cook at a young age. That’s why today Delaney is sharing her pumpkin bread recipe, which was selected to advance from the county level to the Iowa State Fair where she earned a blue ribbon.
“I LOVE pumpkin bread! The smell of this bread baking reminds me of football and the fall season, which is my favorite time of year. I’m also that girl who loves everything pumpkin spice.”
Like Delaney, fall is my favorite time of year. I also adore pumpkin spice. Why not bake homemade pumpkin bread this weekend? There’s no rule that says something like delicious shouldn’t be enjoyed in the spring!