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Women in Ag Network's May Feature

By Megan Roberts and Sarah Schieck, Extension Educators
Christy Kallevig

Our May 2019 "Woman in Ag" feature is Christy Kallevig.  Christy wears many hats, including farmer, wife, mom, and Extension Educator. This past February, Christy spoke at our 4th Annual Conference, leading a breakout session on stress management. Below Christy shares more about herself and some good tips for keeping positive in the face of agricultural challenges.

WAGN: Tell us about your career and farm.
Christy: I have been involved in agriculture my entire life.  I grew up on a dairy, hog, and crop farm between Comfrey and Sleepy Eye.  I am the fifth generation to be involved in the farming operation that is now dairy, beef, and crops.  I was active in 4-H and the Brown County American Dairy Association to help educate others about the value of agriculture in our communities and the care that we give our animals and the land.  I went on to marry a farmer, Allan, and we have a grain and hay operation outside of Belgrade.  We continue to farm with my parents and are enjoying the opportunity to bring our 12 year old daughter, Lily, into the the day to day operations of both farms.

In my "off the farm job," I am an Extension Educator in the area of Leadership and Civic Engagement.  I hold a statewide appointment where one of my main responsibilities is to provide program leadership to Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL).  I also work with county based leadership programs such as LINC Redwood County and serve over 3000 leadership alumni from around the state.  My work with MARL is closely related to agriculture as I work to help leaders within rural communities and the ag sector improve their leadership to lead in commodity groups, community organizations, and at all levels of elected leadership.  It is critical that we have strong leaders in order to help agriculture and our communities achieve our goals and have a voice in decision making.

WAGN: Working in agriculture is not always easy.  What are the ways you manage stress and find time to stay positive?
Christy: I am a pretty private person, so it is important for me to find some quiet time to manage stress and make sure that I am able to be a positive voice.  I include time for deep breathing as part of my day whether that comes in a walk or bike ride, meditation, or sometimes in the car between appointments.  It helps me to focus myself as I make transitions between all the different hats that I might wear in a day.  The other thing that I do is try to be solution focused.  When a problem is presented I don't allow myself to sit and complain about it, but rather to shift the conversation to discuss ways that a change, regardless of how big or small, can be made.  I like to feel like I am doing something rather than just standing on the sidelines.

WAGN: What is something you’ve learned from other women in agriculture?
Christy: Two of the most influential women in my life have been my grandmothers and both of them were very active on the farm.  They, like many other women in ag who I have come to know, have taught me the importance of resilience.  As we face different challenges on and off the farm, they are just that, challenges.  We have the ability to work through each challenge, find a solution, and come out the other side a little smarter, a little braver, and usually a whole lot stronger. 


Thanks Christy for sharing your story with WAGN for this month’s “Woman in Ag” feature. To learn more about WAGN visit z.umn.edu/WAGN. To learn more about MARL visit z.umn.edu/MARLstory.

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