5 questions with ... Julie Peterson, Peterson Farms Seed
Q: What is your role in agriculture today?
Our mission at Peterson Farms Seed is to provide our regional customers with cutting-edge corn and soybean products which will allow them to prosper and eventually pass their farms down to their kids. Beyond that, I believe our company has a responsibility to participate in the wider ag landscape, so I get involved in promoting our industry in multiple ways.
Speaking to various audiences on the truth of genetically engineered crops, hosting Environmental Protection Agency officials to enlighten them on ag policy and teaching non-ag guests about farming practices through our Banquet in a Field event are all avenues in which I've been active. I try to use my position, in whatever way I can, to promote our region's farmers as the most technologically-astute, business-savvy, smart producers in the country.
Q: How has agriculture shaped your life?
I grew up on an Iowa hog and cattle farm where 4-H projects weren't just a hobby, they were what we did for fun. My farmer parents taught me to work hard. And I love to watch things grow. Who wouldn't want to be a part of agriculture, where hard work results in seeing animals and plants grow!
Q: From Great Plains Software to Peterson Farms Seed, you juggled a career as a mom and wife with family commitments and continue to do so now as a wife and grandma. What advice do you have for young professionals pursuing careers in agriculture while raising kids?
Regardless of whether you're working in ag or another industry: Work really hard and care about what you do. Set goals that are aligned with both your family objectives and your career objectives. And don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. My mantra has always been: Blessed are the flexible for we shall not be bent out of shape.
Q: What do you do to encourage others? Who/what serves as a source of encouragement for you?
I'm so very grateful to have had amazing mentors in my life. I feel I have a responsibility to do the same for young people and have tried my best to help shape the next generation by mentoring kids at church, school, 4-H, FFA and at PFS with our interns. I always encourage our Peterson Farms Seed team to speak and promote ag whenever and wherever we're able. We recently had 12 people mentoring students in an NDSU Ag Sales class. We try not to miss an opportunity to help promote this great industry!
Q: If you could change one misconception about modern agriculture what would it be and why?
Modern agriculture has done a tremendous job of innovating. We've developed technologies that make our food safer and more affordable to a growing population — all the while using less water, less land and fewer pesticides. Somewhere, that story has been lost. I believe that every single farmer needs to speak up within his or her own circle of influence to make certain that misinformation about farming practices is squashed!
Julie Peterson is vice president of marketing and human resources at Peterson Farms Seed. Founded by Julie and her husband Carl, the corn and soybean company remains independent and family-owned, serving farmers in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. Visit them at PetersonFarmsSeed.com or find them on Facebook or Twitter.