ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota farmer discusses faith, family, farming and outreach

It was the first day of school 2006 and LeAnn's phone rang. Her son, Chet's, preschool teacher was calling. "She said, 'LeAnn I think we have a problem. At the end of the day Chet packed up his bag and said, 'Thanks Mrs. Lanners. I had a great da...

3080082+LeAnn.png
"Living on farms in rural South Dakota can be isolating. It's important to connect with other women who understand what life on the farm and in rural America is like," says LeAnn Moe, Alexandria farmer and on the organizing committee for Women in Blue Jeans, an annual event held in Mitchell to bring women in agriculture together.

It was the first day of school 2006 and LeAnn's phone rang. Her son, Chet's, preschool teacher was calling.

 

"She said, 'LeAnn I think we have a problem. At the end of the day Chet packed up his bag and said, 'Thanks Mrs. Lanners. I had a great day, but I won't be back.'"   

Taking the conversation in stride, LeAnn (Neugebauer) Moe met Chet as he got off the bus and set about showing the four-year-old the value of education by making connections between school and their family's Alexandria farm.  

"We asked him to count the cows in the pasture, reminding him that in school he will learn how to count. We asked him if he wanted to help the guys spray in the field and then explained that he needed to learn science to do that.  

ADVERTISEMENT

We asked him if he knew where all our fields were located and then told him that was geography," explains the mom of three and fourth generation farmer.  

Her efforts paid off. Chet went back to school the next day and is currently a freshman at Hanson High School. LeAnn and her husband, Dave, also have two daughters, McKayla, 21, a junior at South Dakota State University majoring in Agriculture Systems Technology, and Ashley, 18, a senior at Hanson High School.  

If you know LeAnn, it's no surprise that she took such an innovative approach to this parenting challenge. If you don't know her, she is a glass-half-full gal who isn't afraid to roll up her sleeves and work right alongside her husband Dave. In fact, she'd prefer to spend her time outdoors.  

Growing up on a small family farm near Dimock, LeAnn spent her youth working with her dad, Vernon, and brothers on their family farm when she wasn't learning how to cook and bake with her mom, LaVerna.  

"Farming is my way of life. It's all I knew growing up and it's one of those things ­ I never saw myself doing anything else but farming," explains LeAnn, who says these days it's tough to get tractor time in. She spends her days preparing meals for family and the farm's employees, as well as managing the bookwork.  

When McKayla was born, LeAnn knew the farm was where she wanted to raise her children. "I wanted my kids to develop the same values and work ethic that I did and I knew there was no better place to do that than here on the farm," says Leann, who traded a full-time off-farm job for various part-time positions until the farm needed her full-time.  

 "When the kids were little they were always with us. Whether I was driving a tractor or grain cart, they were either with me or Dave ­ they are still actively involved in the farm."  Women in Blue JeansAlong with working on the farm and raising kids, LeAnn also gives her time to her church, the local school and community. "Basically, wherever I'm needed, I try and make time to help out," she says.  

In recent years, she has served on the planning committee for Women in Blue Jeans, an annual weekend retreat for farm and agri-business women and their friends.  

ADVERTISEMENT

"We want to connect farm women to a support network of resources and other women in agriculture - to make sure they realize they are not alone," LeAnn says.  

LeAnn explains that while both spouses are actively engaged on the farm, most informative meetings are geared toward the men. "Farm wives are just as valuable and viable part of the farm as their husbands. Like me, many farm wives are the ones who take care of the bookwork and risk management." Women in Blue Jeans brings together experts to present on topics like finance and asset protection as well as hobby-related topics like baking, honey production and soap making.  

LeAnn first became involved in the event when she was asked to present on farm bookkeeping. She says that true to the event's mission, she developed connections and friendships with other farm women during that first Women In Blue Jeans event.  

 "Living on farms in rural South Dakota can be isolating. It's important to connect with other women who understand what life on the farm and in rural America is like," LeAnn says.  

LeAnn felt this first hand. In 2014 her husband, Dave, was diagnosed with cancer. She found a support network within some of her Women In Blue Jeans friends.  

Today, Dave's health is stable and LeAnn says the experience has strengthened her faith. "This really put everything into perspective and taught us to rely on our faith. Honestly, it's a time when your only option is to turn it over to God. As they say, 'Let go and let God.' That's not always easy.'" 
Looking back on this chapter in their family and farm life, LeAnn says her family has so much to be thankful for. Several months before Dave was diagnosed, the couple revisited their estate planning, upgrading their wills and life insurance. LeAnn was inspired to do this following workshops she attended during a recent Women in Blue Jeans.
 "We'd been married 20 years at the time and never changed our wills from when our kids were little. I call it a 'God thing.'" 
Recently returning from a 2017 Women In Blue Jeans planning session, LeAnn says that with the depressing commodity markets, this year's event is focused on providing an uplifting outlet for women in agriculture.
"This event is designed to rejuvenate women. It's held after the holidays and before planting season for a reason."   

To learn more about the 2017 Women In Blue Jeans event which will be held February 24 and 25 in Mitchell, visit  http://www . womeninbluejeans.org/

Related Topics: FARMINGFAMILY
What To Read Next
Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions says its pipeline project will help ethanol plants. The project aims to capture greenhouse gas emissions and pipe the CO2 to western North Dakota for underground storage.
The number of cows going to slaughter is far above the five-year average. Attendees of the annual Cow Calf Days tour in Minnesota heard the latest on cattle trends.
As Mikkel Pates approaches his retirement from Agweek after 44 years in journalism, he talks to Rose Dunn about learning TV, covering ag's characters and scandals and looking toward the future.
Members Only
“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.