Lilian Swanson

Lilian Swanson – Wright County

“Most people say to my dad, ‘Well… you don’t have any sons to take over your operation,’ and my dad replies, ‘My daughters can do the same thing any man can do.’”

Lilian Swanson was born and raised in Galt, Iowa, a rural town in north central Iowa, where the farming genes run deep; just take a look at the Swanson family if you don’t believe us! For Lilian, farming has been and always will be one her biggest passions in life. Following in her father’s footsteps, who followed in his father’s footsteps, Lilian has continued the family tradition of working in the agricultural industry.

As a child, Lilian enjoyed helping her dad, Stu, with farm chores. Where many kids might’ve seen tiring work, Lilian saw an opportunity to bond with her father. Whether it was working with pigs, working in the fields or feeding the livestock, the fun was found in completing these daily tasks together as a family with her parents and three sisters. Each member of the family seemed to find their own niche when it came to farm chores, Lilian’s being the livestock. Lilian credits her parents for always holding her and her sisters to high expectations and for teaching the four of them the value of hard work from such a young age.

Upon graduating from high school, Lilian made the decision to attend Iowa State University, following in the footsteps of her father and two older sisters as an Agricultural Business major, but she didn’t stop there. During her time at Iowa State, Lilian added a second degree in International Agriculture among her extracurricular involvement in the Iowa State Agricultural Business Club, the ISU Corn Club, and as a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Collegiate Advisory Team. Not only did being part of these groups give Lilian more insight and knowledge on numerous realms of agriculture, but it also was a large part of forming her leadership skills as a woman in agriculture. It was because of these experiences that Lilian was able to gain the confidence to share her story, let others hear her voice and become an advocate for the agriculture industry.

Lilian remains invested in educating people about where their food comes from and empowering people to become more informed about what farmers do daily. General misconceptions about farmers and farming frustrate Lilian and farmers alike, but she’s quick to point out that farmers have the consumer’s best interest in mind and that they wouldn’t put a chemical on their crop, or feed something to their livestock, that they wouldn’t feed to their own family.

“Farming isn’t a 9-5 job. Farming is 24/7, 365 days a year. Farmers are out there caring for their livestock and their land, just to feed their families and the general public,” Lilian said. For Lilian, the future of farming is extremely bright. She’s excited to continue learning and growing in every possible way to be the best, most informed farmer possible.