Pam Johnson has never fit the stereotype of an Iowa farm wife. Not only is she is a fifth-generation farmer who raises corn and soybeans with her husband, two sons and their young families near Floyd, but she’s a state and national leader for the corn industry.
“I love to share the story of our farm,” said Johnson, who has held many leadership positions with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association. “I also listen to consumers’ interests and questions about farming so I can be an authentic voice for agriculture.”
While farming is all about food production, the corn that Johnson and her family grows isn’t sweet corn that’s sold in the grocery store or farmers’ market. The Johnsons’ field corn is used to feed livestock and is also turned into ethanol that fuels cars, trucks and other vehicles.
You might be surprised to learn what other kernels of truth Johnson recently shared with the Iowa Food and Family Project.Q: What motivated you to pursue a career in farming?A:
My three brothers and I grew up on a farm near Osage. After college, I pursued a nursing career in Minneapolis. After I married my husband, Maurice, I moved back to Iowa in 1972. We’ve farmed together for nearly 40 years.Q: How does your family work together in your farming operation? A:
We farm with our oldest son, Ben, who lives nearby with his wife, Amy, and their sons, Jackson, 6, and Riley, 3. In the fall of 2013, our younger son, Andy, began working with us full time after teaching vocational agriculture classes in St. Ansgar for 10 years. Andy’s wife, Abbie, teaches ag education at North Iowa Area Community College. I’m very lucky that our family, including Andy, Abbie and their son, Kyle, 1, lives within eight miles of our place.
Q. What do you love about Iowa agriculture?A:
I have passion for living on the land, being outside and working with my family. I help with lots of different jobs, but my preference is to run the grain cart at harvest. Not only does farming provide a living for us, but I’m glad we can be an answer to what some of the world needs in terms of food and energy security.Q: When you talk to consumer audiences about Iowa agriculture, what key points do you share? A:
Farmers are committed to providing safe, affordable food. This means people can spend less of their money on groceries and have more disposable income for other things.Q. What excites you about the future of Iowa agriculture?
Farmers are making conservation a priority and are finding ways to produce more crops with fewer inputs. It’s all about continuous improvement.Q. Anything else you'd like to add, either as a mother, an Iowa farmer or a corn industry leader?A:
I really love being a farmer. It’s challenging some days, but it also has many opportunities. My job is very rewarding when I look at the big picture. Written by Darcy Maulsby