During these busy harvest seasons, it's important to not only give thanks to the hardworking farmers putting in 12+ hour days, but also to the husbands or wives of those farmers, who work behind the scenes to keep things running efficiently.
This October's Prairie Woman of the Month is Stacy Schroeder, mother and farm wife in Mahomet, Illinois. She is a city gal turned prairie woman, and I got to ride along with her out to the field to deliver BBQ to her husband and son, both of whom operate their family farming business, Schroeder Farms.
Tell me a little bit about your background.
The environment that I grew up in was very different than that of my current farm life. I grew up in the suburbs in 4 different states, and I was not at all familiar with country living or farming. I came from a small, close family with one sister. I attended the University of Illinois, studied advertising, and worked in downtown, Chicago for 2 years. I love that I now have a "hometown," live near family and have raised my children in one small community where we will cherish long time friendships!
What does a typical day look like for you during harvest season?
A typical day during harvest starts at about 6am. Doug & I have coffee, read devotionals and talk about which farm they are harvesting. I prepare lunches for four men: Doug runs the combine, Bob the auger cart, and two men drive semi trucks. Most days they stop and take a few minutes to eat. Other days, they take their lunches on run. The best days are when I can ride in the combine with my husband, talk about yields and catch up on news. About 2 days a week we have friends or business colleagues ride along. I meet Doug back at the house around 8:30-9pm for a late dinner to end the day.
What is the most difficult part about being married to a farmer?
The most difficult thing about being married to a farmer is that so many things change or are out of our control from season to season. It is hard to make firm plans when weather, markets and income are constantly changing! My husband works long hours during planting and harvest, which is why farm wives need to be flexible in the spring and fall.
What is the best thing about being married to a farmer?
What I love most about being married to a farmer is that farming is a very family friendly business. Our 3 children loved riding in the combine and tractor with Dad or Grandpa over the years. An added blessing is now having our 25 year-old son farming with us! It's a joy watching them grow the business together. There is also something magical about watching your crops grow and knowing we are producing food to feed so many! It makes you proud!
Do you have any favorite recipes to make for the crew during busy seasons?
Favorite recipes to take the men in the fields include: pulled pork, chili and corn bread, hotdogs baked into baked beans and, of course, Jimmy Johns!
Are you connected to other women in agriculture through any groups or organizations?
In our younger days we were involved with a Young Farmer group. It was a nice way for young farm couples to meet. Today I am connected with the spouses of the Illinois Soybean Association, where Doug currently serves on the Executive Board. We do some traveling to meetings in the winter months and learn a lot from one another.