Women in Ag: Tracing Kilah Hemesath’s #RootsinBoots
By Kilah Hemesath, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds Marketing Coordinator
Picture this: A pig-tailed, seven-year-old girl climbing up the combine ladder with lunch in hand to spend the day in the field riding along with her dad. There’s a special kind joy in this memory, as I later realized I was doing what I loved years ago.
I spent the next few years doing just that. I became involved in 4-H and FFA and learned there’s no frustration like the last pig slipping by me when loading hogs or the sadness of watching a 9-week old piglet struggling to stay alive. Those experiences have taught me to not stop until the job was done and to let go of things that are out of my control.
After high school, I earned a degree in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University and now work for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds as a Marketing Coordinator. I find myself lucky to have a career in both an industry and an in a position that I am excited about. But that’s not to say I haven’t learned some tough lessons along the way.
The harsh reality of being a young woman in a male-dominated field is that many people quickly jump to the conclusion that you are under qualified, lack knowledge and can’t relate to the farmer in the field. The good news is that I have learned how to earn people’s trust, and I have the opportunity to show what I know.
I’ve found reward within the challenge of proving people wrong, which is a “must-have attitude” for women in agriculture who are just out of college. There is such large opportunity in agriculture, especially in the emerging population of women. The agriculture field is very rewarding and is filled with ample opportunities. I can’t encourage others enough to give it a shot and find their niche.
My family has always supported my interests and encouraged me along the way. My dad taught me that you need to work for what you want, and my mom taught me the need for patience and understanding that everything happens for a reason. Side note – she also taught me how to bake a killer chocolate chip cookie, apple bars and many more. 🙂 My brothers taught me countless lessons. (I like to think I taught them some things too… hah!). Plus, they have pushed me to be the best version of myself.
I am grateful for such a strong support team, especially my parents who have been irreplaceable role models for myself and my brothers. I plan to continue my #RootsinBoots throughout my life, and someday hope to provide my kids with the same inspiring experiences I had.
My best advice for any young women in agriculture is to find what grinds your gears and do that! Hang on to your passion and run with it. Never underestimate a woman in boots!
Without strong women to help shape and manage our company, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds would be a very different company than it is today. We understand the key roles women play in everything from purchasing seed to marketing grain, from public relations and event planning to sales and customer service. That’s why we’re celebrating women who are doing what they love. From now through November we’ll be showcasing women in agriculture by telling their #RootsinBoots stories. Follow along and be inspired by FarmHers across Iowa!