Women in Ag: Tracing Abby Bultema’s #RootsinBoots

roots-in-boots-mastheadThe agriculture industry is one of the vastest industries in the United States. Abby Bultema of Beecher, Illinois, has had lots of opportunity to explore just how diverse agriculture is throughout the world.

#RootsinBootsAbby has roots in produce and row crop agriculture. She grew up selling her family’s produce at their farmstand where she learned how to work in the fields and developed retail marketing skills. Ten years ago, the Bultema family transitioned their produce business into greenhouses. They grow corn, soybeans, pumpkins and squash in fields. Inside the greenhouses, the Bultema family grows a wide assortment of vegetables and herbs, as well as annual and perennial flowers.

With experience like this, it’s no surprise to learn that Abby is majoring in Agronomy with a minor in Horticulture at Iowa State University. Ironically, she had no idea what she wanted to study until her senior year in high school. Her high school didn’t have an FFA program, and she was never a 4-H member.

“I took growing up on a farm for granted, I never thought there was anything more I could do in agriculture outside of farming,” said Abby. Then one night her dad suggested that she consider agronomy because she enjoyed the farm and knew a lot about it. After doing some research, Abby was opened up to the diverse possibilities a career in agriculture can hold.

Whether she’s abroad or at home, Abby is up for adventure. This college senior has gone on two international study abroad trips to New Zealand and Costa Rica. In New Zealand, she studied the dairy industry and the country’s pasture management systems. She also learned about the budding New Zealand horticulture crop export market. During Spring Break 2016, Abby toured coffee production facilities, mango and banana farms, orange groves and sugarcane plantations in Costa Rica.

Abby spent the summer interning with Forage Genetics International. Every week throughout her experience with FGI, she was in a different state visiting FGI research stations, attending meetings and riding with account managers of the internal seed brands. Abby also got to help develop marketing tools for FGI’s new low-lignin line of alfalfa, HarvXtra™. (BTW, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds sells this innovative alfalfa technology, so be sure to talk to your local Latham dealer about what HarvXtra™ can do for your alfalfa fields in 2017!)

#RootsinBootsAlthough she’s not yet sure which ag path she will travel once she earns her degree from ISU, Abby’s goal is to work in seed sales and eventually become a field agronomist for a seed company. Wherever she ends up, Abby knows that agriculture has plenty of avenues to go down.

“Everything in the agriculture industry kind of overlaps and plays off of each other,” said Abby. “Though I am going into crop production, there are opportunities for me to go into livestock feed or even nutrition. Every aspect of agriculture feeds into another aspect of agriculture.”

As one of the 51% of female students enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State, Abby is excited for the future of agriculture and what that means for women.

“Being a woman in agriculture means we have to be twice as smart, twice as confident and work twice as hard to prove our worth in this industry,” said Abby. “When someone says ‘farmer,’ you automatically picture a man. With more women pursuing careers in agriculture, we’re beginning to break that mold. Soon people won’t even think twice about seeing a FarmHer!”

Find more inspiring #RootsinBoots stories below:


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’re showcasing women in agriculture by telling their #RootsinBoots stories. Follow along and be inspired by FarmHers across Iowa!

We’re looking for women, ages 18 to 108, who have a passion for agriculture and are willing to share their farm stories. Simply post photos of yourself on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtags #RootsinBoots #LathamSeeds and #FarmHer. Let your personality and work ethic show. We want to see what a “day in the life” of you is like!

Because each woman in agriculture is unique, everyone who submits a photo of herself either working in the field or working with livestock will be entered to win a $500 shopping spree at Western Edge LTD. There’s no limit to the number of entries, so increase your chances by posting across platforms via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Go to https://www.lathamseeds.com/rootsinboots/ or click here for more information.