Corinne Rowe’s #RootsinBoots: Living in the Present
“I clearly remember watching our cows being milked that last morning. Instead of turning out to the barn, they were loaded onto a semi-trailer and taken to a sale barn,” Corinne said. “My siblings and I watched while we waited for the school bus.”
Although only 11 years old at the time, Corinne Rowe (pronounced R-owe, rhymes with cow) learned a lesson about the 1980s Farm Crisis that students in most classrooms will never fully comprehend. She and her family learned about the highs of the peaks and the lows of valleys in a cyclical business. She admits her early farm life of growing up on a dairy and row crop operation during that time in history shaped a lot of her views today.
“We kept farming and raising cattle after that morning by making the necessary changes. That experience taught me to keep working hard in life; make adjustments when needed; and keep moving toward your goals,” she said.
Corinne was motivated to give the ag industry a shot for herself. When she and her younger brother were in junior high, they partnered with an area cow/calf producer to raise Black Angus. They showed some of their animals as market steers and heifers, cow/calf pairs and breeding heifers. Daily chores and making themselves available 24/7 during calving season became a priority for both of them.
Corinne continued to follow her interest in the cattle industry, showing every year between 1986 and 1995, including a few national Brown Swiss shows. She was active in the Junior Brown Swiss Association and served as the state princess from 1994 to 1996.
After getting a taste of the ag industry, Corinne knew she wanted to attend Iowa State University in Dairy Science.
“I envisioned a career in agriculture, especially tied to the dairy industry,” said Corinne, who was offered two jobs upon graduating from college. One job was at bank in Central Iowa, and the other was with a large artificial insemination (AI) company covering southwest Wisconsin. She felt torn as she yearned to stay in the dairy industry but also wanted to remain close to a young farm boy she met while attending ISU. Corinne took the bank job in 2000, so she could remain close to her roots. She also helped her soon-to-be husband, Justin, with the cow/calf herd and got involved in their county cattlemen’s group.
Four short years later, her and Justin found time between planting baling and harvest to get married in November 2004. Shortly after, Corinne stated working for John Deere Financial in 2006.
“I am proud to work for a company that supports all forms of agriculture and strives to understand their customers as well as John Deere does,” said Corinne. “I wanted to have a job off the farm that was tied to agriculture and John Deere is a great fit for that.”
Corinne works in John Deere Financial as a Dealer Relationship Manager. She serves as the “go-to” person for all financing-related questions stemmed from ag loan applications from dealer staff. One of her favorite aspects of the job is working with dealers, building relationships and learning about agriculture all throughout the United States.
“I’ve had opportunities to ride in a cotton picker during harvest, tour an orange grove, and see sugar cane fields,” she said. “The dealers I work with the northeastern U.S. have orchards, large produce farms, as well as crops I am used to seeing the Midwest along with dairy and beef cattle operations. I love how diverse all the states I work with are and learning about the farming operations in each area.”
Corinne has done what many people strive to do: develop skills professionally while building a lifestyle with her family at home. She sees the importance of being a life-long learner while continuously working to elevate their farming operation.
Corinne joined the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association after her and Justin married. In 2016, Corinne was appointed as a Director on the Iowa Beef Industry Council board, which oversees Beef Check-Off dollars. Justin has served on the Iowa Cattlemen’s Board since 2010 as an alternate and now is a District Director.
Today, Corinne and her family live on a cow calf operation of Red Angus cross bred cows in Dallas Center. She helps on weekends, evenings and some mornings before work. She and Justin work together to pick the replacement heifers each fall, select the cows and bulls to use for artificial insemination and attend bull sales to purchase cleanup bulls.
Looking forward, Corinne wants to grow their cattle herd numbers, use more AI to introduce different genetics to the herd and improve their pastures through management intensive grazing, inter-seeding more varieties of plants and adding more water points. Keeping their children involved on the farm and joining 4-H when they are old enough is also something that she strives to do, while continuing to work for John Deere Financial to combine her farm background with the work John Deere does for agriculture.
Corinne shares some advice for anyone looking to get involved, or stay involved in the ag industry.
“Go for it. Seek out mentors both in your field of interest and outside of it, and be a mentor to someone when you have the opportunity. Find mentors who believe in you and also challenge you to keep growing. Welcome opportunities to keep learning; commit to being a life-long learner.”
One of her mentors taught her to always stay focused on the task at hand. When at the office, focus on your job. When you’re home, focus on family. Really be present wherever you are. She admits some days she is more successful than others, but she realizes the importance of being in the moment and in finding balance.
Corinne believes that life is truly better on the farm is and acknowledges the high’s and low’s through it all. “I am carrying on the legacy of generations before me and now I get to pass it on to my children.”