FarmHer Features Women in Agriculture
The commercials are often the highlight of the NFL Super Bowl for many of the millions of viewers who tune in each year. For Marji Guyler-Alaniz, something she didn’t see in one 2013 commercial was the inspiration for a project which has grown into a successful and groundbreaking multimedia business.
During the game, a Dodge commercial featuring photos of farmers and ranchers accompanying the “So God Made a Farmer” speech by the late broadcaster Paul Harvey received widespread praise. However, what Guyler-Alaniz noticed was how few of the photos were of women, even though a third of America’s farmers are female.
Iowa native Guyler-Alaniz had recently left a role at a national crop insurance company and was looking for the next chapter in her career. The lack of women in the Dodge commercial inspired her to look for ways to tell stories of women in agriculture, or “FarmHers” as she coined the term.
She began with a photo series featuring 8 women from Iowa working on their farms. The photos quickly gained national attention and led to a movement to tell the stories of women in all facets of agriculture and food production, and the creation of the FarmHer company.
The company grew quickly, launching merchandise sales, speaking engagements, a television show on the RFD-TV network, a podcast which was also airs on SiriusXM, and a series of ticketed and special events around the country. To date, FarmHer has featured more than 350 women in 42 states.
“First and foremost, we always try to focus on the story of the person, the FarmHer. At the beginning, FarmHer was all pictures and stories, then the TV show allowed us to also educate viewers on all the parts and pieces of the food chain,” she said. “We continue to highlight all aspects of agriculture from large producers to smaller ones, diverse types of farms and FarmHers with various backgrounds.”
Guyler-Alaniz serves as the president and founder of FarmHer. The company is based in Grimes, Iowa, and has 4 full time employees.
While Guyler-Alaniz has traveled across the country many times to interview FarmHers, she credits the company’s Iowa location as a key part of its success.
“We go to farms and ranches all across the country to tell stories of women in agriculture, but the resources that we need to be successful as a company are right here, literally in our backyard,” she said. “It has allowed our business to flourish in ways that I could have never foreseen. We don’t have to spend the time or resources to travel all over the place to make connections with companies and organizations of all sizes.”
The early success and support from so many women in agriculture led to quick growth, but also challenges for the team. FarmHer participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program in 2019, which provided an opportunity to analyze the business and prioritize most impactful areas of the business to expand and grow.
“In the years after the TV show launched in 2016, I ran with wide open arms at any ways in which I could grow the brand and bring diversity to our business,” said Guyler-Alaniz. “I took the chance that Goldman Sachs offered to refine our business and refocus on our main goal of telling stories of women who are a part of food and farming. Since then, we have taken a deep dive into our digital strategy, which has been a challenge, but allowed us to learn so much and move forward to reach a broader audience.”
The FarmHer team is currently finishing filming for the fifth season its RFD-TV show and sharing stories of both food and farming in the Everybody Eats series. The FarmHer YouTube channel also provides new videos twice a week.
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