First Farm Female, RHORI

First Day Farm Female: Adrienne DeSutter

The “First Day Farm Female” series includes articles posted on the first day of the month featuring fellow Illinois women in agriculture.

With a B.A. in Education and Psychology, a M.S. Ed. in counseling, and extensive training in communication, leadership, and professional development, Adrienne DeSutter has found a unique way to combine her passion for helping others with her drive to find her place in agriculture.

Adrienne’s involvement in agriculture began eight years ago when she started dating her husband. After having children, she left her job as a School Counselor to stay home to raise their daughters Everly and Emalyn, and to help her husband, Drew, manage his responsibilities as the fourth generation working on his family’s farm.

Although she didn’t have a farm background, she was determined to embrace and contribute to her new family’s livelihood. Aside from caring for their most precious commodity, the kids, and doing books for their portion of the farm, Adrienne found she could have a valuable role in their farm business by helping to alleviate the stress of her farmer and facilitating conversations so they can make major farm decisions together.

But Adrienne was compelled to figure out how she could also be involved in agriculture beyond the farm. She became more involved in Farm Bureau and started building a network with leaders in agriculture across the state and recently, across the country. In 2017, she graduated from the Illinois Farm Bureau Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow program. Together, Drew and Adrienne completed the Illinois Cultivating Master Farmers program. And earlier this summer she graduated from the American Farm Bureau Women’s Communications Boot Camp. These experiences not only helped Adrienne learn more about agriculture, but also to build connections in the agriculture community that have proven to be very valuable.

As Adrienne learned about farmer stress and the drastic prevalence of depression and suicide in farm families, she quickly became passionate about promoting farmer wellness. Over the past year she has found her own niche in agriculture working as an Agricultural Wellness and Behavioral Health Consultant. In this self-managed role, Adrienne consults with agriculture organizations and agriculture businesses who are exploring ways to do more to protect farm families. She has experience leading workshops for agricultural audiences as well as non-agricultural groups like teachers, pastors, and general community members on topics of farm stress, rural mental health, and general wellness. Adrienne also serves on wellness committees, meets regularly with legislators, and writes wellness articles for Illinois Farm Bureau.

As someone who didn’t grow up in agriculture, Adrienne realizes now how easy it is to take agriculture for granted. While she often says that she entered agriculture when she started dating her husband, she notes “the reality is that we’re all surrounded by agriculture from the minute we’re born.” On the other side, she believes there’s more the agriculture community can do to help non-agriculture populations understand the symbiotic relationship between agriculture and society. Adrienne adds, “realizing how vital agriculture is in my life sparked my passion for getting more involved and for finding where my skills and experiences fit in.” Adrienne has discovered it takes people with all kinds of knowledge and talents to help the agriculture industry grow and thrive.

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