The “First Day Farm Female” series includes articles posted on the first day of the month featuring fellow Illinois women in agriculture.
With a family centered approach, Alison McGrew values the time she spends with her husband Justin and their two children on their farm.
Alison and her husband both work off the farm so spending their free time on the farm with their cattle is a priority. Together they raise Simmental & SimAngus cattle. When it comes to balancing a family, careers, and life on the farm Alison and Justin divide and conquer to ensure their children learn what it takes to farm and care for their cattle.
As the high school agriculture teacher at Bushnell-Prairie High School, Alison gets to share her passion for agriculture with her students. At home, she shares her passion for agriculture with her children.
Alison grew up on a family farm dating back four generations. She is thankful her parents taught her farm tasks when she was young. Being a young female didn’t stop her from driving the tractor or cleaning out the barn at dawn on a Saturday morning. Alison applies the same mindset with her own children today; all are included and involved. Alison notes, “We are a team and we enjoy doing things on the farm, for our cattle, as a family.” Her family spends a lot of time bonding in the barn throughout the summer, and she hopes the memories they make will be something her children appreciate throughout their lives, in the same way she reflects on her childhood memories from the farm.
Not only is it important to Alison to give her children experiences on the farm, she also strives to share what’s happening on their farm with others. Alison has been involved with Tri-County Cattlemen’s Association for the past 10 years, and she serves as a volunteer with Illinois Farm Families.
Alison’s family raised Stadardbred racehorses for many years, another valued memory from her childhood. Today Alison owns a racehorse named Sporty McGrew along with her grandparents and a close family friend. Alison loves giving her children the opportunity to bond with a racehorse the same way she did when she was their age. She cherishes the joy this horse brings to her family, especially her Grandpa as he watches her children with the horse.
A Benjamin Franklin quote is something that drives Alison and her family: “Tell me and I will forget. Teach me and I will remember. Involve me and I learn.” It is clear that Alison and her family truly exemplify this approach as a true team on their farm.