The “First Day Farm Female” series includes articles posted on the first day of the month featuring fellow Illinois women in agriculture.
Sara Mitchell’s wish is for everyone to be able to visit a farm. For all to experience, first-hand, the level of care, research, and energy each American farm family puts into their farm. Sara and her family emulate this on their family farm.
Sara is a fourth generation farmer partnering with her husband, Mark, to raise crops, pigs, and cattle. She is especially passionate in caring for animals, taking charge of breeding, feeding, and health management for the pigs and sharing those experiences.
Knowing everyone may not have a chance to visit a farm, Sara and Mark have developed an innovative way to bring their farm to others. In a partnership with their local high school, they give students the opportunity to truly experience animal agriculture and learn what it takes to create a wholesome, marketable food product. Think OINK concentrates on the basic concepts of Observing, Innovating, Networking, and Kinesthetic Learning through the concept of hands on learning. Sara also tracks the project through social media, including livestreams as piglets are born, as she strives to help build on a common connection shared by all: food. She wants people to know that families like hers are passionately producing food, so people have access to food for their families.
In addition to this impressive project, Sara is a leader in agriculture. She works as a Crop Insurance Team Lead for Compeer Financial, where she helps clients make insurance decisions for their own farms. As involved member in the organization, Sara was the Illinois Farm Bureau Discussion Meet winner in 2019 and the Excellence in Agriculture Award winner with her husband in 2016. She will graduate from the Illinois Leadership Agriculture Foundation Program this year. Through these organizations and other travels, Sara has visited farmers in other states and countries around the world, Sara notes “the pride and joy farmers get from growing a safe food supply is evident.” As is the importance of family.
Sara notes that same importance on her family’s farm. Mark and Sara love watching their young son, Brock, interact with their animals and seeing his love for tractors. They want to continue their family’s tradition of farming for him and his future. And farmers she has met from across the country share this same hope for their family legacy.
Although the way farmers produce food and market food differs among farms, Sara wants people to know the heart in the work is the same on farms across the country and the world.