April Hemmes, a row-crop farmer from Hampton, Iowa, was recognized as the first-ever Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award winner at Top Producer’s 2019 Executive Women in Agriculture conference in Chicago.
Sponsored by Corteva, the Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award is given to a female producer who is a shining example for her peers. The winner is an advocate for agriculture and represents an innovative farming operation. Entrants were judged on agricultural advocacy, farm business innovation and industry or community leadership. Applications are received from producers across the country and judged by a panel of industry experts.
Since 1993, Hemmes has been the sole owner and operator of her fourth-generation family farm. In her 33 years as a farmer, she has more than doubled her corn yields, created healthier soils and increased profitability. Grain marketing is a passion of hers, so eight years ago she helped form a women’s grain marketing group that meets monthly outside of the growing season.
Hemmes is true advocate for agriculture. She has a personal mission to empower other female farmers—both in the U.S. and across the globe. Whether it’s a waitress, student or Ugandan farmer, Hemmes proudly explains how she sustainably raises her crops.
“I am very fortunate to being doing what I love to do and that is rare for a man or a woman,” Hemmes says. “I never think of myself as a female farmer, just a farmer! I have been farming and raising animals for over 30 years and I love watching people’s faces when I say, ‘I farm my husband works in town.’”
Hemmes holds numerous leadership roles. Current positions include United Soybean Board member; Iowa Soybean Association director; Iowa Beginning Farmer Center Advisory Council; Franklin County Soil and Water commissioner and treasurer; Franklin County Farm Service Agency County Committee chairman; township clerk and John Deere lead user group member.
As part of the award and for demonstrating excellence in farming, Hemmes received a trip to the Executive Women in Agriculture conference in Chicago, Ill., as well as leadership, business or succession planning consulting sessions with Rena Striegel, Transition Point Business Advisors.