The Women, Land & Legacy State Team has been the backbone of the program since it kicked-off in 2004. Team members represent a range of USDA and state agencies as well as non-agency groups and support our local teams with guidance for outreach to women in their counties. We recently asked our newest ST member, Mollie Aronowitz, to tell us a bit about herself and her interest in serving on the team.
Mollie is the Sustainability Director and a farm manager for Peoples Company. She is currently the only woman accredited farm manager with the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers in Iowa, with less than ten accredited women across the country. Mollie will be a key-note speaker at the upcoming Connecting Women in Ag Conference, sponsored by the Buchanan Women, Land & Legacy team.
WLL: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
MA: I grew up in northeast Iowa and studied horticulture at Iowa State. I spent my twenties working at some really great public gardens – Millennium Park, Chicago; Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha; Cedar Valley Arboretum, Waterloo; Reiman Gardens, Ames. I’ve been a land manager with Peoples Company (based in Clive) for over six years and work with non-farming landowners who own farmland across Iowa. My husband and I live in Ames with a three and five-year-old that keep us running!
As a land manager for Peoples, I am the boots on the ground for landowners with row crop and pasture land. I work with existing tenants or find new tenants to negotiate annual lease contracts and then execute and/or follow improvement and repair projects throughout the season. I collect chemical, fertilizer and yield data from each operator to build farming history to help landowners make more informed decisions. With the right data in hand, we can ensure that we are maximizing the most productive acres and also protecting the most sensitive acres on each farm.
In July 2019, I took on a new assignment as Peoples Company Sustainability Director. This role allows me to work on landowner-focused initiatives to determine how to harness the power of sustainable farming and land management in order to maximize production, profitability and appreciation of the land’s value.
WLL: Why did serving on the WLL state team interest you?
MA: I grew up in a farming family and my dad farms full time. When he retires, I’ll be the fifth generation (and first female!) to be involved in the day-to-day operation that will celebrate its 100 year anniversary in 2020. It is a pretty special thing and I am honored to be part of such a legacy. I come into contact with landowners across the state through my work – some who have inherited the land, others who have purchased for recreation or even as an investment. I am energized by helping landowners collect the tools they need to make informed decisions on their farm so they can feel the same sense of pride I do when I visit my family farms.
WLL: What do you see as the future of women in agriculture in Iowa?
MA: It is an exciting time in agriculture for women and I’m happy to see so many young women finding careers in agronomy, seed sales, and other areas of the industry. The face of agriculture is changing, and the way we farm will change significantly in the next generation. There will be opportunities for women to bring critical skills to the table to ensure we are meeting the needs of our communities.
Have land management questions? Feel free to contact Mollie:
12119 Stratford Drive, Suite B
Clive, Iowa 50325