Highlighting Inspiring Women: She is an 'ag'-vocate

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Macie Weigand and her heifer, Ivy

Throughout March, which is Women’s History Month, the North Iowa Times will publish a series of articles highlighting local women. Whether it's through their careers, hobbies, volunteer efforts or unique personalities, these women have become an inspiration to others. Here is our second article, featuring MFL MarMac junior and 'ag'-vocate Macie Weigand.

 


By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Macie Weigand’s love of agriculture was instilled at an early age. Growing up in a Kansas farm family, she owned her first beef calf before leaving elementary school.

“I got up every morning and gave it a bottle, then gave it a bottle at night,” she recalled. “The next year, I got another one.”

When the Weigand family moved to Iowa when Macie was in seventh grade, she brought two cows and a steer with her. Now a junior at MFL MarMac, Macie’s herd has grown to 24. She has no plans of stopping.

“I plan to continue building my herd. I’ve really taken an interest in genetics,” she said, so much so that she’s leaning toward a career either in beef genetics or livestock nutrition.

Macie’s herd relies mostly on artificial insemination, so the cattle are bred specifically. You don’t just hope for good matches; you can create them.

“It’s really cool to see the color play you can breed out. I like seeing the options collide, seeing the calves improve generation to generation,” she remarked.

This year, for the first time, she’ll see the third generation from her first heifer. 

Although Macie has friends who are in the same “game,” as she calls it, doing so as a female is rare. Even more rare is the number of agricultural opportunities Macie has seized. 

In an effort to expand her horizons, Macie has raised and shown not only beef cattle, but pigs, as well. Last year, she showed a chicken and, this year, her repertoire will expand to sheep.

Macie has also taken on leadership roles as the president of the Monona Jr. Feeders 4-H Club and vice president of the MFL MarMac FFA. She’s served as Clayton County’s Pork Princess and is currently the Clayton County Beef Queen.

“In Kansas, there were never livestock titles. That was not on my radar,” Macie commented. “I’ve never been a girly girl with a crown and a dress, but I’ve always wanted to be an ‘ag-vocate,’ to help people learn more about what feeds them.”

Raising that awareness among consumers is what Macie said she’s enjoyed the most about being royalty. That includes helping people understand where their food comes from (not the grocery store) and how it’s raised or grown—why producers do what they do.

Some people, said Macie, don’t always understand that it’s in a farmer’s best interest to keep his or her animals healthy.

Her animals, for instance, are bathed and rinsed four to five times per week, mostly during the summer. 

“They get conditioner, hair grower, cleansers. They’re blow dried and have fans to keep them cool. I spend more time on their hair care than my own,” Macie said. “I take absolutely the best care of them. I want them to have healthy calves every year and be in the best condition. Then I know I’ll get the best returns.”

Macie said one of her newest role models is Crystal Blin, a farmer, blogger and social media maven from Independence, who was also one of the judges in the beef royalty contest. Blin posts about some stereotypically-female topics, like lipstick and jewelry, but also weaves in agriculture, an approach Macie appreciates.

“Yes, we’re girls, but we are also very educated on other topics,” she noted.

Over the years, 4-H and FFA have been other large agricultural influences in Macie’s life. So has her dad.

“I don’t know if I’d be in the animal world without him,” Macie said. “He pushes me and gets me connected with the people who are going to change my life.”

Some of those people she’s encountered through livestock judging, yet another of Macie’s pursuits. Lately, she’s been honing her craft, in the hopes of working some national shows someday. 

After high school, Macie is considering attending either Kansas State or South Dakota State, as both universities have coaches who could teach her a lot about judging. By pursuing a degree in genetics or nutrition, Macie said she will also be well-positioned as a judge.

Through the livestock judging avenue, Macie wants to give back to younger generations, advising and inspiring them as judges have done for her.

“Those people are such role models to me,” she said. “People in ag really stick with you. I’ve learned from so many people and they’ve learned from me. Everyone pushes everyone’s backs. We’re all fighting for the same thing.”

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