If you’ve never heard Jolene Brown, farm family advisor and total firecracker, speak, you’re missing out. Brown spoke recently at the Advancing Women in Agriculture conference in Calgary, and then found some time to sit down with our own Shaun Haney to talk about in-laws, tough decisions, work/life/farm balance, and what family really means.
Brown has also recently published her book “Holy Crap, I Married a Farmer!” (available on Amazon), a collection of stories of farm women coping, adapting, and navigating the sometimes tough transition to farm life. In the interview below, Shaun asks her about evolving women’s roles and managing the expectations that come with marrying in to the farm.
“You get to pick and choose your role,” Brown says. “And for everyone that looks different.” It could mean creating new traditions, like popcorn for supper, all the way to taking on management roles within the farm. The key, she says, is to find what you’re good at, what puts fire in your belly, and own it.
One woman asked: How long do you have to be married for us to be family?
“The strongest of women are those that help others and that ask for help,” Brown says, saying that writing this book and collecting these stories was enlightening and entertaining all at once. It takes real bravery to be the “outsider” and step-up to be a leader, but “sometimes in-laws make the best leaders,” she says.