Sara Preston: What do Mothers and Farmers Have in Common?

By Sara Preston

Sara Preston smiles with her husband and three children in an outdoor family photo on their farm. The children sit atop a hay bale. Sara and her husband stand next to them.
Sara Preston sees many parallels between being a mother and being a farmer.

Ever pondered the similarities between mothers and farmers? As I reflect on the remarkable women in my life and the dedicated farmers I know, I can’t help but notice the striking parallels.

Mothers are nurturing to their children, going above and beyond to encourage their growth and helping them be the best that they can be. They care not only for their own families but also extend their support to neighbors and the community. They are fiercely protective of the most important people in their lives and are mindful of the decisions they make and how they impact others, especially their children.

Similarly, Iowa farmers possess many of these characteristics. They nurture the ground that they farm to the best of their ability. They care for their crops, livestock and natural resources that make their farm operation possible. They support their families while also finding practices that support their farm –all while being protective and mindful about their decisions and the impact it could have on generations to come.

On our farm, the influence of the matriarch in our family – Marjorie, my husband’s grandmother – is evident. At 92 years old, she remains a steadfast presence, instilling values of hard work and integrity. She and her late husband exemplified good stewardship of the land, teaching us that shortcuts aren’t worth it and that the best things take time and effort.

I see this on our farm today through the implementation of practices that benefit our land long term. Those practices range from buffer strips, crop rotation, and utilizing precision technology in every single pass in the field to focusing on soil health and creating a manure management plan. Some practices take more time but are worth the long-term benefit.

As a farm mom of three young kids, I resonate with Grandma Marjorie’s mindset in raising children as well. Motherhood, like farming, can be hard. While both have their ups and downs, putting in the extra work (and in some cases, those extra miles) is worthwhile.

In both roles, there’s a focus on something greater than oneself – to cultivate a lasting legacy in children and to nurture the land, leaving it better for future generations. I find a deep connection between motherhood and farming, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to embrace both roles. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms! Your work is worthwhile and leaves a legacy