Stories of Success: Lindsay Johnson

I'm so excited to share with you today the first post in a new series I'm starting here on the blog!
I'm calling it {Stories of Success} and I thought it'd be a fun way to share about some of the folks in my life who I look up to and think are successful.
We're kicking off the series with a post from Lindsay Johnson who I first got to meet on a Genex trip in Greeley, Colorado.
Lindsay is a general all around ROCKSTAR, and I have a ton of admiration for the work that she does, and the type of person that she is. 
Read on to learn more about Lindsay, and I hope you'll come back every other Friday as I post a new {Story of Success}!

Hi! My name is Lindsay Johnson and I am SO EXCITED that Darcy asked me to be a guest writer on her blog!

I grew up on a small Hereford farm in northeast Wisconsin. My summers were spent in the barn with my two younger sisters; many life lessons were learned (and many sister fights occurred) while we took care of show heifers, ran to the feedmill in the red farm truck, raked hay, etc. and completed the daily ‘To Do’ list my dad left for us.

My passion for agriculture led me to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where I earned an agriculture marketing communications degree AND met my husband, Brad. He was an older guy (he still is and I remind him of that occasionallyJ), so graduated ahead of me and took a job with Genex. We weren’t planning to work for the same company; however, after graduation I took a temporary (6 month) job there and almost ten years later I still haven’t left! I work in the CRI Public Relations department on a variety of beef promotional materials (sire directory, ads, flyers) and coordinate events for the cooperative. Every day is different (sometimes it involves army crawling) and that’s what I love about it. Brad works in the Genex Beef Genetics department.

In addition to our fulltime day jobs in agriculture, we own a small herd of Angus and Red Angus cows.  We have an online heifer sale each fall and also market freezer beef locally. We started this farm endeavor two days after we were married when we signed our lives away and bought some land. Almost every waking hour was spent at the farm, planning our future - building fence, corral and chute, shed, planting pastures, etc. You may notice I never mentioned a house. That’s right, we didn’t live there. We lived 20 miles south in this cozy 550 square foot house. Yes, you read that correctly - 550! For eight years we commuted to our farm which was fine when there were just two of us. It was when Isaac was born and we were hauling barn clothes, winter boots, Carhartts, mittens, hats, lunches and snacks for three people that life got a bit crazier. However, we made it work. When we found out baby #2 was on the way we decided we needed to get serious about building a house. Charlotte was born in February 2014 and we broke ground for the house in May. So four of us lived in our little piece of 550 sq ft paradise until we moved to our new house last November. And it is fabulous – the space, the location – why didn’t we do this sooner?!

With full times jobs, a herd of cows, two active children (Isaac – 4 years, Charlotte – 1 year) and a few volunteer organizations, life keeps us busy. It isn’t always easy; there are many times I’ve said – why do we do this? (Have you read this blog post by Ranch House? I can totally relate.) I always come back to the same thing – it’s the way we grew up, it’s the only way we know and it’s the way we want our children to be raised. 


This is Darcy - So I asked Lindsay a few random questions - just for fun......

Four wheeler or horse?
Four wheeler

Water or pop?

Yard work or house work?
Yard work

Morning riser or night owl?
Morning riser

Nail polish or chapstick?

Sweet or salty?

Boots or sandals?

Gum or mints?

Cold weather or warm weather?
Fall. Was that one of the options? I know, live in Wisconsin, but I really dislike the cold! In January when there’s a 30 below wind chill, Brad reminds me “We could have lived anywhere we wanted to, but we chose to stay here?!”
Wood floors or carpet?
Carpet, but we have a ton of tile in our house and really like it. So easy to clean when someone tromps on through the house.
D: I should have added a "tile" option for you Lindsay!  In our own home remodel, Lindsay's opinion about how fabulous tile is, is what swayed us to the flooring we finally chose.  :)

D: Here’s a chance to brag (please do!) – What is something that you do on your farm or ranch that you’re especially proud of? 

L: We don’t have an automatic head catch on our chute, thus it’s my responsibility to run the head gate. And since Darcy gave me the go ahead to brag – I have to tell you that I am VERY good at this! In fact, veterinarians and embryologists have commented on my ability to rarely miss one. Many times I have a kid strapped to me and watching the other out of the corner of my eye, yet I still get ‘em caught as Brad feeds them up the alley to me.

D: I am impressed!  I can barely run a manual chute....let alone doing it with kids!
 D: If you could go back and tell yourself anything ten years ago – what would it be? So if you’re 30, what would you tell your 20 year old self?

L: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things won’t go exactly the way you planned, but that’s ok. It may take you awhile to realize this. Sometimes your kids will dress in ridiculous outfits, such as cowboy boots with pajamas.
 And your kitchen floor will always have a crunch, because your daughter is a closet eater and loves to eat cereal straight out of the box.
 At first these things will bother you, but really, silly dressed kids and crunchy floors are small things so just go with it. But take a few pictures along the way to embarrass them later!  
D: Pretend you’re going to talk to a class of high school students – what characteristics would you tell them are the most important for success in life after school?
L: I volunteer with Junior Achievement  in a sophomore classroom where I teach seven lessons on careers. I talk about identifying the skills, interests and values you have and applying them to a career you’d like to pursue. One thing I stress is how important it is to find work that you enjoy. After all, you spend a majority of your day at your place of employment so it’s really important to enjoy what you do. 


   D: What’s your favorite meal to make?
 L: I really don’t like to spend much time cooking and I’m not very good at it either. BBQ sandwiches (some would call them sloppy joe’s) are my go-to when I don’t know what else to make and everyone likes them! Otherwise anything I can throw in the crockpot and forget about works great! I’d rather be outside than worrying about what we’re going to have for dinner.

D: What’s your favorite way to spend free time?
L: Free time???!
Well this doesn’t happen very often, but when it does I sprint out to my garden. It’s not a huge garden, but it’s enough for our family throughout the summer and a little to put in the freezer. I also like planting flowers and am super excited to plant around our new house. Up until this time, I’ve had this area next to our shed where I’ve been hoarding perennials and sticking them in the ground – sort of a holding area until I had a permanent spot for them. My mom owns a greenhouse so I guess I inherited the gardening “bug” from her.

D: If you had $1,000 – would you go shopping or take a vacation?  Where would you go (travel/shop) & what would you buy or do? 
L: Vacation.
 Somewhere warm.
During the month of January.
Remember, I live in Wisconsin and it gets cold here. I’d love to escape!
D: Are there/were there any organizations or activities you were involved in that have helped shape you as a person today? 
L: My sisters and I were very active in the National Junior Hereford Association.  Speech contest, quiz bowl, team fitting, team marketing – we did them all. Participating in this organization taught us so many skills that we still use today – leadership, dedication, confidence, communication and this organization strengthened our passion for agriculture. Each summer the trailer was packed and headed for a different state. Only a few were missed along the way because my parents decided Georgia and Texas were just too far of a drive. Through this organization we’ve met a lot of great people who have become life-long friends. Although we may not see them often, our common interest, passion for agriculture, allows us to pick up right where we left off the last time we were together. 
 D: What do you think is a hot topic or important issue in agriculture that others should be paying attention to?
L: The increased use of social media in agriculture is a great tool, yet can hurt us as well. Messages, both good and bad, travel so quickly. It’s so important there are individuals who are telling the true story about agriculture through social media. Huge thank you to all of you – keep up the great work!


  D: It’s the year 2040 – where do you hope to be or what will you be doing?  What do you hope to accomplish by then?

L: In my career, I really see myself staying in agriculture. The people in this industry are great to work with. By 2040, our kids will be grown and off doing their own thing. Hopefully we’ve prepared them for whatever path they choose, whether it’s agriculture or something else, it’s my hope they never forget their roots are from agriculture.

Thank you Lindsay for sharing a bit of yourself with us!
Success is reason enough!


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