If Emily Hirsch Cooper had graduated from college 15 years ago, she believes she wouldn’t have pursued the same opportunities in production agriculture that she has today. The 2011 Purdue University ag business management graduate says she likely would have taken an industry job.
Instead, she saw tremendous opportunity in returning to work full-time on the family farm. Emily and her brother, Jacob Hirsch, joined their parents, Mike and Beverly, to create Pathway Family Farms in Fort Branch, Ind., in 2011. They raise corn, soybeans and wheat/double-crop soybeans on farmland that encompasses parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.
“College broadened my horizons. It made me see the diversity in production agriculture and showed me that the skill sets needed to succeed in the field are expanding,” Cooper says. “It isn’t all agronomy and mechanics, although I have experience scouting and combining. Farming is also technology, finance and strategic planning.”
Emily works in the farm office and is in charge of human resources, farm business development and marketing. She is also co-marketer for the grain, manages cost and benefit analyses for purchasing or leasing machinery and land and is a big-picture finance planner.
“For us, the sex and age diversity among our management team introduces new ways to think and new ways to see things. We capitalize on the great synergism that we can create when males and females and 20-somethings and 50-somethings are at the table,” Emily says.
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