Movers & Shakers: Britany Wondercheck of Farm Girl Next Door

Britany Wondercheck didn’t get her entrepreneurial chops from agriculture as one might think of a farm girl raised in northeast Nebraska. In fact, the Farm Girl Next Door found her footing early on when she started a cake and cupcake decorating business in high school.

And the rest, they say, is history. 

Between churning out her grain marketing courses and content, plus leading business development for meat processing tech company Marble Technologies, Britany has got her hands full. But that’s not all. She lives and farms with her husband in the same county she grew up in.

Magnetic caught up with the busy Farm Girl Next Door to hear about all the work she’s up to and what she does in her ‘free’ time:

 

Magnetic: Tell us about your background. Did you grow up in the agriculture industry?

I grew up on a row crop farm in northeast Nebraska where my family raised, and continues to grow, corn and soybeans.  My husband and I actually live and farm on the other side of the same county!  As a kid, I spent my fair share of time riding along in tractors, combines, and semi-trucks, and helped with things like laying gravity irrigation pipe, running the auger at harvest, and irrigating throughout the summers.  

While I loved the farm, working in the ag industry wasn’t really on my radar when I first went to college.  But business and entrepreneurship were.  

Fun fact: While I was in high school, I started a cake & cupcake decorating business and made cakes for weddings, birthdays, and the local farmer’s market.  

So, I went to college to pursue a degree in business and, after the first couple of years, I really felt a pull to explore careers in the Ag industry.  To gain an understanding of what opportunities I had available in the industry and to find out what was a good fit for me, I interned at large grain companies.  

After college, I took my first job as a Grain Sales Associate where I gained hands-on experience in both grain origination and merchandising.  I traveled from farm to farm in Nebraska and Iowa, helping farmers make grain marketing decisions on their operations. I also helped originate soybeans for soybean processing facilities.  

I later took a position as a Product Manager at an AgTech company that built risk management software for farmers and ranchers.  Through that experience, my eyes were opened to the world of tech and how important it is for farmers to understand and keep track of their cost of production.  

Farm Girl Next Door clip

What motivated you to start your Farm Girl Next Door business along with the Cash Grain Marketing 101 course?

Working with farmers through my grain origination and merchandising role out of college brought to light a need for grain marketing education. 

I observed a few things through my visits:

  • First, farmers were confused about basic grain marketing terminology and concepts, but they were hesitant to admit that to me.  While that was understandable since I was their grain buyer, they were missing out on marketing opportunities and options.  
  • Second, very rarely did I have everyone involved in the conversation that should have been (i.e. spouses or family members who were partnered in the operation).  Often, these individuals didn’t join in because they felt the subject was “over their head.”  And I wanted nothing more than to help them learn.  

I knew, from my own experience starting out as an intern and new college graduate entering into the grain marketing industry, that while there was no shortage of market news and information, there wasn’t a resource I could find that was relatable and broke down the basic marketing concepts in an easy to understand (and not boring!) format.  So I began Farm Girl Next Door to provide a relatable resource that could help farmers and ag professionals feel comfortable with grain marketing basics.  

It started as a blog, where I would write short articles to help educate on basic grain marketing topics and concepts.  My 1 minute, #marketfactmonday videos on social media became very popular, as did my Wednesday #wordoftheweek emails.  As I talked with individuals in my audience, I validated the need for online courses that could walk students, step-by-step, through learning grain marketing from the ground up.  

My course, Cash Grain Marketing 101, launched for the first time in December 2020 and has now enrolled three cohorts of students.  Cash Grain Marketing 101 is a foundational course to help farmers, farm wives, landowners, and ag professionals feel comfortable and confident with cash grain marketing basics and includes short lessons, worksheets, quizzes, and live Q&As.  There’s been a lot of interest in a second course that explains futures and options so, get ready, Grain Marketing 201 will be launching at the beginning of 2022!

You’re over a year into your work with Marble Technologies, as well. Give us a scope of the ‘why’ behind Marble and how it will shape the industry

There’s a problem that’s been plaguing the meat processing industry for years – it’s heavily dependent on human labor.  When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it illustrated the vulnerability of the meat supply chain to labor disruptions, and the urgency to address the problem increased.  Not only are labor disruptions a concern, but there’s a lack of available labor in general, which impacts meat processors’ ability to run their facilities at full capacity.  A lack of human capital has been as much a factor in limiting the growth of meat processing capacity as a lack of physical facility space.  

Marble, a technology company founded to accelerate food system technologies for people and the planet, utilizes the latest advancements in artificial intelligence, processing engineering, and robotics to solve challenges in food processing, beginning with labor challenges in beef and pork processing.  Marble is focused on automating processing tasks to bring resilience to the meat supply chain.

 

What was the last book you read or podcast you listened to, and what’s a key takeaway or insight you took away from it?

I’m a big fan of Amy Porterfield’s ‘Online Marketing Made Easy’ podcast.  This episode was from May and was titled, “Could A 4-Day Work Week Fit Your Business?”  I have a lot of respect for how process-driven and organized Amy is, so getting an inside look at how she structured her business processes to test and implement a 4 day work week was insightful.  

While I’d like to implement a 4-day work week, I think I’m quite a ways from that.  However, I gleaned some great tips on how to be more focused and efficient during my work time.

 

If you weren’t working in agriculture today, what do you think you’d be doing?

I love creating experiences and environments where people can gather, relax, and enjoy time with their friends and families. Because of that, I think I would open a winery, coffee shop, or something similar.

What does Britany like to do for fun when she’s got free time?

I have no shortage of hobbies… but there is a shortage of time to enjoy them all!  I enjoy golfing, cardio workouts, time at the lake with my husband, friends, and family, gardening, and exploring new restaurants, wineries, and breweries.

FYI: If you’re interested, check out the Grain Marketing 101 course here. Plus, Britany told us there’s been a lot of interest in a second course for Farm Girl Next Door that explains futures and options so Grain Marketing 201 will be launching at the beginning of 2022!


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