Iowa Farm Bureau presents Woman in Agriculture award
Farm and family are two vital components in Heidi Vittetoe's life. As the general manager for her family-run farrow-to-finish sow operation, they have to be. Vittetoe works closely with her husband, Jerome, and their daughters, Amanda and Rachel, marketing more than 200,000 hogs annually. Her dedication to her family and industry has earned her Iowa Farm Bureau's 2011 Woman in Agriculture honor, a yearly tribute that recognizes one woman who demonstrates outstanding leadership abilities in the promotion of agriculture. The announcement was made at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Des Moines on Dec. 7.
The award is another way for Vittetoe to show her daughters and other women interested in agriculture that farming is a smart and successful career move.
"Today, it has become much rarer for women to make farming their primary career, especially since many choose to work off the farm for economic reasons," said Vittetoe. "I feel blessed to have been shown that I could make farming and family the focus of my life and share that with others."
Vittetoe's family operation, J.W. Vittetoe Pork, is important to the hog industry and the local community, employing 45 people and working with 30 local farmers as contract growers. The operation was recently honored as Cargill Pork Supplier of the Year for the second year in a row.
Vittetoe is well-respected in her field and has been named an Iowa Master Pork Producer by the Iowa Pork Producers' Association and a Pork All-American. She has also been active with the Washington County Farm Bureau, serving as president and voting delegate.
In addition to running the business, Vittetoe is a vocal supporter of hog production and Iowa agriculture. She hosts journalists from around the world at the farm, discussing the benefits of modern agriculture and defending practices such as the judicious use of antibiotics for her livestock to keep them healthy. Vittetoe has also served on the Iowa Environmental Protection Committee.
She is also active with the Washington Community School Board and is a finance council member for St. James Parish.
Vittetoe's recognition includes a plaque, a $250 cash prize and up to $500 to cover expenses for an Iowa conference for women.