Young Farmer in a Class By Herself

Mindy 2Today’s farmers and ranchers are accustomed to wearing a lot of hats, juggling a variety of roles to meet the demands of 21st-century agriculture. Mindy McCroskey of Bristol, Virginia, is a good example of this multi-tasking trend. To hear her tell it, she’s just doing what comes naturally.

“I’ve lived on a farm my whole life,” she says. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love cattle. I started showing at 4H when I was 9 and got my first registered Simmental when I was 11.

“Right now I have 19 cows and their calves, all registered Simmentals. They’re not as large framed as some of the breed. And while people may picture Simmentals as gold or white or red, I raise black cattle,” she says. “Black cattle are just sort of popular around here.”

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Why I Farm: Sarah Leonard, Fauquier County

Sarah Leonard

Sarah Leonard, Fauquier County Farm Bureau member, is featured on  ‘Why I Farm’

Natalina Sents, a recent agricultural business graduate from Iowa State University, has embarked on a year-long trip to learn about why farmers farm in all 50 states. Sents visited Virginia a few weeks ago and interviewed several Virginia Farm Bureau members.

Sents is a former marketing intern for Beck’s Hybrids, the largest family-owned retail seed company in the United States and sponsor of the Why I Farm Movement. She approached the company in December 2015 to tell them about the travel-and-blogging project she had brainstormed for two years. Beck’s was immediately on board.

She started the Why I Farm Roadtrip on May 15 and plans to meet farmers in all 50 states by May 30, 2017.

To keep up with the Why I Farm Roadtrip visit or Sents’ personal blog, Roots Journey, at

To read her first Virginia farmer entry on Sarah Leonard of Cows-n-Corn dairy in Fauquier County, click here:

Stay turned for more ‘Why I Farm’ stories from Virginia farmers.