You will find them in the pickup truck driving to town for implement parts. Hair pulled into a beautifully messy bun with a seed dealer cap pulled down tight.
You will find them working at the ranch. Hands cracked from the weather but still with glittery fingernail polish on. Wearing a torn, grease-stained, manure covered Carhart jacket and their neck adorned with the prettiest wild rag you have seen.
I’ve seen one preg check hundreds of cows, her arm going numb that day, all while wearing the most beautiful blue mascara.
Or you might find them in the back pens of the sale barn. Layers and layers of thermals pulled over their lace undergarments, so they stay warm while they sort and push calves during the fall run.
I saw one recently riding her third colt of the day with the most striking shade of red lipstick called Bad Blood.
You are sure to find them during the 2 a.m. heifer check in the spring of the year. They will have their frilly, comfy pajamas tucked into the tops of their muck boots.
I’ve attended educational meetings led by them. Their ag company logo residing on their shirt just to the left of the dangling turquoise necklace they wear to feel a little bit like themselves.
The older ones you may find pulling an exquisitely embroidered handkerchief out of a cloth grocery bag, now repurposed as a purse, to wipe the tears of the next farming generation.
I’ve seen them at the bar, too. The best farm cooks in the country enjoying a beer and a greasy burger after preparing and hauling endless homecooked meals to the field for the harvest crew.
You will find them if you remember to look.
A few are memorialized in photographs. The image of the ranch wife with a baby on her hip as she works the hydraulic chute at calf weaning time. Snapped by a neighbor who was stopped dead by the scene and knew enough to take a photo.
These are the women that make up the farming and ranching industry. Walking alongside their male peers, partners, better halves to complete the ag business of the day but doing so with an ode to the woman they are, the women they come from, the women they call friends.
I am proud to have these women in my life. To place my name among them. If you are a man, I hope you have been lucky enough to find one of these women to share your ag journey with.
To the women that just found a description of themselves above, my heart overflows for you.
©2019 Codi Vallery-Mills