Aug. 7, 2013
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A day at the farm: A farm girl's perspective

By Jenn Stewart

Jenn Stewart
Jenn Stewart 

Agriculture is in my blood. I’ve never known a time when farming wasn’t a part of my life, and I cherish the times when professional assignments take me back to the fields and pastures.

I’ve had grandiose dreams about becoming a photographer for some time now, so when Tom Campbell, our department photographer, offered up some camera and photography lessons at a couple of Purdue farms, I jumped at the chance to combine my farm passion with my professional goals.

After nearly 30 years surrounded by agriculture, it’s been easy to take for granted the true beauty of it all — from the smallest root hairs on soybean stems to the majestic corn plants towering overhead. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that others don’t have a close relationship with the way our food is grown.

As we stood between a stand of tasseled corn and a plot of sorghum, I heard myself asking how I would know what to capture in a photo. Tom reminded me that most people would never see more of this nation’s farms than what is visible from their windshields at 60 miles per hour.

Light bulb!

Suddenly my mission was different. I wasn’t there to bask in the sunshine or spend another day on the farm. I was there to capture agriculture in ways words never could.

From that moment on, the farm looked different to me. I started to notice the little things through that camera lens: the reds and yellows of the corn silks, lavender buds on flowering soybean plants, amber straw drying in the sunshine, the beauty and curiosity of heifers grazing grassy paddocks, and swine playfully rooting around their pens.

My perspective of farm life forever changed that day, and my hunger for capturing and sharing it only intensified.


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