Soybean farmer from Onawa

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Member spotlight: Alexandra Miller, Onawa

July 6, 2023 | Kriss Nelson

As a young farmer, Alexandra Miller uses various avenues to gain the knowledge and experience needed to tend to her family’s farm and become an agricultural leader.

Miller graduated from South Dakota State University and then worked as an agronomist. But, after one year, she wanted to return home to her family farm near Onawa in Monona County.

The sixth generation to farm her family’s land, Miller has also learned from those family members who have farmed the land before her.

“I have learned a lot from my grandfathers,” she says. “It’s interesting to hear their stories about the evolution of farming.”

Young farmer in western Iowa

On the farm

Being able to work on her family’s Heritage Farm does not escape Miller’s mind.

“Farming is in my blood, and being the sixth generation is an honor,” she says. “I see photos of my ancestors and have read the biographies. I love tracking down where some of their first farmsteads were located. It is a tremendous honor to come from a long line of farmers.”

Miller joined her father Brent and mother Julie on the family farm.

She has been soil sampling and making recommendations to improve their farm’s soil fertility, and she plays a large role in planting and harvesting. She has also taken over as the farm’s leading pesticide applicator.

Most recently, Miller has a new title — landowner. She purchased land from her great-grandmother.

New lessons

Miller recently completed the Corteva Young Leader program through the American Soybean Association. This program is leadership training in agriculture, identifying and training new, innovative and engaged growers to serve as the voice of the American farmer.

Learning how to help bridge the farm-to-fork gap was a program highlight for Miller.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” she says. “It can sometimes be hard to reach out to people not involved in agriculture. It is fun to learn how to talk to the public about what we do and why we do it.”

Many Corteva Young Leader program graduates will assume leadership roles with their state and national soybean associations — an opportunity Miller says she looks forward to pursuing.

She serves on the Monona County Farm Bureau board and plans to become more involved with the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) as she settles into her farming career.

“I have met a lot of good people that have gone through the Corteva Young Leaders program in previous years and have had conversations about how they have become more involved in the Iowa Soybean Association.”

Besides potential leadership involvement, Miller says she is interested in participating in ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation on-farm trials.