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Man. farmer considers her sister an inspiration

Man. farmer considers her sister an inspiration

Sally Parsonage’s sister, Jennie, served in the Canadian Armed Forces

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

With International Women’s Day on the horizon, Farms.com is speaking with female farmers about various topics, including who they consider to be a hero or inspiration.

Westman, Man., farmer and agribusiness owner Sally Parsonage doesn’t have to look far for someone she puts into that light.

Her older sister, Jennie, spent 14 years in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a logistics officer.

These officers “provide the various means of transportation, equipment and supplies for the movement of Canadian Armed Forces members and all types and sizes of cargo throughout the world,” the CAF website says.

Jennie now uses some of the skills she learned in the military to help on the farm and as a dispatcher with the family’s agribusiness, Air Greenway.

Sally Parsonage
Sally Parsonage

“Jennie started farming after me and already had a full career before coming back to the farm to work with us,” Sally told Farms.com. “She’s such a hard worker and to know she spent almost 15 years serving in the Canadian military, it’s easy to look at her as someone I want to emulate.”

Sally also has two brothers, Riley and Dory, who are involved in the family businesses.

Parsonage also identified Pam de Rocquigny, the CEO of the Manitoba Crop Alliance, and Anastasia Kubinec, a farmer and agronomist, as people she looks up to.

“It’s really nice to have people around who have experience in different aspects of the industry,” she said. “You know you can always get the right answer, or pointed in the right direction, or have someone to vent to if it’s needed.”

Parsonage completed her Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) at the University of Manitoba in 2012.

Her initial goal included a career in ag research, but she ended up back on the family farm as a primary producer.

“I did a summer of research and winter of classes, and the following summer I came back to the farm,” she said. “That was my first time on the farm as an adult with some sort of responsibility and seeing the breadth of the business. I really liked it and working with my family.”

As a kid, Parsonage helped on the farm where she could.

“As a kid you’re just a butt in the seat most of the time,” she said.

But if she could go back and speak with 12-year-old Sally, she’d tell her to push through the tough times.

“Times were tough when I was a kid on the farm because it didn’t seem like a viable career path,” she said. “And I had no idea what I wanted to do until I basically signed up for agronomy courses. I’d tell my younger self that the industry will grow, and you can have a career in agriculture.”

Farms.com will continue to connect with farm women as International Women’s Day approaches.

Jennifer Meyer, a producer from Wilton, N.D., never wanted to be a farmer until she helped out on her now husband’s family farm.


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