Farming in California continues to become more difficult and complex each year. Water availability, labor shortages, and regulations all contribute to the challenges producers have to navigate. Some of the tools to mitigate these issues include education, advocacy, and engagement. Known to many as ‘Almond Girl Jenny,’ Jenny Holtermann has been using these tools for a number of years working on behalf of agriculture. As a Kern County almond farmer, Vice President of Kern County Farm Bureau, and Executive Director for the Water Association of Kern County, Holtermann describes the importance of staying engaged as a farmer.
“Today’s climate in California is not an easy place to have a business or an easy place to farm,” Holtermann noted. “So, I think it’s even more important to be involved in social media, be involved in your commodity boards or your local farming organizations.”
Having a seat at the table seems difficult, especially with the changes and regulations being made on a daily basis. “If you’re not engaged in that discussion, then you aren’t aware of what’s happening until it is there and it’s impacting you,” added Holtermann.
About seven years ago, Holtermann started a blog to show the world what life on a farm looks like. Writing as Almond Girl Jenny, Holtermann has grown quite a following on her blog and social media platforms. Holtermann stated, “I try and pride myself in being transparent and sharing the real of us.” Giving the outside world a connection to where their food comes from can be rewarding, even other farmers who are not familiar with specialty crops have the opportunity to learn.
Holtermann admitted that spreading a positive message about agriculture can seem daunting on social media, but says, “just do it.” She adds, “It doesn’t matter if you have 50 followers that are all your family and friends, or if you have 5,000 followers, you’re still making an impact and you can still have that opportunity to educate somebody.”