Schyler Angell

A youthful voice…
The Advocate Youth Page

Schyler Angell
Associate Editor

Schyler Angell

This month I had the opportunity to attend the Arkansas Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas with my Collegiate Farm Bureau club. I traveled with 12 other students, which made for a fun, educational experience.

While at the convention we watched the collegiate discussion meet, attended networking events and listened to guest speakers. I most enjoyed getting to hear from Dana Stewart of Judsonia, Arkansas as she shared about her multi-generational cattle farm and advocating for agriculture.

Dana is the 6th generation to live and work on her family’s cattle farm in White County, Arkansas. Over the years the farm has evolved from raising only commercial cows to raising Hereford, Gelbvieh and Balancer cattle.

Dana and her husband, Joshua, have two children, Henry (age 9) and Jewel (age 12). Dana works alongside her sisters and parents to raise their cattle and maintain their farm. Joshua works off of the farm.
“I’m really passionate about providing the best care that I can for our cattle,” stated Dana.

Her involvement in the agriculture industry began at a young age, and Dana credits 4-H for giving her an interest in advocacy.” ““My main 4-H project was beef. I’ve always had an interest in promoting the beef story with people, whether that was promoting beef recipes or telling people about what we do on our farm,” Dana said.

It’s easy to believe our advocacy opportunities are confined to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but the reality is that not everyone is able to utilize these platforms well, and there are many opportunities to advocate non-digitally. “Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and that looks different for everyone. So if you think about what your strengths are and how you can use those strengths to be an advocate, that is the best way to share what you’re doing,” Dana said.

Dana prioritizes sharing the stories of the farm with her social media followers, but she also intentionally advocates in other ways, such as sharing a recipe or talking about her farm with friends at church.

“It doesn’t have to be big,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be flashy. But I think it’s important that we are intentional with our advocacy and look for ways to share what we are doing.”

“It’s important to look at agriculture today and realize it’s not the same as it was a few generations ago. The face of agriculture has changed and will continue to change. Just like the technology we use becomes more innovative, our farms are also changing and becoming more innovative.

We know that a lot of people have to have a separate job off the farm to make ends meet, whether that’s for insurance or other reasons. So, it’s important to first remember that agriculture doesn’t look like it did a few generations ago.

For our industry to continue to thrive and survive, we need good mentors. We need farmers and ranchers that are willing to mentor the next generation and teach those lessons that I am fortunate to have because of our farm’s legacy. We need other people to share their legacy with the next generation.”

Dana received her associate’s degree from Arkansas State University before transferring to the University of Arkansas and receiving a degree in agricultural communications in 2005. Upon graduating, she worked at the American Gelbvieh Association in Denver, Colorado. Dana enjoyed working as the Director of Member Programs, but after one year she decided to move back to her family farm.

Fortunately, she was able to continue working remotely for seven years. She helped members utilize resources, managed the national junior show, helped the national junior board of directors and fundraised for the organization.

During her time in college, Dana became involved in the Collegiate Farm Bureau and competed in the state and national discussion meets. After graduation and her time working in Denver, she moved back to Arkansas and reengaged with the organization. She became involved in the Arkansas Young Farmers and Ranchers. She has served on the county and state Women’s Leadership Committee and is currently serving her third year as county board president.

Dana has many responsibilities as a mom, wife, community leader and cattle rancher.

“At the end of the day, I try to remember the example I am setting for my kids,” she said, “so that they see that their mom is passionate about what I do, and that I work hard to make sure our farm is sustainable.””