Rising Star Tara Powers: “Why I would love to see agriculture more proactively promoted”

Yitzi Weiner
Oct 6 · 8 min read

I would love to see agriculture more proactively promoted. So many people today are long separated from the farm, meaning most of what they know about agriculture comes from social media. There are many high publicity campaigns that show agriculture in a misleading light. I would love to work to educate the public on the truths about farming and ranching. To share stories with them about the work we do to provide the best possible care for livestock, to develop new crop technologies and most importantly provide a safe and sustainable food source for the world.


had the pleasure to interview Tara Powers. Growing up on a small farm in Iowa, Tara learned how to be a cowboy from her biggest inspiration, her father. Her work on a feedlot in Oklahoma with over 80,000 head of cattle allows her to do what she loves every single day: be the cowboy she was born to be. Tara is one of two female contestants on Ultimate Cowboy Showdown, an original competition series on INSP, hosted by country music icon Trace Adkins. This former agriculture teacher’s motivation to appear on the show is to prove that women are just as much cowboys as men.


Thank you so much for joining us Tara! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

grew up in a small Iowa farm town. So small, that if you blink, you’d miss it. Raising livestock and growing crops was second nature to nearly all of us. I learned early on of the struggles and woes that come with this way of life. “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” (President John F. Kennedy) No truer words have ever been said. I am really not sure how my parents did it. We never had much, but we got by. I didn’t realize until I left to go to college that “normal” kids don’t contribute financially to what’s on the table. I worked, and I worked hard, something my parents instilled in me. Despite all our struggles, two very valuable lessons resonate with me to this day: the care of the livestock came before our own needs, and through it all my parents loved each other.

In high school, I was active in any extracurricular activities you can imagine, the advantage of going to such a small school. Basketball, choir, speech, FFA, 4-H, National Honor Society, you name it and I was a part of it. I was one of the very few to venture out and attend a four-year university. I attended Iowa State University, where I got my first real taste of life outside of the farm. Throughout college I stayed very busy. I was involved in multiple community service projects and held multiple leadership positions all while working full time. I graduated in 2016 with my degree in Agricultural Education and Life Sciences.

Following college, I went back home. I accepted a job teaching agriculture at a local high school, slightly bigger than the one I had attended. I found myself stuck in the “small town rut”: work your job and marry your high school sweetheart. I stayed on that course a little longer than I should have, but eventually found my exit and got off that road. I made some changes in my personal life and left my teaching job to work directly in the agricultural industry.

I have since continued to follow my gypsy soul and have found myself bouncing around the panhandle of Oklahoma, west Texas and central Texas. I am continuing to work in the agricultural industry and working to promote agricultural advocacy and education in my daily life as well throughout social media.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Agriculture is my biggest passion. Although my job title has varied, everything I have done has been in the agricultural industry. I am incredibly dedicated to trying to educate people about livestock production and care. With so many misconceptions about agriculture I want to do whatever I can to share my knowledge and experience with as many people as I possibly can.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I have lots of stories; for someone so young, I have lived many lives. One recurring trend is that in every job I have worked, people are always surprised that I am capable of doing my job while being a female. While teaching, a salesperson approached one of my senior male students assuming he was the teacher. This was followed up by an email saying how he was “caught off guard” and “surprised” to see a female that taught shop courses. In a similar situation while working in a cattle feed yard, I had a truck driver ask me if being a cowboy was harder because I was a woman. Of course, being the quick witted individual I am, I responded. “I don’t know sir, I’ve never been a man, so I guess I don’t know the difference.”

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

One of the more exciting things I am currently working on is expanding my social media presence. Recently, I branched away from my personal pages and built a public profile and a website (in the works) called Tara Powers- Pretty and Punchy. I use this forum to share some ranching and farming humor, but more importantly, I post educational information about agriculture that is meant to be shared by those of us who are familiar with this industry to help educate others on why we do what we do. I work to promote agriculture in a healthy light and to tell about it in ways that people from non-ag backgrounds can understand. There are many different groups spreading media about agriculture that just plain isn’t true. However, there are very few groups working proactively to educate people about the industry. That is what I am trying to do. More often than not, people fear what they don’t understand. I want to do all I can to end common misconceptions and educate the general public on the ways that farmers and ranchers work to provide a safe and sustainable food source.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I think seeing diversity in the entertainment industry is very important. For starters, it is great to be a viewer and see someone or something you can relate to! A show representing the real world needs to have real people- I am far from being the image of anything picture perfect, and that’s okay! Sometimes we have messy hair, smudged makeup or just horrible fashion sense, but that is real. I think seeing diversity in entertainment can help positively affect how people view themselves. It can help people see that if you don’t “fit the mold” that does not mean something is wrong with you. Life is too short to not value yourself.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

5 things I wish someone had told me:

  1. You will fail
  2. Things will get better
  3. Then they will get worse
  4. Then they will be great
  5. As long as you don’t quit

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Burnout is seen in many industries. The biggest advice I can give is to do what you can, with what you have. I have seen many people push themselves too far, pack their plate too full, and eventually they don’t enjoy a career they once loved. When I first started teaching, I felt myself doing a lot of this. I chose to leave the classroom and work in livestock production. I am still young, but I can’t seem to pick a “career” other than the title of agriculturalist. I enjoy a challenge so I have bounced around from education to swine management to large scale cattle production and back to education. Sometimes change is good.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would love to see agriculture more proactively promoted. So many people today are long separated from the farm, meaning most of what they know about agriculture comes from social media. There are many high publicity campaigns that show agriculture in a misleading light. I would love to work to educate the public on the truths about farming and ranching. To share stories with them about the work we do to provide the best possible care for livestock, to develop new crop technologies and most importantly provide a safe and sustainable food source for the world.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am so grateful to have had supportive parents who never thought any dream was too big. Both my parents passed away far too soon, but I am thankful every day for all they taught me. No matter how tough life got, quitting was never an option. While I am still not where I want to be in life, I will get there. I just keep taking my parents’ advice, chasing dreams and living life one ride at a time.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is one I wrote on the board in my classroom at least once a week.

“Every day may not be great, but there is something great in every day.”

I have always loved this quote because we don’t always have the day we planned for. Sometimes we feel like the bad days outweigh the good. This quote reminds me to cherish the little things. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

I would love to talk to Ellen DeGeneres. She has been a hot topic in agriculture since she said, “be neat, eat less meat” and told viewers how it is better for the environment and the animals. I disagree with her position and would love to share with Ellen and her viewers the facts about agricultural production, its impact on the environment and most importantly, the care that our animals receive.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook: Tara Powers- Pretty&Punchy

Instagram: prettyandpunchy

Snapchat: pretty.punchy

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Yitzi Weiner

Written by

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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