[Originally published: July 7, 2016]
Mary Mackinson Faber is the 5th generation involved in her family’s farm near Pontiac, Illinois. She grew up on her family’s grain and dairy operations located about 100 miles southwest of Chicago. Currently, she is employed with Graymont Cooperative as the Controller, and she manages her family farm’s social media presence online. She graduated from Illinois State with a B.S. in Agribusiness and an MBA. She is married to Jesse Faber, Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor at Pontiac Township High School. They have two kids, Ava and Eli.
DAKOTA: What made you decide to work in an agribusiness?
MARY: Graduating from high school, I did not know what I wanted to “be when I grew up.” I took one area that I was and still am incredibly passionate about, agriculture and another idea that I really enjoyed, business and decided to major in Agriculture Business at Illinois State University.
DAKOTA: What is your day to day role in your job?
MARY: I am the Controller for Graymont Cooperative Association a local agriculture cooperative that is a grain storage facility, agronomy input supplier, feed mill and internet provider. My job responsibilities include human resources, customer credit and collections, and accounts payable. I oversee the sale and purchase of common and preferred stock and patronage pay-out and redemption. I take great pride in the reconciliation and presentation of department and company-wide monthly and fiscal year-end financial statements. In addition to making sure that all of the numbers balance, I enjoy serving and engaging with the local farmers. I am extremely proud to work for a company that has been owned by hard-working farm families for more than one hundred years.
DAKOTA: Explain your role on your family’s dairy farm.
MARY: I am the 5th generation to grow up on Mackinson Dairy Farm. Mackinson Dairy is a dairy and grain farm located north of Pontiac, Illinois or about 100 miles south of Chicago on Interstate 55. Mackinson Dairy Farm is home to around 165 milking cows and over 150 head of heifer and calves in addition to roughly 2,000 acres of cropland where we grow corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. Growing up, while I loved the cows and agriculture, I knew I was not cut out to be on the farm every day. As I entered college, I started to realize the disconnect between consumer and farmer and soon discovered my passion for advocacy. I have been trying to bridge the disconnect ever since but truly became active advocating on social media after I became a Mom. Today, I am responsible for managing the farm’s social media presence.
MARY: As more agriculturists start to tell their amazing stories, people will see agriculture is more than just plows, cows, and sows. The image of what an agriculture career looks like needs to be updated. The image should include the farmer, but also a nutritionist, food scientist, machinist, mechanical engineer and social media expert. Agriculture needs to embrace the diverse opportunities available and build enthusiasm for these types of careers. My husband and I are fortunate to have amazing jobs in the agriculture sector, and it is a wonderful industry for raising a family.