Kansas woman takes over farm, nearly doubles farm size after husband passes away

Kansas woman takes over farm, nearly doubles farm size after husband passes away
April 21st, 2021 | Alex Voichoskie

One Kansas woman has proven her ability to farm by nearly doubling the size of her operation after her husband passed away.

Tori Dickenson’s agriculture story is full of transitions, but her story doesn’t begin in the agriculture industry.

She’s originally from Oswego, Kansas – population 1,676 – but even though she’s from a rural community, she called herself a “city girl” because she wasn’t interested in farming or ranching.

That slowly changed when she was 16 and started dating the man who she would eventually call her husband. She transitioned her lifestyle and began to learn the ins and outs of farming.

When they got married, Tori started doing bookwork and farming right alongside her husband.

As the years went by, and they raised their son, it was time for another transition in Tori’s journey.

Unfortunately, her husband lost a battle with colon cancer, leaving Tori with a tough decision – keep the farm or get an office job in town.

“Which wasn’t on the highlight of my list of things to do, so I chose to keep farming and that’s where I’m at today,” she said.

Since taking over the farm, Tori said she had a steep learning curve. She had to learn how to market the grain, make decisions on what to plant and where to plant it, and choose chemicals for the growing season. But like anybody from a rural community, she wasn’t alone in the process.

“I have a real good network around me,” she said.

Tori said one of the greatest challenges of fully taking over the operation was getting others in the agriculture industry, especially men in some cases, to respect her ability to farm.

“Getting your landlords, who are all men, to put faith into you to produce a crop off their acres, and for them to stay with me, I think that shows a little bit about some of my farming ability,” she said. “I’m not the best farmer out there, but I’d like to think I’m not the worst.”

She proved her ability to farm by growing the operation by 1,500 acres after her husband passed away.

Tori – in addition to her two full-time hired hands – grows corn, soybeans, wheat and milo and raises cattle.

She was nominated for the Women in Agriculture series by Ron Bollier.

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