Desiree Wineland is being honored as a Future of American Agriculture Champion of Change.
My story in agriculture begins out of the ashes of September 11, 2001, and because of a promise my husband Cal and I made to our two boys, who were at the Pentagon Day Care that day. This promise transplanted our family to the heart of America, Nebraska, where the heart of agriculture beats strongly.
Although we did not know much about agriculture when we arrived, we completed UNL's Cow/Calf College, then the Nebraska Ranch Practicum and were selected for the Nebraska LEAD program, which opened up the world of agriculture to us.
For the past three years we partnered with the American Chemical Society to help promote education in agriculture and chartered a high school ChemClub utilizing our vineyard as a field lab to promote "STEAM" STEM with an A for Agriculture! Veterans Vineyard is also in its third year enrolled in the USDA/NRCS- Conservation Stewardship Program and hosts the Veterans BBQ in the Vineyard on every Armed Forces Day.
In 2011, to assist rural small family farms and ranches, we established American Butchers, a small USDA meat processing facility and butcher shop that is able to support these legacy farms through helping them market and sell their farm raised products that have been handcrafted into delicious artisan meats and shipped across the country. American Butchers is also a proud supporter of the Farm to School program.
It is humbling to be recognized for this Champions of Change award because change is truly like agriculture and does not happen in a vacuum. A seed is planted and only sprouts because of many external factors working in concert. For me, this award represents the teamwork of an entire state and love of my family. Together we will bring this recognition back to Nebraska to share it with all those who made this possible. We are still a work in progress, and know that with this continued support the possibilities are endless.
There are so many who contributed and I would like to begin with those closest to home and work outward. Thank you Cal, Calvin, Austin and even Honor. Your love and support keeps me growing every day. Thank you to everyone involved in the following organizations for your nourishment touched our lives and made this possible: Nebraska LEAD program, LEAD 31, UNL extension centers, Beaver City Farm Service Agency, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, Gallup EAS, FFA, Nebraska Diplomats, Google, Women In Ag, ISG, V-WISE, VFW and the American Legion and most importantly our neighboring communities who placed their trust in us and allowed us to grow and help sustain others in agriculture.
Thank you to USDA for providing the tools that extended all the way out to our farm in rural Nebraska. The USDA website shares collected knowledge, which provided steadfast answers to how to manage droughts, extreme heat waves, and early frosts.
Another great partner with USDA is Small Business Administration, and they also deserve a thank you, especially to all those who filled their website with answers to every question I have had about running a business.
And to the "First Team"- Mrs. Obama, thank you for planting a garden and showing not only your daughters but the world the value of agriculture and importance of nutritional foods.
Mr. President, I have read and learned about so many other champions and the work each one contributes to making our Nation continue to grow and I intend to connect and to learn from many of them. Thank you, Sir, for all that you do to reach out and recognize our citizens.
Desiree Wineland is originally from Sweden and now resides in Nebraska. She retired from the United States Army in 2009 and has since started two small rural businesses, American Butchers and Veterans' Vineyard & Winery.