March is Women’s History Month and the Utah Farm Bureau Federation & American Farm Bureau are taking the time to highlight women in agriculture.
Waneta Fawcett was raised on a farm, where her family owned Hereford cows and a small herd of sheep. She attended Utah State University and graduated with a bachelor’s in Business Education and Office Administration.
After graduation she worked as a teacher at Briton high school, married her husband, Lorin, and moved to Henefer.
Fawcett and her husband raised their eight children on their ranch where they run sheep and Hereford cattle. Fawcett has been an irreplaceable asset on the ranch.
“We always went to the forest in the summer and herded sheep,” Fawcett said. “I cooked three meals a day for 14 people out of a trailer, helped sheer, and haul hay.”
In the winter, when they move the sheep to the west desert, Fawcett also helps haul hay and takes supplies to their herders.
Kelsey Bladen, Fawcett’s oldest daughter, remembers the days of hard work.
“Every summer growing up, we would spend a month in the mountains herding sheep,” Bladen said. “We would cook for the hands, took turns watching the sheep, and played games. I loved it.”
Bladen also knows the commitment her mother has to the lifestyle.
“I would say agriculture is my parent’s life,” Bladen said. “My mom will go with my dad to feed cows and sheep, docks the lambs, works with the cows, and always takes dinner to whatever work crew is there.”
Fawcett is also deeply involved in Farm Bureau as well.
“Lorin and I started with Farm Bureau back in our twenties,” Fawcett said. “We have served on the county and state YF&R committees, and I have been the county secretary for 36 years, and on the state Women’s Committee for seven.”
Fawcett said she enjoys going into classrooms and teaching about beef and sheep.
“We make wool bracelets, show them pictures of wool clothing, and we even had the kids sheer a sheep once.” Fawcett said.
Fawcett said she likes to help children understand that their food comes from farms and not grocery stores; education in general has always been a priority for Fawcett and her family.
“Our kids didn’t miss school to work on the ranch,” Fawcett said, “We value education a lot.”
Both Fawcett and her husband have bachelor’s degrees in education, all eight of her children have a bachelor’s degree, and six have master’s degrees.
“They worked after school, on weekends and holidays but we never pulled them out of school.” Fawcett said.
Over her lifetime, Waneta has given countless hours to her own family’s farm, and to Utah Farm Bureau.
“To me, it’s all part of my life,” Fawcett said. “I value my family the most, church second and ranch third. I love the lifestyle. It’s hard sometimes, cows still have to be fed on weekends and you sometimes miss events, but we try to do what we can, and that’s all you can do.”
Her daughter echoes the sentiment,
“I love my mother, and really admire her. Agriculture is my parent’s life. My dad takes care of the ranch but my mom takes of the rancher.”