Women in Ag: Ag Communications Professional, Maggie Malson

Maggie Malson grew up a Kansas farmer’s daughter, but after meeting her husband, Josh, at Kansas State University, the couple returned to his home in Idaho and she easily found herself loving the Gem State. The couple raises Angus and Hereford cattle and their four children on his family’s southwest Idaho ranch. Maggie has been an ag communications professional for the past 14 years. When not writing stories or photographing clients, watching kid activities, or helping with the cattle, Maggie enjoys getting creative in the kitchen. She also volunteers her time as a 4-H club leader, a contributor to the Idaho CattleWomen blog and is involved with Beef Counts.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today? My husband and I live and work on his family’s registered cattle ranch. While I don’t work outside with cattle every day, I am always on call to help as needed—whether moving cows, making a run to the vet clinic, or in the case this fall when I awoke to cows in our yard, helping get them back in and fixing the fence. With my communications experience, I manage our website, and help with the marketing and advertising of our purebred cattle. Our children are active in junior beef association activities and 4-H, showing cattle and sheep. We also have a couple feeder pigs each year. Professionally, I spent 13 years publishing the magazine for the Idaho Cattle Association, but recently stepped away from it to be more available to my family. After graduating from college, I started my communications business to provide writing, photography and design services, mainly to agriculture publications and clients, which I continue to do today.


Checking out the bulls during the family’s annual bull sale. Maggie and Josh are thankful to raise their children in the cattle business.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or the beef industry? My love of agriculture is a part of who I am. I was raised in a small farming community in Kansas where my dad and granddad were farmers. I remember helping my dad change water, which for us was big gated pipe. Moving cows was also a favorite family activity. I was a 10-year 4-H member, and that program, along with my parents, helped teach me responsibility, hard work, dedication, goal-setting and leadership skills. I had many interests in high school including art, photography and writing, but my love for agriculture, horses and cattle led me to pursue a degree in animal science. During my sophomore year I attended my first Ag Media Summit, where I met writers and editors of publications I had grown up seeing my dad read. I realized telling the story of agriculture was my life’s passion. I added ag communications as a second major. I was fortunate to have college internships to gain experience in both the horse and beef industries, and being on the KSU horse judging team also gave me opportunities for travel and meeting people through agriculture—many of them are still close friends today.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Certainly both of my parents and my grandparents have been great mentors for me. I look up to them for their faith, hard work, and kindness to others. They offered so much love and support to me through the years. My 4-H leader and county agent, Frank Swan, was also an influential force in my formative years and gave me many opportunities for growth and learning. In my communications career, I have numerous colleagues I admire and look up to. In the last 13 years, the cattlewomen and men of Idaho have provided daily inspiration for their dedication to raising beef and feeding people. There have been a few in particular who have been especially encouraging to me and are great leaders in our industry. I always appreciate opportunities to “pick their brains,” and gain insight from their experiences when we spend time together.

How do you provide encouragement to others? In my role as a wife and mom, I find lots of opportunities to encourage my family. Josh and I enjoy working together, albeit not always easy, but working alongside your spouse doing something you both love is a great way to spend the days. And I admire him so much for his love of cattle and doing the best job he can. I also love to laugh, so if I can infuse a little humor into a situation I will try because laughter really is great medicine. With our kids, I want to find the right balance of letting them learn from life experiences, but loving and guiding them along the way. I am a firm believer that everyone has something to contribute in life. I want to empower and encourage women to realize their worth and to be proud of the role they play—whether it’s at home or working outside the home. There is enough negativity in the world that we need to build each other up and not shame each other for parenting, food or other choices. In this day and age of modern technology and instant messages, I still find power in a face to face conversation and the handwritten note, so I try to visit in person or send cards and letters to others when I can.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? We tend to fear what we don’t know, so I would encourage the general public to get to know farmers and ranchers, learn more about what we do to care for land and animals, and to trust we are doing our very best. Agriculture impacts all of us, and a thriving agriculture industry and rural economies are the backbone of our country. Agriculture should still be considered a noble profession. It’s simple; we have to eat, have clothing and shelter. I want the rest of the population to know that farmers and ranchers care more about the land and animals than anyone in Washington, D.C., who is making policy without first-hand knowledge of how small or large farms and ranches are run. Food choice is important, and all production systems are needed. Science and technology are valuable tools that producers use to help be more efficient and sustainable.


Maggie has fond memories of showing horses and cattle at her county fair. Now she gets to watch her own kids show animals and learn valuable life lessons through 4-H.

What are you most thankful for? My faith, freedom, family, friends and health! I am thankful for agriculture and the people who have positively influenced my life. Life isn’t always easy and we all have our own share of trials and challenges, but my grandma’s advice was that you could always find someone else worse off than you. She had a positive, grateful attitude and didn’t complain. Even in the midst of an uncomfortable circumstance or challenge, I can always find something to be thankful for! If I ever start to think of what I don’t have, it’s my internal cue to look around and see how I can help or bless someone else. Reaching out to others in their time of need always puts my blessings in perspective.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I really love a good steak and roasted broccoli. I could probably eat that every day! One of my family’s favorites I make is a Steak Alfredo Pasta. I cut the steak into bite-size pieces, season, then brown them. I make a homemade sauce, starting with a roux of butter and flour, adding milk and cooking until it thickens. I season with garlic salt, pepper, Italian spices and Parmesan cheese. I add diced fresh tomatoes, red onion and bell peppers if I have them around. (I change it up a little each time.) I mix the steak back in after the sauce is finished and serve over fetticine noodles.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? I don’t have much time to watch TV, but I have three shows I DVR—Madam Secretary, Castle and The Mysteries of Laura. I love the strong, female lead characters, and each show has some drama, along with laughter too—a great combination.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? I love to read and usually have several books on my nightstand. I enjoy art, DIY projects and scrapbooking, although I haven’t had as much time to do this as I used to. I really enjoy watching my kids show their animals or participate in sports.

Favorite place to visit? Kansas (or anywhere my family is) and McCall, Idaho, where we have a family cabin. Because Josh and I both work from home, getting away from the ranch doesn’t happen often, but being up in the mountains and on the lake gives us both time to relax, enjoy downtime with our kids, and take in the beautiful scenery.

little girl showing horse

Maggie and her first horse, Dandy, who taught her about perseverance and hard work.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I won my first horse in an essay contest when I was 8 years old. She was only a yearling and I had no experience; I was just a horse-crazy girl. I learned so much about perseverance and not giving up from that horse. We had to learn everything by trial and error, but by the time I was finished showing her, I had reached all my goals. 2) I took an Introvert/Extrovert test once and my answers were evenly divided down the middle. I enjoy being around people, but also crave alone time. 3) I play the piano. I grew up taking lessons and playing in church. I don’t play nearly as often I would like to, but sometimes when I’m stressed, I’ll sit down and play through a hymn or Christmas song.

Keep up with Maggie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

1 Comment

  1. Maggie, I always knew you were special. And, this is what I meant when I said that one day to the three of your young women, “We can know someone for a long time and really not know them at all.” I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article (some of your story) and I’m proud to know you and hope to know you better and better in the future.

Comments are closed.