Women in Ag: Small Town Superwoman, Jodie Mink

Jodie Lanting Mink grew up on a family farm and ranch south of Hollister, Idaho, with her parents, brother and sister, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. She always felt comfortable working cattle and learning from anyone that was willing to share. She participated in 4-H for 10 years, taking steers and heifers to the Twin Falls County Fair, a place where her family is still known for having some of the best stock. Jodie attended the University of Idaho, graduating with an Animal Science/Agribusiness degree, with minors in public relations and communications and began a master’s degree program in Agricultural Economics. Jodie and her husband, Justin, were married shortly thereafter, and in 2005 moved back to his family’s ranch in Cambridge. Together they have three sons, Jayden (15), Jarret (12), and Jace (8).

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today?  My involvement in the beef industry has many different aspects. I briefly worked as an educational outreach coordinator for the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission before taking a full-time job with the Cambridge School District as the agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor. I see 95 percent of the students enrolled in Cambridge High School in one of my agricultural classes every day! The opportunity to reach these students and educate them about the beef industry and agriculture is an honor. I also assist on my husband’s family ranch, Mink Land and Livestock. My heart is content when my entire family is able to work alongside each other riding, packing salt, putting up drift fence or stacking hay. My role on the ranch is also to provide outside income. My father-in-law Russell Mink once commented that the ranch has success because the wives bring in outside income. My mother-in-law Peggy Mink and I both take comfort in knowing that our jobs outside of the ranch help to keep this multi-generational ranch moving forward. Educating my own kids, as well as my students at school about their role in the use of natural resources, the production of a safe and quality protein source, as well as their responsibility in the conservation and management of the land for sustainability for years to come is my true passion in life.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or beef industry? I remember from early age learning from my parents, Bob and Rhea Lanting, about the importance of animal husbandry, how to make hard decisions, the results of hard work, and ultimately that my life would always include this lifestyle. My parents often laugh about why my sister and I both married into family ranches that often include few vacations and long hours. I guess the answer to that question is best summed up by saying….What other job do you get to see nature in its ultimate beauty, work with hardworking, honest people who have similar visions, as well as work side-by-side with your family daily to provide food for a growing nation? I hope that I also can pass along that inborn love of agriculture to my three boys.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My FFA students and my own kids inspire me. I have learned that if I provide the tools and resources and create a learning atmosphere that is engaging, there is no limit to the successes that my students will experience. They motivate me every day to be a better Ag teacher. To see my FFA students walk across the state at both the state and national events proves that small agricultural communities are producing the future leaders for our industry. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Jodie credits her students and FFA chapter members, as being one of her life's biggest motivations.

Jodie credits her students and FFA chapter members, as being one of her life’s biggest motivations.

I have two mentors that I currently use to “check” my ideas, and realign my focus. Julie Kerner and Pam Schwenkfelder are two women that I so admire. Their love and relentless time spent working toward the betterment of our beef industry is admirable. I often look to them for leadership, help with balancing family and ranch responsibilities, as well as the importance of being a productive member in the community. They might not know that I am watching their actions, but I find both of them to be strong leaders in our industry, thus I try to emulate these qualities in my daily life.

How do you provide encouragement to others?  I hope to provide encouragement for others by providing enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. If I am able to simply provide the initial excitement, others buy-in quickly. About eight years ago, I was contacted about starting a Progressive Agricultural Farm Safety Day for youth in our area. At first it was difficult to get the key community members on board. But with some persistence, our Cambridge Ag Safety day is a highlight in our community. This year we topped almost 100 participants and 60 volunteers. Because of that awesome turnout, I actually did very little for this huge event. Everyone in the community is now vested in this wonderful program and comes together to provide the education and resources for it. That all started with an idea and a little enthusiasm.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? We need to share the stories of family ranches. People that are purchasing our product need to make those connections to our Idaho beef families, the role we play in caring for the land, and the mission we have as key components in communities around Idaho is essential.

During last week's Idaho Vandal football game, the Mink family was named CHS Farm Family of the Year!

During last week’s Idaho Vandal football game, the Mink family was named CHS Farm Family of the Year!   Photo credit: Autumn Lynn Photography

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for my family, my friends, my students, and the agricultural community I live in. In August of this year a spiteful mosquito gave me the West Nile virus, which led to viral meningitis. My inability to teach school or even take care of my family’s needs has truly opened my eyes to the importance of relationships. The Cambridge and Midvale communities have helped me and my family extensively. Small agricultural communities are the true heartbeat of our nation. Relying on neighbors and assisting others when needed is ultimately the reason Justin and I have chosen to raise our children in this community. I am thankful for a wonderful rural school that allows individual growth with an enormous amount of agricultural-influenced curriculum. I am looking forward to getting back to school in January, and assisting my husband on the ranch. As much as this illness has frustrated me, I am thankful for the life lessons in humility, patience and setting priorities.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I love my Crock-pot and my Traeger grill. Nothing beats a tender roast with potatoes and carrots after a long day. My kids love hamburger pizzas on the grill. Using a simple pizza dough recipe, I grill individual sized rounds on the grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. I then allow the kids to individualize their pizza. Favorite toppings include hamburger, olives, tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, and mushrooms. After topping with cheese, they go back on the grill for another 3-4 minutes to melt everything to perfection! They are an absolute favorite.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? The first thing I do when I walk into the grocery store is to make sure that my kids and husband are not with me! I am a very organized person and attack the grocery store with a plan. I only shop in a larger grocery store every 2-3 months, so it’s also essential that my large white cooler is loaded in the car! My local community grocery store provides all the weekly needs!

The Mink family celebrates the success of their kids, after a local fair.

The Mink family celebrates the success of their kids, after a local fair.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? I LOVE sports! I enjoy all aspects of sports, especially watching my kids participate in football, basketball and baseball. I am a little bit competitive and often get excited at games, so my husband often selects a seat away from me! I also enjoy taking pictures and entertaining family and friends in our home.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I am a Vandal through and through. I used to have duct tape in my classroom that I would use to cover up logos and names of that “other” university on students’ shirts and sweatshirts. 2) I really don’t like chocolate, but I do love salt water taffy. 3) I love to write little notes to everyone. My kids and students might find them stuck in their book, slid into their locker, or handed to them before an important contest or game. Many of my FFA students keep these notes of encouragement in their FFA jackets. One student told me that when she is having a bad day, she pulls out all her notes and finds new inspiration.

Be sure to keep up with Jodie, by following her on Facebook, or by following the Weiser River Cattle Association!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life


  1. That’s my niece and we are so very proud of her and her family.

    Jodie has always been a helper and a leader since she was just little. I have always been impressed with her positive and helpful attitude even when things sometimes would get frustrating or chaotic.

    Once again she has proven how strong and steady she is in the face of difficult circumstances.

    She’s like her Mom, Amazing!

  2. Oh, Jodie. . .to find friendship in the connections of kids and cattle! What a blessing you have been to us! Congratulations and my very best always.

  3. Wonderful article ICW! Congratulations Jodie! Very proud of you and your family. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our kids and the Idaho cattle industry.

  4. Little bit competitive!! I coached her for middle school Volleyball. She made sure everyone was fired up and that losing was not an option!!!

  5. Met Jodie when she was in high school and through out college as her Dad would send her into the Buhl Implement where I worked as Parts Manager to get parts. I loved to chat with her and hear about all her aspirations. What a great article for an inspiring woman!!

  6. Watched her grow up, always determined to do her best whether it was in sports, 4-H , school or life in general. She worked hard on the family ranch in Hollister and know continues that ethic on the ranch in Cambridge. Jodie, this is a well-deserved honor. I loved to read your comments. The content of your answers display all the reasons you where chosen for this article. You and Justin are raising your family in the best way possible and they are a respectful, productive and generous young men. Proud of you and honored to be family.

  7. wow, what a great inspiration to our children
    I am ready to leave the big city I grew up in, the values are in the toilet as much as I argue against.
    we need our own country with folks like you

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