Angela Guentzel works tirelessly on her family’s farm, aptly named Guentzel Family Farms, which is located in Kasota. The operation is a sixth generation farm, with Angela one of the jack-of-all-trades.
What is your current position?
I am self-employed and work on our family farm. I moved back to the Mankato area in 2014 to work on our family corn and soybean farm. There I keep the books, (manage) the payroll/human resources department and run the farm equipment. My husband, Andy, and I also started Mankato Valley Seed, where we sell corn and soybean seed. It wasn’t long until we expanded Mankato Valley to sell microbial products, or soil health products. (We also) formulate some of our own products. … in the off-seasons, Andy and I have Mankato Valley Remodeling, where we do anything from tile work to landscape work.
What steps did you take to get there?
Growing up on the farm meant that I was walking beans and picking rock as early as I was physically able. Farm work was always something different and taught me a lot about a strong work ethic, multitasking and having passion for what you do. I don’t know why, but growing up I never considered agriculture as a career for myself. I graduated with a degree in sociology and had a Spanish minor. I happily worked in the human services world for several years until my brother asked if I would like to come back to the farm to help out. Realizing that I was (already) taking off of work to help farm, especially during planting and harvesting, I took him up on his offer.
Why did you choose this career path?
Farming is hard work. It is one of the most challenging roles I have ever taken but that is one of the reasons I love it. My brother and I would be considered the sixth generation on our farm, it’s in my blood and I have a passion for it.
What personal strengths help you excel in your chosen career?
Multitasking skills, drive, and going in with the attitude that I’m never too good for the menial parts of the job and never not good enough for the challenging parts of the job.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I get a lot of opportunities to promote something I love. The best part about my job is that I get to work with the community that I grew up in. I get to host preschool groups in the pumpkin patch, (have) Young Professionals touring the farm and help organize Breakfast on the Farm for thousands of community members to experience modern agriculture. I love being an advocate for agriculture. When in doubt, ask a farmer!
What advice would you give to other young professionals?
Get involved in your community. Serve on a board, join a club and make time to give back. Everyone is busy, but I promise you have the time.
Are there any trainings or events that have had a big impact on your career?
I am a graduate of the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership program. I would highly recommend participating in MARL if you are at all connected to agriculture. It helped me develop personally and professionally; (I) learned so much about rural Minnesota (and) really honed my leadership skills, not to mention the fantastic networking opportunities. Greater Mankato Growth’s Young Professionals also had a big impact. I grew up in the Mankato area but learned so much more about my community. I was able to meet and connect with peers. I served on various committees and was YP chair.
What books, podcasts or videos have helped you?
If I don’t know how to do something, I can figure it out on YouTube!
What app can’t you live without?
Agriculture has turned into a “techy” career. There are so many to choose from but I would have to say the climate field app would be my top choice.
What inspires/drives you?
Taking and creating opportunities as they come. Also the need for more young talent in agriculture.
Looking back on the beginning of your career, what do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
I really don’t know why I never considered a career in agriculture as I was growing up. I wish I would have understood the potential for careers in agriculture and how diverse they can be. It would have benefitted my career to pay closer attention to the ins and outs of our farm and to have had an ag-related degree.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
One of the things I am most proud of is our company Mankato Valley Soil Solutions. Using biology to promote soil health and enhance plants can benefit the farmer and the earth in so many ways. In 10 years I hope to see significant growth there.