Serving the community since 1970

FOCUS ON FARMING: Jenny Holtermann

A woman of many hats

A local almond farmer has been wearing several hats, living a life that is an example of hard work and its rewards. Jenny Holtermann is a farmer, an executive, a wife and mother, all while working to preserve a bright future for future generations.

Holtermann is a fourth-generation farmer, beginning her career up in Chico on her family's almond ranch. She attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she met her future husband, Tim. After graduation, they moved to Shafter, beginning a new chapter. Holtermann, known by friends as Jenny Almond Girl, works at getting their product ready for sale and shipping, as well as giving her children the time they need at home.

And she puts an emphasis on being good stewards of the land that they manage.

Holtermann has been the executive director of the Kern Water District since 2020, giving her a platform to put her ideals out front, preserving the land and its gifts for those who follow them. "I want there to be a farm here if our children choose to farm," she says.

Holtermann explained that it is getting more difficult to farm, with the regulations and challenges that current farmers face. "But, without families doing what we do, farming will look different in the years to come. We need to support and encourage family farms and the longevity of farming for our community and our children."

One of the challenges now is the price of almonds in today's market. Holtermann said that in her 20 years of almond farming, she has seen prices fluctuate between 90 cents and $4 return to the grower, with rocery stores charging an average of $10 per pound. "Currently, the price is about $1.50 per pound, with costs being between $1 [and] $1.50."

Holtermann and her husband are working on increasing their water efficiency and technology used on the farm to ensure that they are being the best stewards of the land.

Asked what one of the biggest challenges she faces in farming Holtermann said, "Being a woman in agriculture is a big one. I serve on numerous boards in my community and in agriculture where I am the only woman or one of few who have repainted their farm."

She also blogs about her life on the farm, with Instagram postings on @almondgirljenny, and a website, almondgirljenny.com.

 

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