Get To Know Your Nebraska Farmer: Erma McGill

Lancaster County Farm Bureau member Erma McGill from Waverly, Neb., has lived on a farm her whole life, most recently at her current farmstead for the past 58 years. Her operation lays claim to 600-acres of corn, soybeans and native hay; her son runs 200 head of cattle in the pasture. Three out of her four children have jobs directly in agriculture or closely related.

Erma has been a Nebraska Farm Bureau Ag Pen Pal for 16 years, the past 14 with the same teacher – Sandy Dorn, 4th grade teacher at Meadowlane Elementary in Lincoln. Erma has a strong desire and dedication to teaching today’s children about agriculture, where their food comes from, and how many of their everyday items stem from agriculture in some way.

Erma says being a part of the program is rewarding for her because when the school year begins, students focus questions on farm pets because it’s familiar to them. By the end of the year, they’re asking questions about grain production, which shows Erma that her pen pal efforts are paying off. Listen more here.

One in three jobs in Nebraska is agriculture-related, and our school children are the future decision-makers in the state. Erma shares her message to teachers to encourage them to take part in the Ag Pen Pal program.

Another extension of writing letters is that the class takes a trip to Erma’s farm each year where they get hands-on experience that they can take home and share with family and friends. Erma says she feels the farm visit is integral to their learning experience so they can witness farm life for themselves and ask a farmer the questions they might have.

Interested in being an Ag Pen Pal? Visit, e-mail Deanna Karmazin at or call 800-546-3496.

Learn more about ag families in Nebraska by visiting And while there, be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

2 responses to “Get To Know Your Nebraska Farmer: Erma McGill

  1. Awesome story, we have been writing for Ag Penpals for years too but sad that we live too far for anyone to visit us, We have visited numerous classes in Lincoln and Omaha and always come home with a smile!!

    • Great to hear that, Trish! I’m glad you’re participating in the program, and finding it rewarding personally. Taking your story to the classroom is very valuable, even if they can’t come to your farm. You can “show” them with pictures and just by being there. Thanks! and thanks for the comment!

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