McClenathan is a farmer at heart

In recent decades millions of people in the United States moved from farms to towns, including Jacque McClenathan’s parents. But you can be born a city kid and still be a country kid at heart.

McClenathan, a senior farm casualty underwriter, grew up in Grinnell but married into the country life and hasn’t looked back. “I don’t know if I could live in town now,” said McClenathan.

She loves the country life and agents appreciate the insights that come from her farm experience and that she knows what’s she’s talking about.

“They really like that even though I used to be a city girl, I’ve been out there on the farm. I’ve walked through it with boots on,” said McClenathan. “I know what it’s like to try and keep a water gap in. I understand that when it rains every three days you have to go out and fix it; you might not get out there quick enough and that cow might get through. I understand.”

McClenathan owned and operated a crop and livestock farm with corn, beans, hogs (farrow to finish), calves, stock cattle, and custom hay baling and combining. Her farm struggled in the 1980s farm crisis, creating a need for additional income. McClenathan knew Grinnell Mutual had a reputation as a good place to work, so she applied and was hired as a file clerk. She balanced farm work with office work until 1994 when she bought an acreage.

McClenathan and her family remain active in farming. They regularly attend the Farm Progress Show, the world’s largest agricultural expo, to stay on top of the latest farming technology. Her son does “dirt work,” excavating, terracing, and tiling farm land. His connections have opened doors for McClenathan and the farm underwriting team to tour hog confinements and other farming operations to see modern farming in action.

She still helps on farms when she can, but she has limits.

“I miss the calves in spring. That was the best part of farming,” said McClenathan. “Pigs are a different story. Calves you have one being born, but pigs you could have a dozen or more. I never pulled pigs during farrowing because if I ever lost anything up there, and I wouldn’t be going after it.”