Staff Photo Cropped 3

The Future of Minnesota Beef: Martha Moenning

Grace Olinger | July 6, 2022

The blog is back! After my short hiatus from posting due to a hectic June, I wanted to get back into the swing of things and bring you the very first, individual spotlight. For this inaugural post, I thought that it would only be fitting to lead off with my first Minnesota friend and the person who actually directed me toward this position with the council, Martha Moenning.

In addition to being my roommate and valued friend, Martha is also involved in the beef industry not only at home, but in her extra-curricular activities and service through youth organizations.

Martha is from Hayfield Minnesota where she grew up on her family’s diversified crop and cattle operation. Agriculture is a generational affair in the Moenning family with Martha’s dad growing up farming corn and soybeans and raising hogs and cattle. Meanwhile, her mom’s background ranges from her experiences growing up to her extensive career history in agriculture.

Pictured is Martha with her father Mark, mother Donna, and sister Mary at this year's Simmental Junior Nationals where Martha concluded her term as the AJSA President.

2012 is when her and her siblings, Sam and Mary, who are all 4th generation agriculturists, really got involved with their purchase of three Simmental heifers. After years of expansion, they now run a cow-calf operation with the goal of becoming a source of quality seedstock. Martha can attribute even more of her involvement in the industry to her active participation in youth organizations such as 4-H and FFA as well as her leadership roles in the American Junior Simmental Association where she is currently finishing her term as the junior board president.

Personally, I came in contact with Martha during our junior college years through our common interest in livestock judging. In synchronous with attaining accolades in the judging realm, Martha received her associates in Animal Science from Butler Community College. Now, at South Dakota State University, she has expanded her studies with a meat science minor in an effort to work toward her career goal of one day owning a restaurant. Understand that Martha's vision goes beyond the conventional restauraunt; she strives to create a "farm-to-table" experience by utilizing her own home raised beef and establishing a menu full of locally sourced ingredients. Believe me, as one of Martha’s roommates, I am well aware of her passion for cooking and even get the opportunity to taste-test some of her ingenious recipes.

“Providing people with wholesome and nutritious food is a noble cause.”

Martha intends to continue growing her family’s operation and the foundation that they built when she was only 12.

Because, of this, she is well aware of the challenges that face the agriculture and beef industries; challenges such as sustainability. Although reducing environmental impact is a multifaceted and somewhat daunting subject, as Martha looks toward a career in food and agriculture she believes,

“The biggest way [she] can personally play a role is to help find solutions to reduce food waste.”

Needless to say, Martha’s involvement in agriculture and the beef industry in particular, is far reaching, and her vision for the future should only perpetuate her impact. 

That’s all for this post; hope to send another blog your way soon!


-Grace