The Funny Side of Farming

Farm Humor

As part of our series leading up to the Second Annual Iowa Women’s Landowner Conference on June 19, 2014, I’ve taken a few minutes to interview conference speaker Joan Johanson about using humor to deal with the many ups and downs life throws at us. Often referred to as “Iowa’s Erma Bombeck,” Mrs. Johanson has spoken at thousands of appearances in the United States, Canada, and Mexico and will be speaking at the conference from 2:50 to 3:30 P.M. Come to the conference and see what this lovely lady from Gowrie has to say!

Can you give us a preview of the points and information you’re planning on presenting at the conference?

My program, “Feeling Good!” is actually a “lesson” camouflaged with humor and entertainment. The underlying message is: a person will be healthier, happier, more successful and can handle bad or negative events, if they will just use their sense of humor. I prove this fact with true examples and stories that are funny, showing there is humor all around us!

What is your interest in the conference and agriculture?

I was born and raised on a farm, married a farmer and I love to speak to groups of women! They are the best audiences!

Can you tell me a little bit more about your background?

As mentioned above, I was raised on a typical Iowa row-crop farm with a dairy operation, chickens and hogs, then married a row-crop farmer who raised black Angus. In both cases, I was cheap “hired help.” We had two very active, involved children; I worked full time at the coop, at the telephone company as an office manager/bookkeeper; and was up to my neck in local and state groups, clubs, boards and committees.

However, in these groups, I was almost always the only woman. That’s why I joined Toastmasters (1974), to be more at ease and confident when speaking and able to “hold my own” with the men! Toastmaster’s great education and training soon led to leadership…then to professional speaking as a humorous speaker and trainer. Since 1982, I have spoken to small and huge groups, to all nature of businesses and interests, met many wonderful people and been to many wonderful places. Personally, I feel it was the greatest, “funnest” way anyone could make a living!

What’s one quirky thing that very few people know about you?

Cathleen, this is a tough one! Who can honestly recognize their own idiosyncrasies? But, my daughter remembers and suggested: since they were both young, they would tease me, “Here comes the Samurai warrior to find and kill the fly.” I could not have a fly in my house! I would walk the rooms with a swatter until I found and killed it! I just could not continue with whatever I was doing until I got him! I knew where those flies came from! And, I’m still sort of the same today.

Do you have any websites, LinkedIn profile, Facebook pages or similar sites that I could glean a bit more information?

This electronic communicating was coming on strong as I was basically ‘dialing down’ on my speaking business (very painful hip!) so I never really got into it. I quickly recognized, early on, that these would be very time consuming activities and I wanted my time for me. I had many educational articles I wanted to write and share. And I was right! I really don’t have time to give justice to keeping up with just my e-mails.

Hear More From Joan at the Iowa Women’s Landowner Conference

I enjoyed being able to do this interview with Joan – she’s a very funny lady! With a blended family, almost two decades in the telecom industry, active participation in a number of community groups and a lifetime of farm experience to share, her presentation is among those you should make plans to see! Whether it’s discussing husbands and their sometimes questionable effectiveness in home repairs, raising children when they’re at their most trying, the ups and downs of farm life or aging in perhaps a not terribly gracefully fashion, Mrs. Johanson makes strong points that are couched in humor, making for an entertaining lesson.

The Second Annual Iowa Women’s Landowner Conference will be here before you know it, with a number of speakers, networking opportunities and great food. If you haven’t had the opportunity to register for the conference, please do so today! We would be delighted to have you join us for this day of learning and networking!

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