Jaclyn Wilson started Flying Diamond Genetics in 2011. Clients send her embryos; she places the embryos in a cow and gives her client back the calf that was born, after weaning at 7-8 months old. She also works on her family’s 130-year-old cattle operation near Lakeside. She rents her own home 70 miles north of there.
As Wilson’s father prepares to retire, Wilson will re-evaluate how to balance her company and her family operation. She doesn’t foresee giving up Flying Diamond Genetics, “because ranching is so difficult,” she said. It’s common in the modern agricultural world to find a “niche market” that brings in extra income.
The 1998 Rushville High School graduate attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln but returned to the family operation in 2002 without a degree “and ended up just staying,” she said.
Wilson traveled to New Orleans last week to attend the Cattle Industry Convention hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association — and to tour the town. And that’s when Wilson ran into what she calls a stigma from people who aren’t in the world of agriculture, but view it from the outside looking in.
“It was an Uber driver,” she said. “He asked us how our husbands run the ranch.”
Wilson, who is unmarried, said such assumptions about women in agriculture aren’t new to her.
“I get questioned all the time,” she said.
Most often, people assume Wilson works on her husband’s operation, or that her pickup truck belongs to her husband. Wilson’s employee, Whitney Hall, a Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture graduate, said that such assumptions come more often from people in urban areas who don’t know the field. To someone in the ag field, Wilson and Hall are just agricultural producers — not women who work in agriculture, Hall said.
Wilson added that she addresses those stigmas on the job.
“I know I’m not as strong as a guy, or most guys,” she said. “You learn to do things smarter.”
By reducing physical requirements on the job, there’s “less wear and tear on the body,” Wilson said. “Then the boss man picks up” on the adjustment and realizes he can do less strenuous work and be easier on his body, too, Wilson said.
“We’re just putting a new look on the old John Wayne cowboys,” she said. “It gives it a little different spin on the industry.”