Tara Vander Dussen: Making an Impact Beyond the Farm 

Agriculture and pop culture are not often paired together, but Tara Vander Dussen melds them together seamlessly in her top-ranked podcast, Discover Ag.

As with all the best influencers, Vander Dussen did not enter the content creation space with a grand scheme of how to create the most viral posts, stories, or podcast episodes. Instead, people were naturally drawn to her because of her dynamism and her unique perspective on agriculture developed from her experience and education.

Pursuing environmental science

After growing up on her family’s dairy farm in New Mexico, Vander Dussen decided to study environmental science at the University of Arizona. When she left for college, Vander Dussen could not envision herself returning to dairy farming, but love has a way of changing things. After college, Vander Dussen and her husband moved back to New Mexico to live and work on his family’s dairy farm, and she rightfully earned the title of fifth-generation dairy farmer. Although she was back on a dairy farm, Vander Dussen wanted to keep environmental science at the center of her career. She accepted a position at an independent consulting company that helps dairies with environmental matters such as permitting, regulatory aspects, water sampling, and manure sampling.

A natural shift to content creation

During her career, dairy farming and motherhood, Vander Dussen decided to share her life in agriculture with a broader audience. By offering content such as a tour of her dairy farm, clips of her podcast, and even a poem celebrating June Dairy Month narrated by her daughter, her Instagram page now reaches over 50,000 followers.

Vander Dussen explained that her initial idea of creating a platform to share her interests and perspectives online has shifted.

“It has absolutely grown and changed and snowballed in ways I could not even have imagined,” Vander Dussen said.

With the springboard of her thriving social media presence, Vander Dussen founded the Discover Ag podcast with co-host Natalie Kovarik, a cattle rancher from Nebraska. Discover Ag releases a podcast every Thursday, and the website tells listeners to “expect to be wildly entertained and informed, as you go beyond the headlines to discover what’s new in the world of food.”

The Discover Ag podcast has found much success, by ranking as a top 10 food podcast, achieving a 4.9/5 star ranking, and having over 500,000 downloads.

The greater purpose of Discover Ag

Although the statistics about her podcast are very impressive, Vander Dussen describes a greater purpose for the podcast – eliminating fear around food.

Vander Dussen explains, “People have… become more and more disconnected from agriculture and from where their food comes from,” leading them to fear the unknown. In addition, people are constantly bombarded with information on social media from food influencers and celebrities, and unfortunately, sometimes those posts are misinformation.

With her firsthand experience in dairy farming and her education in environmental science, Vander Dussen’s podcast is the perfect place to find the truth behind frightening food-related headlines.

Women in agriculture

Turning to her role in ag, Vander Dussen discussed how “it’s a really great time to be a woman in agriculture.”

“I think we’re at a time where women can truly decide to lean into whatever area they want to be in whether you want to be… the foremost farmer or you want to be… the supportive farm wife,” Vander Dussen said.

Ever.Ag commends Vander Dussen on her pursuit of producing informative, fear-dispelling, and most importantly, enjoyable content about agriculture.

Follow her on Instagram and listen to her podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.