Tori Streitmatter: The 2017 #RootedinAg Winner Shares Her Story

Contest winner recalls the indelible imprint her father has made on her life.
Tori Streitmatter.
Tori Streitmatter, the 2017 #RootedinAg winner, and Dave Streitmatter, her dad.
Tori Streitmatter vividly remembers racing her brother and sister home from school during calving season. If she found a calf in the barn, she not only earned a dollar, but was also given the opportunity to write the number on the animal’s ear tag.

Moments like that from Streitmatter’s childhood flood her memory when someone asks about her father or her upbringing in the small town of Sparland, Illinois.

“Looking back, it’s hilarious, but those are the little perks that we looked forward to,” she says.

The Inspiration Behind Her Win

Streitmatter recently won Thrive’s 2017 #RootedinAg contest, which asked growers and other ag industry professionals across the country to describe the person who most nourished their agricultural roots. She won the contest, based on the number of online votes she received and the quality of her essay, as determined by a panel of judges.

“It never bothered Dad that it took him longer to get his work done, with us kids tagging along. For him, teaching us about the farm was always worth the extra time.”

Tori Streitmatter

Streitmatter, who currently works in human resources and recruiting for agricultural supply cooperative GROWMARK, Inc., chose to write about her father, Dave, whom she calls the “architect behind her work ethic.” Today, he primarily grows corn and soybeans on the family’s sixth-generation farm.

“I really didn’t contribute much to the farm until middle school,” Streitmatter says. “But it never bothered Dad that it took him longer to get his work done, with us kids tagging along. For him, teaching us about the farm was always worth the extra time.”

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Her father also pushed involvement in the community and the agriculture industry. Streitmatter recalls no matter how many sports or extracurricular activities she and her siblings took part in, her father made sure they were always in 4-H and FFA.

“Throughout all my schooling, I wanted to be like Dad, always networking, making friends and not knowing a stranger,” she says.

A Strong Sense of Community

That sense of community and networking, central to the agriculture industry, led Streitmatter to her current job in talent acquisition. She says the connectivity her father preached has come full circle as she helps bring new faces into the industry.

#RootedinAgContest winner @torstreitmatter on the grower behind her work ethic.

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Her contest win will also help Streitmatter benefit others in agriculture. Syngenta has made a $1,000 donation in her name to the Midland FFA Alumni, to help students who are pursuing ag degrees in her local area attend regional and national conferences. She hopes to offer more students the opportunity to grow and connect through the organization as she did.

“Students often ask me, ‘How do I get where you are?’ And I tell them getting involved is key,” Streitmatter says. “You can learn a lot in the classroom, but you really connect the dots when you see so many people in one organization taking action.”

Tori Streitmatter.
The Streitmatter family enjoys a day together on the farm; (left to right) Taylor, Tori, Kaitlyn, baby Reid, Jay, Ann, Dave and Clutch, the dog.
Family First

The family farm is still a major part of her life. Streitmatter, her brother and her sister each live within an hour of the operation and often return on weekend trips.

“Harvest, for me, is like Christmas for a little kid. I can’t get enough of it,” she says. “It’s so easy to get our family back together on the weekends. It just kind of feels like we never left.”

When she was growing up, Streitmatter’s grandparents, on both sides of the family, lived nearby and played active roles in developing her agricultural roots. Her father made sure she knew the history of their family.

“It was important to Dad,” Streitmatter says. “Now it’s important to me to carry on the legacy that my family members worked so hard to achieve.”