BALDWIN, Wis. – Ashley Gausman says one of the best things about her job is living and working in a rural community with direct connections to producers.

She’s a strategic-account manager for Rosen’s Inc., a family-owned crop-protection-distribution company. Gausman is focused on logistics – moving products from Rosen's warehouses to cooperatives and other agricultural retail stores. She also combines her agronomic and product-management experience with her responsibilities in logistics.

Gausman in 2005 earned a degree in agricultural business with a minor in agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. While in college she was involved with Alpha Zeta and the Association of Women in Agriculture. Alpha Zeta is a professional society for students and industry professionals in the agricultural and natural-resources fields. The Association of Women in Agriculture advances the education of women in agriculture.

After graduation she worked as a sales agronomist for Western Wisconsin Ag Supply in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. It’s the agronomic division of Ag Partners Coop of Goodhue, Minnesota. She worked with growers located in the Ellsworth area for six years.

She then worked as an innovation specialist for BASF. Her job involved providing technical information about the company’s products to agricultural retailers. She later transitioned to a position within BASF where she worked with agricultural-retailer agronomists to communicate new-product information to their grower-customers. In a five-year span she worked on seven or eight new product launches, she said.

She joined Rosen's in January 2020. There she shares with agronomy managers and salespeople her technical knowledge of crop-protection products from basic manufacturers.

“I work with a team of experts in seed and adjuvants,” she said. “We work together to bring solutions to growers.”

In addition to her job at Rosen's she raises corn and soybeans with her husband, Bill Gausman. He’s s a district sales manager for Dairyland Seed. The couple has two young daughters.

Asked if there are particular women she admires for their leadership or accomplishments, she said, “I admire women who can balance a career, raise a family and have a successful marriage. It’s a tough job.”

Being a woman in a male-dominated industry presents some challenges. But there are a lot more women now entering the agronomy field, she said. She said she thinks about her young daughters -- that they won’t be limited in the jobs they'll be able to pursue in the future.

“You have to work hard to gain respect,” she said. “But don’t let anyone belittle your education or your experience."

Her advice to young people starting a career in agriculture is to never stop learning.

“And there is so much to learn,” she said. “I love to learn – from growers as well as from farming ourselves.”

She counts Tim Wiff among her mentors. He farms near Spring Valley, Wisconsin.

“I’ve learned so much from him,” she said. “He’s conservation-minded and profitable. And he’s eager to learn.”

Wiff said, “Ashley helped us a lot when she was an agronomist at Wisconsin Ag Supply. She really helped us do a better job and build our farm; she was part of our farm. She listens well and is honest. That really comes through when you talk with her.”

Rob Evans works with Gausman at Rosen’s, but first met her when she worked with BASF.

“I was working for United Suppliers then,” he said. “She was one of the best salespeople in the area and was a trusted adviser for her customers.”

Because she and her husband also farm, that lent experience and credibility to her recommendations, Evans said.

Gausman earned in 2015 a master’s in business administration from UW-River Falls. She also has been involved with the university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences alumni board, serving three years as president.

Gausman recently was elected to serve as a director on the board of the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association.

“I wanted to learn more about agriculture across the state,” she said. “In a few short months I’ve gained a lot of insights about the depth and breadth of our industry, and how it keeps agriculture up and running smoothly across the state.”

Lynn Grooms writes about the diversity of agriculture, including the industry’s newest ideas, research and technologies as a staff reporter for Agri-View based in Wisconsin.