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About the cover


Diamond in the Rough

Sierra County rancher Gloria Jean Petersen earns Women in Agriculture award

WALC a Mile in Our Boots was the theme of the 11th Women in Agriculture Leadership Conference

2015 Diamond in the Rough Winner Gloria Petersen
with Erica Valdez of Animas. (Courtesy Photo)

(WALC), held May 26 through 28, in Albuquerque. Over 200 women from across New Mexico’s agricultural industry came together to discuss current issues, network, and honor outstanding women in the group.

This year Gloria Jean Petersen of Sierra County was honored by the group with the Diamond in the Rough award. This award is given at each conference, recognizing outstanding women in New Mexico agriculture and highlighting her efforts and contributions.

As the oldest of nine children during the Depression and World War II, Gloria Jean Petersen’s agriculture responsibilities developed early. The family depended on chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, sheep, cattle, horses and what could be harvested from the ground for daily survival. At the young age of 16, she became a Candy Striper at the local Minot hospital in DeLac, N.D. She worked her way up to becoming a registered nurse at the age of 20 and married in 1955. Throughout their 58 years of marriage, she and Donny raised six children, cattle, hay and grain in North Dakota, Saskatchewan, Canada and most recently, New Mexico.

In the early 1970’s Gloria became certified in artificial insemination and pregnancy checking cattle. This began her involvement in crossbreeding, eventually transitioning into European exotic breeds, such as Charolais, Sim- mental and Limousin which have now become foundation herds. The Petersen’s were considered pioneer ranchers in Southern Saskatchewan and had a huge influence on genetics in the area. Understanding the need to preserve the land, Gloria and her husband Donny, signed up with the Prairie

Farm Rehabilitation Administration, prior to NRCS, and planted 100,000 trees as part of a wind erosion project. She taught anyone who would listen to conserve water.

“Don’t run the water when brushing your teeth” and “Don’t throw water down the drain, put it on a plant” were comments her children remember hearing growing up. She’s a member of the New Mexico Republican Party, life member of the National Rifle Association and she’s active in Chamiza CowBelles. She brought the New Mexico Beef Council’s Kids, Kows and More program to Sierra County and is hosting an Ag Day at the Petersen Ranch this year.


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