Meet Emily Odom

women in business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Today not only do I get to share my interview with one of my favorite people ever. But I also get to share about the farm that has become like a second home to me. I can’t wait for you to meet Emily Odom from Odom Farming Company. You might remember the piece I wrote about her or that she often guest posts on the blog. Just a quick reminder that you can see all the profiles here.

Meet Emily Odom Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Tell me a little bit about you.

I’m Emily Odom, owner of Odom Farming Company. I was born and raised in a farming family in Goldsboro, NC. I went to East Carolina and got a degree in history, then came home and married a farmer. Together we started our farm and had 2 children, James who’s 11 and Reese who’s 7. When I’m not busy running the farm or shuffling kids around, I volunteer with community groups trying to educate the public about farming.

Tell me about your business

Odom Farming Company is an agritourism farm located just outside of Goldsboro, NC. We have you-pick strawberries in the spring, sunflower fields in the summer, a corn maze and pumpkin patch in the fall, as well as events throughout the year. We have field trips and tours all year. We’re currently in the process of putting in a fruit orchard and event shelter.

What struggles have you faced in your business?

We’ve had so many struggles. Learning how to comply with regulations, how to run a business, how to run a farm, how to just do this thing we were doing. We’ve had pieces of our business fail. We’ve had to deal with negative reviews and just all the things that come with selling to the public. We’ve had injuries on the farm, equipment failures, and natural disasters that have crippled us. You name it, we’ve probably had to deal with it, and I’m sure we’re not finished yet.

How have you overcome those struggles?

We are still on our journey and still have struggles daily. The only way we get through them is having faith in our vision, faith in our family, and perseverance. The only way is through and eventually, you’ll come out on the other side and it will make you stronger for having to walk that path. 

Who were your mentors growing up?

My grandmama and mama were my biggest role models. I spent so much time with my grandparents when I was little and they taught me so much that I value so highly now. My mama taught me perseverance. Watching her navigate her struggles to have come out on the other side has taught me if you be patient and keep walking eventually you’ll get there.

If you were to give advice to a woman going into the field you are in what would it be?

My advice would be to focus and have a clear vision, and then don’t let anyone sway you from it. Try not to lose sight of the forest because of the trees. Find a positive headspace you can go to when you are overwhelmed and let yourself breathe and reset. 

Have you found that being a woman in your field is harder or easier? Tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman

Being a woman has really been a double-sided coin. On the one hand, there are programs I can take advantage of or get a leg up on because I’m a woman farmer. But I’ve also been discounted and underestimated because I am a woman. People think I’m just a farmer’s wife, they don’t understand that I put as much into it if not more at times than he does. I’ve called to get information or get something done and then had my husband called for the same thing after I got the runaround and they respond completely different.

Have you ever have to overcome a hostile work environment? 

I’ve had jobs I hated and had to deal with catty co-workers. I just kept my head down and got the job done. Now I’m in charge of the work environment which is a different situation. Luckily I’ve managed to have pretty good employees who pull together to get the job done when it’s needed. The most hostile situation I have to deal with now is a hungry cow.

What made you decide on your chosen field? 

Farming really fell into my lap. It wasn’t what I wanted to be growing up and even after college, it was the furthest thing from my mind. I was laid off during the 2008 recession at the same time my husband was farming more on his own. He’d always wanted to do some kind of direct market farming, and I was having a hard time finding a job. It just seemed like everything aligned and I found myself running a strawberry stand. Then we were able to buy his family farm and suddenly I had a corn maze. Even though it’s not what I planned to do growing up, I find that I love it now. It’s meditative to go out and work with my hands in the dirt. I love making a vision come together. I’ve enjoyed building this business and watching it grow. When I see the joy on a kid’s face when they see the animals or walk through the sunflowers I know I’m doing something meaningful and that means the world to me.

Anything else you would care to share. 

You’re going to have struggles and moments of doubt and you’re going to make mistakes and have horrible days, just try to give yourself grace through all of that. It’s okay. We are all human.

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  1. That was an awesome read. My family were members at Providence and I loved Mrs Doris and your Mom Lollie!! Tee was my son and I also knew your Katie! So happy for you.

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