Stroh connects heritage to ag
Powell – While Wyoming hasn’t always been her home, farming runs deep in Klodette Stroh’s blood.
“I was raised as an Assyrian in Tehran, the capital of Iran, where I learned to speak Aramaic, Persian, Hebrew and Turkish,” Stroh says. “The Assyrians are known as the nations of Mesopotamia, or the cradle of civilization. They farmed along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. I was raised with great respect for the land and the farmers who till God’s land to grow food to feed his people.”
Stroh also notes that the Assyrians are Christian Catholics and says her faith is a big part of her life.
“Raised as Christian Catholic, I take my faith in God very seriously, as does my husband Rick, whom I met while attending Northwest College in Powell,” she explains. “I consider myself as an instrument in God’s hands to serve Him and His people to do His will.”
Farming in the Basin
After meeting Rick, Stroh was immersed back into agriculture.
“Rick was raised on a farm near Powell,” she says. “His father, Reuben Stroh, moved from his childhood home in Colorado to Powell in the 1940s and began his career in agriculture.”
Rick was raised working alongside his father on farms around Powell.
“When we got married, I set aside my dream of becoming a doctor,” says Stroh. “Rick’s dream was being able to operate his own farm, and in 1989, with God’s blessing, our dream of operating our own farm became possible.”
The Stroh family raises beans, malt barley, corn and hay, which is fed to their Black Angus cattle.
“Each member of the family works on the family farm,” she continues. “I take care of the budget and much of the office work. Rick Jr. and our nephew Paul help with our farming.”
“Paul and Rick Jr. are Rick’s right-hand men, and it is such a blessing to have the strong relationship,” Stroh notes.
The Wyoming Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta honored the Strohs in 2009 as the outstanding agriculturalists of year.
After years of farming in Wyoming, Stroh says she began to look at U.S. agriculture as compared to that of foreign countries.
“I realized U.S. agriculture and farmers have built a strong foundation for this country,” she comments. “I got involved and began asking questions of our representatives in Congress about the industry.”
When Stroh began to see unstable commodity prices and government regulations beginning to impact agriculture more, she wrote letters to United States lawmakers.
“Farmers and ranchers spend money 364 days a year and have only one payday, if everything goes right,” Stroh says. “As my interest in agriculture policy grew, I joined and became active in the Wyoming Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) organization.”
Within WIFE, Stroh represents the sugar and corn sweetener producers as the National Sugar Chairman.
Stroh recalls, “I travelled to Washington, D.C. for the 1996 Farm Bill to testify and meet with Dan Glickman, who was the secretary of Agriculture, and Kika de la Garza, who was the ranking chairman for the House Agriculture Committee.”
Stroh’s involvement in WIFE continues today, as she continually advocates for the agriculture industry in Powell, throughout Wyoming and across the nation.
From there, Stroh continued her involvement by serving as the Shoshone Irrigation District Water Commissioner in 1997.
“The Shoshone Irrigation District Board appointed me to represent them on the Joint Power Board,” she says. “I worked with a $15 million budget for the rehabilitation and betterment of the 97,000 acres of land with water rights.”
She also represented Park and Big Horn Counties water users as part of the board for Wyoming Water Development.
“I love to learn, and I make sure I do my homework,” Stroh says. “Water law has a language of its own, and I know the federal and state water laws by heart.”
Just this year, Stroh was elected to serve as a member of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) board in Powell.
“The FSA office is the official communicator between local farmers, landowners and the USDA,” she says, emphasizing the importance of the agency.
She continues, “It is also an honor for me to serve Wyoming’s Senator Mike Enzi as his agriculture advisor.”
Continuing in ag
“It is truly humbling and a great honor to serve on all of these boards and represent the farmers of my state and nation,” Stroh says. “This is my mission, and I take it very seriously.”
Stroh works for hours on end each year to research, study and prepare for every meeting and presentation she makes at the state, local and national level.
“It takes hours of research to prepare,” she comments, “but my speeches and presentations make an impact on decision makers and educates them about important issues facing the minority group of our country – farmers.”
Women Involved in Farm Economics
Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) is a non-profit agricultural organization that started in Sidney, Neb. in December 1976.
The grassroots organization is open to anyone involved or interested in agriculture.
WIFE is an independent entity that is policy-oriented, non-partisan and is dedicated to improving profitability in production agriculture though educational, legislative, communicative and cooperative efforts.
“WIFE will continue to work as a catalyst to bring about cooperation between farm organizations,” says the organization.