Farm Progress

Emily interviewed me! Anything you've ever wondered: the doctor I didn't become, the grief that's shaped my life, and when it's best not to overthink.

Holly Spangler 1, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

October 7, 2016

1 Min Read

Well friends, the interviewer became the interviewee this week. I can't lie; I was a little nervous.

But Emily is a rockstar interviewer. We talked about everything from what it was like to go from living with 55 women to 1 man, to how my grand career plans took a sharp and marked detour. She asked how I recharged and we talked about creating - and being creative. 

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And for the life of me, I could not have been more surprised when she asked about my mother, and how crazy is that? Why wouldn’t I have guessed she might ask about Mom?! So please pardon my stunned silence for a second there, because it really is good to talk about the real and the hard things in our life, and what it all means as we use our grief to serve others and help them down their road.

But I promise it's not all that heavy! We did some rapid fire and a confession: we don't own a coffee pot. 

Plus, my thoughts on not becoming a doctor: "Do you want your life in my hands?" which led to another QOTD from Emily: "I'd rather you write my story than take care of my spleen!" Amen, sister.

And as always, we're talking food, family and farming. Give it a listen! 

P.S. That living-with-55-women thing? That was at 4-H House, and I highly recommend it. Check them out!

P.S.S. We're on Twitter and Instagram, too! Twitter: @emily_webel and @hollyspangler. Instagram: @emilywebel and @hspangler. (Instagram is my favorite!)

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler 1

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer


Holly Spangler has covered agriculture for the past 18 years, beginning her career with Prairie Farmer before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications. As editor of Prairie Farmer magazine, she brings meaningful production agriculture experience to the topics she covers, including a variety of production, management and issue-oriented stories. She also offers up her generation's take on the issues of the day through her monthly column and blog, My Generation.


An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is a member and past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. She was named Master Writer in 2005 and in 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association and MidAmerica Croplife Association. Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the 2011 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the College of ACES Alumni Board, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth.

She graduated in 1998 from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications, and received the Warren K. Wessels Award for outstanding senior in the College of ACES. Immediately following graduation, she was a founding member of the U of I Ag Communications Alumni Leadership Council, and in 2011, the College of ACES named her an Outstanding Young Alumni.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and cattle on 2,000 acres. Their operation includes 100 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John's parents, and their three children, Jenna, Nathan and Caroline.

Holly is also active in the Illinois Farm Families program, and shares the story of agriculture and communications with a variety of groups and organizations, both within and outside of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations, receiving the Illinois Farm Bureau's Young Farmer Achievement Award in 2007.

Locally, Holly and her husband serve with their county's 4-H program, their school district and in their church's youth and music ministries. 

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