Growing up on her family’s wheat farm in Montana, Kate Stephens ’26 was not always interested in farming. Even though she was surrounded by a family of farmers, it was not until her grandfather asked her to drive the combine harvester for the first time when she was 14 years old that she fell in love with harvesting.
“I realized I had the passion for agriculture and that there was just something about farming on the fields that my great-grandfather once did,” Stephens said. “[It] was quite empowering for me to see the evolution of technology and also that I’m a woman being able to drive a combine [because] that never would have happened in that day and time.”
Stephens is a fourth-generation farmer who has learned the ins and outs of the wheat industry. But consumers often take for granted the incredible journey that their food and fashion products undergo before reaching their tables and closets, Stephens told The Sun.
To bridge this gap, Stephens created her YouTube channel, Kate’s Ag – Farm to Fashion to educate the population on wheat harvests and what goes on at her family’s farm, which has accumulated 114,000 subscribers. On the channel, Stephens interviews local farmers and promotes their products free of charge.
Stephens said that she creates content about farming that aims to be enjoyable to watch, while also serving as an educational resource to learn about the families that produce their food and products.
“Not everybody’s going to watch a video about how their food is produced, so maybe there’s some other way that I can take kind of a mainstream thing that everybody loves and connect it back to the farm,” Stephens said.
The farmers who toil in the fields, the seasons that dictate their yields and the agricultural innovations shaping consumers’ food and clothing supplies are often invisible threads in the fabric of their daily lives, Stephens said.
“Even if you don’t come from a generational farm, agriculture is connected to so many industries, whether it’s marketing, through AI design, there’s some way you can be involved either locally or internationally,” Stephens said. “I wanted to kind of do more outreach, education [and] support youth a little bit in that way.”
Stephens said that she not only wants to bridge the gap between consumers and farmers, but she intends to promote women in the agricultural industry.
“I hope to continue promoting women, especially young women in agriculture, because it’s definitely a male-dominated industry.”
In her process of making this male-dominated field more inclusive, Stephens has collaborated with the National Farmers Union and Duckworth, the world’s only clothing company that is source-verified with 100 percent Montana-grown Merino Wool. She hopes to continue to promote diversity in agriculture and is set to speak at the National Farmers Union Women’s Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico later this year.
Stephens’ efforts to bridge farmers and consumers also expands to her involvement in the fashion industry, where she aims to connect customers with the farmers who have a hand in producing their clothing.
At 15 years old, Stephens designed her own fashion brand, Kate’s Ag: Farm to Fashion, with a mission to connect consumers to farmers and educate them on the process of farming, the families who produce the products and how everything starts from the ground. She currently is selling 100 percent cotton tote bags and t-shirts that can be purchased on her brand website.
At 17 years old, Stephens also launched her luxury handbag line, Kate Stephens, with a touch of agricultural elements to connect people with the origins of their products. The handbags are made of leather, but the body of the bags are crafted with cowhide. They are stitched with a unique metal combine harvest tractor as a reminder of family farms.
Stephens is currently working on designing more products for her Farm to Fashion brand while maintaining her media platform.
“Everything starts on the farm — all of your natural fashion products — and agriculture can be connected to almost everything in every industry,” Stephens said.