Celebrating Diversity in Ag: Meet Liz Graznak

With diversity in agriculture, Liz Graznak checks a lot of boxes. Liz is a female entrepreneur and agricultural producer that did not originate from a farming family. She has spent the past 12 years building Happy Hollow Farm, a successful USDA-certified organic farm from the ground up in Central Missouri in Moniteau County. She gives props to her wife Katie who has supported this dream from the beginning. Liz runs the day-to-day farming operation and business while Katie works off-farm as an occupational therapist while also managing the day-to-day for their two young children.Happy Hollow Farm produces vegetables & flowers. Liz’s farm has 11 acres in cultivation with over 100 different varieties and employs four full-time and four part-time employees. Her produce is a favorite at the Columbia Farmer’s Market, serving 3000 customers on a typical Saturday. Farmer pride resonates from Liz “I feed thousands from my farm”.

Liz came to farming through an academic opportunity at Cornell University. Coupled with experiences at a Community Supported Agriculture farm in Ithaca, her farm future was cemented. Her parent’s entrepreneurial spirit planted the seed that a 9-5 work-life was not for her. So, after life-changing encounters with farming, Liz came back home to Missouri to buy land, start her farm and her family.

In 2021, The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) named Liz Graznak the MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year. MOSES serves all sizes and types of organic production, including monocultures, dairy, and animal farms. When asked what this award meant to her, Liz said “MOSES is the largest organic education provider in the world of organic farming. It’s where we go to learn, meet thousands of farmers with varying experiences, support each other, and attend a huge trade show with seed vendors and equipment. An award from MOSES is the pinnacle of recognition from my farming community. I am honored, humbled, and in the company of many that have and continue to do amazing things in their farming communities.”

Liz acknowledges the role that financial stress plays in mental health and farm stress. “For the first 11 years, I put everything I made back into my farm.” Liz states “The financial stress is the same across all farming production sizes. Whether you have a loan in the millions or a $300,000 loan, mental stress and the impact on your family related to the risk of losing your farm is the same.” What does her future hold? The same as all farmers: “Building my farm, increasing sales, becoming more efficient & profitable.”  

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