Pam Helm splits her time between her veterinary practice and her busy family farm

No one will argue with the old adage, “that a woman’s work is never done,” but then factor in the multi-faceted accomplishments of women in agriculture and one will soon understand that women have decidedly impacted the nation’s diverse agricultural endeavors for generations. And the same can be said of Southwest Missouri veterinarian, Pam Helm.

Pam hails from the small North Central Iowa farming community of Algona, where she grew up on a farrow-to-finish hog farm, as well as acres of corn and soybeans. There was not a farm task that she did not attempt: from caring for livestock, driving tractors to bucking square hay bales.

“You couldn’t pay me enough to stay in the house,” Pam admitted. “Everything I did, I learned from example on my parents’ farm.”

Pam graduated in 2006 from Iowa State University, one of only 30 colleges in the nation to offer certified veterinary medicine degrees, and soon afterward married Newton County, Mo., native, Maxwell Helm. The couple have two daughters, Elizabeth, age 9, and Audrey, age 7, both are heavily involved in the family farming ventures.

Nevertheless, Pam’s roots into Missouri agriculture have quickly acclimated to the Newton County, Mo., locale thanks to the rich history of Maxwell’s family, tracing its roots back to the late 1860s through the Lankford name. In fact, Maxwell’s parents and grandparents are a mile and a half from their own immaculate 80-acre farmstead just west of the old family cemetery on Highway DD.

Pam’s first clinic was in Anderson, Mo., at the Anderson Animal Hospital. In 2010, she began working at Main Street Pet Care, working four days a week specializing in small animal and exotic animal care. Additionally, she does shifts at the Emergency Pet Center of the 4 States and has her own mobile emergency vet service. She often can be found assisting ranchers with herd issues, pulling a late-night calf or serving as the Newton County Fair veterinarian.

“As long as I can remember I have wanted to be a vet,” she admitted with a grin.

The couple’s home sits just north of the McDonald County/Newton County line, in fact, their previous home was a mile and half south in McDonald County, where in 2015 they were recognized as the 2015 McDonald County Farm Family of the Year by Missouri Extension and Farm Bureau for their farming enterprise.

You could say, “They are as busy as bees” with more 115 bee hives and a 56 head Limousin and Red Angus cross cow/calf operation supported by two bulls. One endearing aspect of their cattle operation is that it started with Maxwell’s 4-H heifers. In fact, they just lost his 25-year-old cow, but they still have several of her daughters and granddaughters in their herd.

The bee operation began with Maxwell’s desire to improve pollination in the area. He bought a couple hives from a gentleman who was retiring, and they quickly joined the Southwest Missouri Beekeepers Association to learn the necessary skills required for the apicultural industry. He is employed by Missouri Walnut out of Neosho, Mo., and travels the region as a log buyer.

Today the couple’s bee business has grown significantly and now features products crafted by Pam, including bee’s wax lip balm, goat milk and honey soap, not to mention flavored creamed honey and regular honey. The products can be found on their Helm Family Farms Facebook page.

They participate in the Missouri Grown program and Agri-Missouri program, which support local growers by giving them more exposure on a larger venue.

Pam, like so many farm and ranch women, knows there is no kicking off your shoes when hitting the door at home. Those shoes are likely to be exchanged for muck boots to help doctor their own herd, grabbing a hoe for their large garden and then canning the produce or jumping in the truck to attend their daughters 4-H event or softball game.

For relaxation, Pam quilts, knits, crochets, cans produce and, according to her family, she is quite a cook. Elizabeth has taken up her mother’s passion for quilting; earning the opportunity to show her quilt entry at last year’s Missouri State Fair.

Pam is also active in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Seneca, as the bookkeeper.

When asked if she hopes their daughters will continue in the ag tradition, Pam was optimistic.

“I hope so,” she said. “They jump right in to help work cattle, have their own bee suits to help with the bee hives and help with harvest.”

The girls are well on their way to being ag women in their right. Both participate in 4-H, although Audrey is in Clover Kids, she tags around with older sister Elizabeth who shows Boer goats and has been selected for the Gold Buckle Gala in the upcoming Ozark Empire Fair event in July.

Pam’s deep love of farming, solid work ethic and commitment to home and family stands as a testament and model for all current and future women of agriculture in Missouri.


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