A few years ago, Melissa Nelson started Hungry Canyon Design — a company that creates “agriculturally accurate farm greeting cards and gifts for those who live and breathe the farm and ranch." The business has experienced steady growth.
During that time, her family has grown, too, and she and her husband, Mark, now have two sons.
Inspired by their little ones, Nelson has expanded Hungry Canyon by launching a product line for kids called Wait for Me.
She hopes that the collection, which includes bright-colored sweatshirts and T-shirts, as well as equipment stickers, helps consumers think about kids' farm safety.
“I thought what better way to keep our kids safe than by dressing them in high-vis clothing,” Nelson says.
The bright clothes make little ones easier to see, so if/when they wander off while outside, the adults can scan and find them quickly since they’re dressed in glowing yellow or orange.
Nelson chose the phrase “wait for me” because that’s what her two boys often call out when they’re going out into the field to help work with the cattle or ride in the tractor.
“Wait for me, daddy!” or “Mom, wait for me!”
The thought was that since kiddos want the adults to wait for them, the adults should in turn take a second to check where the little ones are at and operate their equipment as if kids are always present.
Proceeds to charity
This past spring, Nelson’s community faced a tragedy, when an 8-year-old died in a farming accident. That’s when she decided that proceeds from the Wait for Me collection would go to families whose children have been killed or injured in a farm-related incident. She hopes the line will educate people about how to operate safely on the farm.
The local print and embroidery shop that Nelson uses for all her apparel, Wall of Fame in Sioux City, even prints the clothing at a discounted rate to help the cause.
“We all practice farm safety in one way or another, but this is just a way that I could use my audience to promote that even more and hopefully make a difference somewhere, for somebody,” Nelson says. “Everything we do isn’t a cure-all, but it’s something that we can do to help.”
A great response
So far, the response to the collection has been great, with many people reaching out to Hungry Canyon saying they’d like to support by purchasing items.
The stickers that are part of the Wait for Me line serve to remind operators of farm equipment that there might be young ones around and to double check their surroundings. Nelson partnered with Carousel Design of New York to create the stickers — a graphic designer with a shared passion for the livestock industry.
Nelson and her family live near Correctionville in northwest Iowa on the edge of the Loess Hills in the Hungry Canyon Watershed. They grow corn, soybeans and have an Angus-Hereford commercial cow herd known as Hungry Canyon Cattle Company.
Moving forward, Nelson hopes to continue to expand her side hustle design business even though she still has a full-time job and busy family life as well.
“It’s just a fun thing that fits into all the other hats that I wear,” she says.
Giardino is a freelance writer from Polk City.