Getting to Know Carli Milby's Rural Matters

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If it’s not going to be you, then who? We all have the same 24-hours in the day. It’s up to you to make the impact you want to see.

Carli Milby’s path to an elected member of the Warren County Extension Council starts with a typical starting point on a farm in Lawton, Iowa, and crescendos into a wild path of unpredictability and adventure. 

Milby’s upbringing was on the heels of the 1980s’ farm crisis. She grew up as a 4-H kid, but she knew ag was tough and rarely profitable from watching her parents. She’d spend summers helping around the farm and weekends with her grandparents while her mom and dad worked. Despite growing up around the farm, Milby wanted very little to do with ag in her future career, at this point in time. 

She graduated high school and enrolled at Iowa State University where she would study political science. Prior to graduating, she found out she’d be having a son. 

“My life path has been untraditional, but that’s what’s made me who I am today. I wouldn’t have the outlook I have now before having my kids,” she said.

With an unfinished degree and a new mouth to feed, Milby pivoted her career and joined the workforce where she would work toward a leadership role within a Landus Innovation Connector partner, Nationwide. It was here where her relationship with ag started to take a new shape. 

I knew my ceiling was firm at Nationwide because I didn’t have a degree. I paid my way through the rest of school, and at the same time, my kids found 4-H. It was ultimately my kids who opened my eyes and helped me see how important ag and the ag community was to my upbringing and transitively theirs.

While helping her kids work on their 4-H projects, Carli got more involved in her community—so much so, in fact, that she was asked to run for the Extension Council in Warren County. After being a 4-H leader, being on the lead committee for the Women in Ag group at Nationwide, and demonstrating her grit and tenacity to advance her community, she ran for, was nominated, and won her election to be a new member of the Warren County Extension Council. 

Milby’s traits outline an ideal council member. In her words, the responsibility of a board/council member is someone who provides leadership and guidance to empower employees to grow into confident decision makers. 

Milby Daughers
Carli's twin daughters, Madisyn and Summer, were recipients of the Midwest Heritage Youth Heifer Program

Although she’s only spent a short time as a council member, Milby has already extended the maternity leave of personnel. Upcoming goals for her and her board are making Warren County a more attractive place to work and attract top talent to the rural community.

“My only words for anyone who’s willing to get involved is to just be present in your community in any capacity. Your rural community is whatever you want to make it. Things won’t happen unless you take it upon yourself to make it happen,” she said. 

Carli was brought onto the LANDWERX team during its launch. She organizes Innovation Connector partners and engages with farmers during LANDWERX’s Tech Thursday’s. Carli lives with her significant other, Eric and three children in Indianola. When she isn’t running them to sports and various other activities, you can find her helping her girls with their cows they were awarded from the Midwest Heritage Bred Heifer program or helping them care for their swine they show at the Warren County Fair! 

Running for office or stepping up to a leadership role in your community can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are interested in learning more about public service opportunities, we want to help. Reach out to Elizabeth Burns-Thompson at if you’d like to talk through ways in which Landus can support your journey as a public servant.