(December 21, 1957 - )
Alumnae Peggy Sue Armstrong-Gustafson was the first woman to excel in Future Farmers of America, holding several positions in the previously all-male group.
Peggy Sue Armstrong made history as a student in high school. As a freshman, she became the first woman to win the gold medal championship in the annual state creed-speaking contest conducted by the Iowa Future Farmers of America (FFA). Within a year she was the first woman elected to a regional FFA office, where she was picked up as a district reporter. This trend continued until 1976, when she became the first woman to be elected to the FFA presidency, representing 15,000 members in the state at the age of 19.
Armstrong made a move to be the first woman elected president of the National FFA but settled for vice president of the Midwest region. She was the second woman to become an officer in what had been a strictly all-male organization until federal anti-discrimination laws were enacted in the mid-1960s.
Armstrong was her high school’s valedictorian in 1975 and majored in animal science with a minor in animal nutrition at Iowa State University. She became ISU’s outstanding agricultural graduate in 1981 and would complete a MBA from Drake University in 1990.
During high school and college Armstrong worked in agribusinesses, including farm cooperatives. She became the first woman salesperson for Farmland Industries, Inc. in 1976. After working for Pfizer Animal Health and DeKalb Pfizer Genetics, she joined Pioneer HI-Bred International, Inc., in 1983 as the firm’s product manager for wheat, grand sorghum, alfalfa and sunflower operations.
From there she was promoted to soybean product manager for the western U.S. (1986) and then the U.S. corn marketing director (1988). In 1993 she was named Pioneer’s global marketing director for corn, the first woman to hold that position in the company with the biggest market share of the nation’s seed corn business.
She is the owner and founder of Amson Technology, LLC, based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has received numerous awards for leadership, philanthropy, service and innovation. In addition, she designed and was awarded the first agricultural methodology for carbon offset projects by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.
Philanthropy played an important role in her private and professional lives. For two years, she expanded on her role as an ISU Foundation governor and served as the organization’s interim president. She helped the organization transition from one chief executive officer to another. Examples of her philanthropy include a Legacy of Heroines scholarship in the Catt Center for Women and Politics to supporting the arts to assisting Cyclone athletics.
Amson Technology. http://amsontechnology.com/