Sheri Glazier, also known as Dirt Road Dietitian, is a registered dietitian working in nutrition and agriculture consulting and communications while also raising her family, and helping run their nationwide direct-to-consumer beef business, on their farm in Oklahoma. Her career path is very unique and has led her to work with the Oklahoma Beef Council, other registered dietitians, interns, students, and more, to work towards closing the gaps between nutrition and agriculture.
During her career, Sheri Glazier has been named the 2019 Oklahoma State University College of Human Sciences – Rising Star Alumni, the 2020 Oklahoma Outstanding Dietitian of the Year, and the 2022 Oklahoma Farm Bureau District 3 Farm and Ranch Family of the Year. Shari was gracious enough to give us insight into her career, how she got into this niche area of the industry, and how someone who is also interested in this type of career can get started.
Of The West: What made you decide to pursue this career and the specificity of it?
Shari Glazier: Health and nutrition have always been of interest to me for much of my life, thanks to my involvement in 4-H. Couple that with a passion for sports and the opportunity to play basketball collegiately – a career field in healthcare was intriguing to me, sans blood and the sorts. Upon retiring from college sports, I landed at Oklahoma State University, completing my BS and MS in nutritional sciences as well as a dietetic internship, which requires 1200 hours of (unpaid) supervised practice, and passed a national board exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Did you always know this is what you wanted to do for a living? If not, what led you to this field?
Absolutely not! I am someone who can find joy in almost anything and it was difficult to really nail it down.
A bit of the lay of the land for me, I grew up on a multi-generational wheat and stocker cattle farm, so agriculture has always been a core piece of who I am, and something that I always wanted to stay connected to. Realistically though, what did that look like for me long term? I had no idea. So I took the sports route through college and completed an Associate of Science in business administration because when someone isn’t really sure what they want to do that seemed like a smart idea, business skills are never a bad idea.
Then I transferred to a 4-year university, where the medical field caught my interest. I took a few chemistry classes and microbiology and the sorts, and that is when things started to fall into place. Fast forward a year, I retired from basketball, started working in hospital kitchens to get some experience within a hospital – BS degree, then MS degree – all nutritional sciences, dietetic internship, passed the board exam, and landed my first job as a clinical dietitian at a large metropolitan hospital system.
When My Career Started to Take Shape
Life was really starting to take shape! I had gotten married, interestingly enough into another family with a multi-generational agriculture history, and that continued connection to agriculture kept me grounded. As children made their arrival into our family, professional work life continued to shift. I had taken an outpatient dietitian role, and then eventually transitioned to rural hospitals, much closer to home (I had been commuting 65 miles twice a day).
Where I’m At Today
More continued to unfold as the Oklahoma Beef Council was looking for a consulting dietitian. I was working part-time in hospital systems, and I always wondered how I would more seamlessly be able to connect my nutrition background with my agriculture background and this was definitely the start. My story continues to unfold. With this opportunity, Dirt Road Dietitian, LLC was born. I am presented with unique opportunities that allow me to connect and close missing nutrition and agriculture gaps with students, dietetic interns, registered dietitians, health professionals, the agriculture community, and all grocery shoppers in between.
What did your path look like that helped you become the professional/expert you are today?
Each step has been a building block upon another, and being grounded in agriculture from the very beginning is at the core. For me professionally, it was helpful to start ‘from the ground up’ working in a hospital kitchen and understanding that behind the scenes. I took every opportunity I could to volunteer, network, and ultimately, show up, even when it wasn’t convenient. Building a positive reputation as a student, and intern, was more helpful than I could have ever imagined.
As a registered dietitian, we are required to maintain our registration by completing 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years, which allows for a lot of unique learning. In addition to that, I have found great value in attending education sessions within the agriculture industries to stay current on issues that always seem to bridge to nutrition as well. I was also able to recently complete Cattlemen’s Leadership Academy with the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. The experiential learning, knowledge within the group, and exposure to the different aspects of the beef industry have served me so well, and have made me an even more well-rounded dietitian.
What’s your favorite part of your career?
The variability and seasonality. My life is an interesting mashup of a lot of things that I truly enjoy. Some days I am just home being a mom, cooking, baking, and enjoying the little moments. Other times I am event planning and connecting nutrition students and dietitians to beef community experts, communicating nutrition science, and helping them apply it in the kitchen. On other days, I am working alongside Kyle, my husband, caring for our cows, calves, and stocker cattle. In the summer months, I’m making meals during wheat harvest or operating the combine. And sometimes I am connecting with customers through our direct-to-consumer beef business, managing a website, and figuring out the logistics whether it’s for local delivery or shipping across the US. Do you see where that basic business administration degree has come in helpful?
What is the best way for someone who is interested in a career like yours, to get started?
Connect, network, go find someone who does something that interests you, and see if you can shadow them. In this specific field, the dietitians within agriculture is a very niche space and a lot of opportunity lies ahead. If you’re interested, connect with me!
If you could leave people who want to work in your same field one piece of advice, what would that be?
Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from finding out what could be!
What does the agriculture and western industry mean to you?
Security. Understanding why certain crops are grown in certain areas, and soil types, during certain times of the year. Why cows are needed to graze on pasture and rangeland and understanding why that same land may or may not be suitable for crop production. And yet, thanks to a very intricate food supply chain we can go to almost any grocery store and find absolutely any ingredient we need, without regard for seasonality. That is security. And if it weren’t for those who are at the start, the hands and feet of agriculture, where would we be?
To connect more with Sheri Glazier, you can visit her website, or follow along with her day-to-day on Facebook and Instagram for a fun look into her life and often times a yummy recipe!
To see other Ag + Western Career Spotlights, click here!