Even though I grew up going to my grandparents’ farm in Arkansas multiple times a year and watched my grandmother manage a large garden, the chickens, and the myriad chores a farmer’s wife is responsible for, neither my father or any of his three brothers wanted the farm. So my familial connection to farming was nothing compared to many of the women in attendance. There were fourth generation farming families there and I still owe a follow-up visit to interview some of the high school girls who are members of the Future Farmers of America. The woman who was being honored was intriguing because even though her parents had established a farm specializing in tropical fruits and vegetables, she had gone into banking. She was quite successful and while she was not active in the farm, she was active as an advocate for agricultural issues. After her father passed away, she began to help more with the farm and when her mother passed away, she left banking and immersed herself in continuing the legacy they had built. She not only took over the existing farm, but also expanded into the organic egg business. Her farm was recently recognized as being the first in Florida to have the highest rating possible given by the Cornucopia Institute for Authentic Organic Egg Production. Oh, while she was doing all of that, she was also elected to be the President of the Dade County Farm Bureau.
There were multiple speakers who presented different plaques and proclamations, and yet when the time came for the woman to speak, her message was succint. She thanked everyone, said she was overwhelmed with their kind words, and wanted to say that everyone helped inspire her passion for the land and agriculture. In the few minutes that I was alone with her, there was no doubt of her sincerity. It was an engaging time listening to all these women (there were a few men present) talking about agriculture. I enjoyed myself and it reminded me of the diverse professions that women can excel in.