Over at the corporate web site and elsewhere, Monsanto today announced the five regional finalists for the Farm Mom contest and instructions for voting for the one national winner, to be announced around Mother’s Day. The five regional finalists are:
· Erika Forsbach, Savannah, Tennessee.
· Carol Cowan of Watonga, Oklahoma.
· Sue Roohr, Cookstown, New Jersey.
· Caroline Luiz of Yreka, California.
· Cheryl Day of Cerro Gordo, Illinois.
You can read the details about them at monsanto.com.
I wasn’t involved in the judging of entries; the American Agri-Women had a team that helped with that. But I’ve gotten to do one of the things the AAW got to do: read the entries for the five finalists.
And the other 732 entries that were submitted.
It’s emotionally overwhelming to read these, to read what people have said about their wives, mothers, stepmothers, daughters, sisters and friends. And it’s easy to see the love, admiration, respect and thankfulness that come pouring out of the entries.
And you see other things, too, things that speak to agriculture in general and the people who are American agriculture in particular. Reading about these 737 women is reading about the values and beliefs that make America what it is.
You read about determination, the determination that keeps farmers coming back to their fields in spite of weather, the economy, commodity prices, input costs, changes in government policies, and criticisms and opposition from people who’ve never set foot on a farm.
You read about business smarts. To succeed in agriculture, you have to be smart, savvy and knowledgeable about a lot of stuff. These 737 women know how to do bookkeeping, drive a tractor, raise children, chase cows off the road, make resource choices, identify electronic equipment like which GPS to buy, manage veterinary visits, keep track of commodity markets and pricing, read the Wall Street Journal and Business Week and Farm Journal and follow them online, too, and then make sense of it all to run a farming operation.
You read about community. These women give of themselves. They give their time and their money. They’re involved in local FFA and 4-H chapters with their children and often long after their children are out of school. They volunteer in their churches and their local food banks, schools and farm organizations. They’re politically active, socially active, and they fight for their communities, and they fight to do what’s right.
You read about a love for the land. They care about their land. They think of themselves as stewards of the land. It’s there to be used to grow food and fiber – but it’s also there to be passed on intact to the next generation.
And you read about compassion and love. These farm moms race for the cure, they care for sick family members and friends, they encourage, they get their shoulders cried on, they teach. And whatever else you do, you better not mess with their families.
With the Farm Mom program, we wanted to do something to recognize the contributions made by farm moms across the United States.
And instead we got blessed by 737 songs of admiration and love.
Be sure to vote for your favorite American farm mom.