Last Thursday, I received a call from Monsanto. A lady told me that I had been nominated and had won the NW Farm Mom of the Year. Wait, what? I hadn’t heard of this before other than an email from someone saying I would be a great candidate. How in the world did I win this? Well, the lady said, I had been nominated and apparently many had written letters on my behalf. I was asked to fly out on Wednesday – yesterday – to St. Louis to meet the 4 other division winners, to receive media training, a photoshoot, and interviews – both national and local.
Wow. I’m sitting on the plane starting to write this now, headed towards one incredible opportunity, and have had little time to reflect on this. Humbled. Honored. Grateful. Excited. Thankful. Nervous! Farm Mom of the Year. I guess what makes me the most excited about this award are the first two words: FARM MOM. Anyone that knows me knows these are my passions.
Farming. I grew up on a grass seed farm. I started driving combine at 12 years old. This isn’t an abnormal story if you grow up in ag. Childhood was simply different for me from a lot of my friends, and I expect that my daughters will be telling the same story eventually. Summers = Harvest. A very simple fact. My family worked hard, and that’s simply all I knew. I’m realizing that our way of life is becoming more and more foreign to those living in the city. Our practices are strange, apparently questionable, and the urban/rural divide is getting larger and larger. What I see is an opportunity for a youngster to learn life skills while working a summer job on a farm and get some cash in the process – the urban dweller see’s it as “child labor.” What I see as respect and value of the farmer and the small business entrepreneur who took a risk, the urbanite see’s as someone who owes the employee a legislated, mandated higher wage, a mandated flexible schedule, and mandatory sick leave. What I see as responsible care-taking of the land through farming, the city-dweller see’s as questionable farming practices and dousing fields with chemicals. What I see as the trucking industry delivering goods to all of us – 75% of Oregon’s freight is delivered by truck – and being very thankful for the truck driver and transportation industry, city-folk see’s that truck only as a polluter. And finally what I see as Oregon being an Agricultural state proudly rooted with traditions of hard work, Portland and Eugene want to become California and adopt all of their rules and regulations.
What happened to the idea that here in America, anyone anywhere can do anything? What happened to work hard and you will succeed? You want my opinion? While our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were working really hard, and keeping their heads down, raising a family, and expecting the lawmakers to be like-minded… well, in simple terms, they were wrong. And, we are now faced with a fight. A battle. The agricultural community is rising up, and I’m proud to be on the front lines.
Mommy-hood. Had to take a breath for this one. My heart swells with pride when talking about my 3 daughters: we lovingly call them Small, Medium and Large – a name penned by their dear Aunt Jen-Jen. My daughters will be contributing members of society. They will be givers, not takers. They will know how to “suck it up cupcake”. They will know how to work hard. These are my goals for their life. And each one is different – just like every crop is different. Our hazelnuts require a different plan than our grass seed. Some crops require constant care, while others require more time and attention during certain times of the year. But, each grow differently, look differently, bloom differently – and each are beautiful in their own right. And they each have their individual and riveting story that will be told in their own time.
Many know, some don’t, that not all of my daughters are biological. Not that it matters, it doesn’t to me, but it is a fact of my life as well as theirs. Just like learning about different crops, I’ve had to learn about what makes each one special. I learned about ADHD and learning disabilities, and a program called HELP that has changed her. I learned about asthma and allergies. I learned about encopresis and how stress affects young children’s bodies. I learned about mental health, coping skills, parenting a child that lost her biological mother. And, throughout all of this – this has made me a better MOM.
Farm. Mom. You literally couldn’t hand-pick a better title for me. I’m incredibly honored and humbled to accept this award, and learn what’s next in store for me. Like I said, I’m headed to St. Louis, and apparently more information to come about the “National Farm Mom of Year.” I’ll be learning more about it. If you want to follow this journey with me, I would be honored.
And if you’d like to vote for me, please do! Click here – one vote per day per email. Truly, I feel like I’ve already won, that just being recognized for my passion is thanks enough. But, any platform I’m given the opportunity to stand on and shout out to the masses how important Oregon’s agriculture is to us all, then I’ll take whatever someone wants to give me!
Note: Voting opens on Friday, April 24th and goes through Wednesday, May 6th. Your email is only used as verification of 1 vote per day per email, and won’t be used in any marketing.