For hundreds of years, women have been a key pillar of the agriculture industry, accounting for one-third of the country’s farmers according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
While not always thought of in a traditional “farmer” role, women make an impact in the industry and in helping feed the rapidly growing global population. These “farm moms” play vital and integral roles on the farm, with their families and in their communities.
Susan Brocksmith — named the 2017 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year, sponsored by Monsanto — has been involved in supporting Helping His Hands and both the North Knox and South Knox County FFA chapters for many years, and while she finds the experience incredibly rewarding, she also recognizes juggling these responsibilities on top of work and family can be difficult. She offers these tips to other women who are looking for simple ways to get involved in their communities:
Start small. It’s easy to want to take on a lot of responsibilities to help nonprofit organizations in your community, but starting small can help prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. Start by looking for small volunteer opportunities, such as volunteering to staff a local event, and then look for opportunities to take on a larger role.
Involve the whole family. Volunteering should be a family affair. Bringing the kids along not only allows you to spend time with them, but also sets the example that giving back is an important responsibility for all.
Find an impactful cause. Everyone brings a unique set of skills and perspectives to the table. Find an opportunity that fits you and values your contributions.
“I am humbled and blessed to be named the 2017 America’s Farmers Mom of Year,” Brocksmith said. “I was raised on a family farm and was able to raise my daughters on our family farm. I have strived to instill the core values of faith, family and agriculture into my daughters, as well as my college students. Thanks to the support I received from family, friends and the community, I was able to receive this award. This outpouring of support proves anything is possible. Thank you Monsanto for providing this outreach opportunity.”
Brocksmith’s America’s Farmers Mom of the Year award, which honors the significant contributions women make on their farms and in their families, communities and beyond, gifted $4,000 to be divided among the three organizations she is involved with Helping His Hands is a disaster relief organization and local food pantry. Both North Knox FFA and South Knox FFA are long-standing chapters that make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
“Farm moms like Susan are not only respected leaders in the agriculture industry, but also a critical part of the ecosystem that supports rural communities across America,” said Jessica Lane Rommel, Monsanto business communications manager. “We’re excited to celebrate Susan and all of the women who play such a vital role in rural communities.”
Since the program began in 2010, America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program has recognized 40 individuals for their roles in American farms, families, rural communities and the agriculture industry. To learn more about the program, visit AmericasFarmers.com.