Comment Column: Looking Towards a Bright Future TogetherPosted on Dec 10, 2021
When I was elected as Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Second Vice President three years ago, I did not view it just as becoming the first woman to serve in that capacity. I viewed it as an incredible opportunity to further my involvement in an organization I had been a part of for many years.
I was humbled to know that our members who elected me had the faith that I could effectively serve in such an important role for the largest agricultural organization in the state. I felt a huge sense of pride to be on the executive team, a group so well respected both statewide and nationally for their agricultural leadership.
Having grown up on a family farm and now co-owning and operating our farming business, serving as KFB Second Vice President is, in many ways, a continuation of what I have spent my whole life doing.
However, being the first woman to hold this title also made me think of all the mentors I’ve had along the way, both men and women. I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the most dedicated agriculture and government leaders you could imagine.
And because of their dedication to this industry that we all depend on, I learned to be diligent when it came to moving our farming operation forward and advocating for all farm families across this state.
I saw the tireless efforts these people make to ensure Kentucky has a seat at the table when it comes to discussions and actions related to agriculture.
And I wanted to be a part of that while helping to shape our policy and priorities as a member of this organization. I am so proud to be involved in that process, not only as the first woman in this leadership position, but also as a farmer, as an advocate, and as a citizen of this Commonwealth.
Each year, KFB honors many of its members for their active roles on the farm, in their communities, and within this organization. And, yes, many of those honorees are women. This year, during our annual meeting, we recognized Suzanne Cecil White, of Daviess County, as Farm Woman of the Year, a new award that honors the outstanding achievements of a woman actively engaged in production agriculture.
We also recognized a longtime friend and exceptional leader of Farm Bureau at all levels, Terry Gilbert, who will be honored at the upcoming American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention as its Founders Award winner.
Having known and worked with Terry for many years, this is a well-deserved award for someone who has made agriculture advocacy a way of life and continues to make a difference in all her endeavors on the farm and in her leadership roles.
In addition, we named our Advocate of the Year, Joanna Coles, of Warren County, by way of our Generation Bridge program. This group focuses on specific member demographics who are still active in their communities and longing to continue their participation in Farm Bureau initiatives well into the future.
As we celebrate KFB’s yearly accomplishments, it’s also important to honor the many significant contributions made by our women members. They have a substantial role in the success of this organization. They are dedicated, diligent, and committed to the greatest industry in the world, agriculture, and serve as steadfast advocates of the best Farm Bureau in the country.
I’m so happy for all our annual meeting winners and we will recognize them and much more in our February KFB News Annual Meeting edition.
But, at the end of the day, regardless of our gender, we are Farm Bureau members working for the betterment of this state, working for the farm families who feed us all, and looking toward a bright future together as the “Voice of Kentucky Agriculture.”
Sharon Furches, Second Vice President
Kentucky Farm Bureau