KFB Candid Conversation with Terry Gilbert | Winner of the American Farm Bureau Federation's Founders Award - Kentucky Farm Bureau

KFB Candid Conversation with Terry Gilbert | Winner of the American Farm Bureau Federation's Founders Award

Posted on Mar 15, 2022
Terry Gilbert of Boyle County is the most recent recipient of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Founders Award

KFB Candid Conversation presents a discussion about the topical issues related to KFB priorities, the agricultural industry, and rural communities, in a question and answer format. In this column, Boyle County’s Terry Gilbert discusses her many roles at all levels of the organization as well as being the most recent recipient of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Founders Award. Gilbert began her Farm Bureau leadership in 1980, as a member of that county’s Women’s Committee, later serving as secretary of her county Farm Bureau board of directors for 16 years starting in 2004. She went on to serve as a member of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Women’s Advisory Committee from 1985-2015 and chaired the KFB Women’s Committee from 1993-1995. She served on the KFB board of directors from 1993-2015 and on the KFB Insurance board from 2001-2015. On the national level, she was a member of AFBF’s Rural Health & Safety Committee from 1990-1992 and chaired AFBF’s Women’s Leadership Committee from 2001-2015, representing the WLC on the AFBF board of directors during that time.

Congratulations on the Founders Award. How did you learn of the honor and what was your initial reaction?

I learned about the award in a Zoom call from Zippy Duval, AFBF President, and with Isabella Chism, Chair of the AFB Women’s Committee, and Mark Haney, President of Kentucky Farm Bureau. I was very surprised and so thrilled! I learned that the AFBF Women’s Committee had nominated me and I appreciate them so much!

For our readers who may not know about your family farming operation, would you share a little about it?

Our family backgrounds feeder cattle. We buy weaned calves and keep them until they weigh 650-750 pounds and then they are sold in tractor trailer loads to feedlots to finish for beef harvest. We farm with our son and son-in-law and we own and lease land that the calves graze.

Going back to the beginning of your involvement in KFB, when did you first learn about the organization and did you ever think you would serve at so many levels?

Bennie and I became members of Farm Bureau when we first married. He was asked to be on our county board and a couple of years later I was asked to be the county women’s committee chair. I never dreamed I would end up being so involved in Farm Bureau. I was fortunate to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they came along.

Was there anything specific that prompted or encouraged you to become involved in your leadership roles with Farm Bureau?

As I learned more about Farm Bureau, I realized what a great organization it is, and that prompted me to become more involved. I don’t think it was any one thing that prompted me to become more involved, but several things! I liked that the meetings started with prayer and the pledge of allegiance, I liked and respected the other people that were involved in Farm Bureau and I saw the relevance of what Farm Bureau stood for and what they did for agriculture and farmers.

What significant changes have you seen in the agriculture industry over the years and how instrumental have the state women’s committees been to Farm Bureau throughout that time period?

I have seen more women become involved in Farm Bureau and agriculture as a whole. There are more women who are owners/operators of farms and more women involved in value added marketing of farm products. Farm Bureau has helped many women become better advocates for agriculture by getting them involved in agriculture in the classroom activities, by helping them reach out to consumers and telling the agriculture story and by helping them make contacts with their elected officials and also by teaching and training women to be better leaders. There are opportunities at every women’s conference or meeting to learn from speakers and other women on the best ways to do anything from Parliamentary procedure, running a meeting, using social media, public speaking and being a spokesperson for agriculture every day and everywhere they go.

What do you tell young farmers about the agriculture industry, and about Farm Bureau?

I would tell them to pay attention to the things you can control and keep yourself educated and informed about all the things you can’t control. Things like market prices and trends and weather.  Farm Bureau is an organization that can help them do that. It is also a good opportunity to meet other farmers that deal with the same issues that they deal with every day. It can help them feel less alone and offer them support.

What advice would you give them?

I would tell them to find experienced and successful farmers and leaders and try to learn as much as they can from them. Bennie and I were fortunate to have learned lots from his Dad and from other farmers in our area. Bennie keeps up with cattle markets every day and has records that go back many years and that help us make decisions in our own farming operations.

What is next for you in Farm Bureau and on the farm?

I have become more involved in my county Farm Bureau and enjoy doing the programs we take part in here at home. Bennie is beginning to slow down a little and giving our kids more responsibility in the running of our farms. We want to take things a little easier and maybe travel a little more for pleasure!