Valerie Ansell serves counties in District 5 on the Florida Farm Bureau State Women’s Committee. The fourth generation Floridian was born in Tampa but lived most of her life in Pasco County with her parents and brother on their family farm.
Growing up, her parents had a small cow/calf operation as well as citrus. She was active in 4-H and FFA and spent many childhood years showing dairy heifers.
An opportunity prompted Ansell to move to Duval County with her three sons, Tyler, Thomas and Timothy where she resided for over 20 years.
While there, she served as the District 3 Chair on the State Women’s Committee as well as a member of the Duval County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.
“I was a 4-H leader for many years and all of my boys grew up in 4-H,” she said. “I am a big supporter of 4-H, youth development and teaching kids about agriculture. It is reassuring to see agriculture’s future is in their hands and that they look at in a good way.”
With her children grown, Ansell made the decision to return home where she currently resides in Hernando County, just down the road from her parents in neighboring Pasco County.
“The decision to move from Duval County to Hernando County was very difficult for me,” she said. “My sons are now grown and I felt like it was time to come home.” She starts her day with a glass of Florida orange juice before running out to care for her goats and chickens.
In her spare time, Ansell enjoys creating and loves DIY projects, gardening, restoring her 1964 Ford truck and spending time with her beloved Rhodesian ridgeback, Toby.
Throughout the year, Ansell works from home creating farm-hand exhibits for the Florida State Fair in February and she is in charge of putting together the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture/Art and Math) tent at the Hillsborough County Fair in October.
Ansell has been a strong supporter and active member of Farm Bureau for many years and has made many life-long friends. Her advice to women is, “Once you come, you will love the friendship and the support of other women involved in agriculture.”
“Farm Bureau folks are some of the most dependable and reliable people there are and I have learned so much from them,” she said.
Ansell is known for her work in the Duval County Food Check-Out Week (FCOW) Program where she helped promote and organize FCOW events for more than 20 years.
“I also really enjoy County Youth Speech Contests, the State Women’s Conference, Farm Bureau Days in Tallahassee and AFBF’s Women’s Boot Camp,” Ansell mentioned.
Her family’s newest venture is an agritourism event, Jimmy Mc’s, affectionately named after her father and scheduled to open at the end of September. “Jimmy Mc’s will be held at our family farm and we will be open on the weekends in the fall and spring,” she said.
“We have planted gourds and zinnias for the fall and encourage families to bring a picnic and come out and enjoy the farm.” Kid’s crafts, life-size outdoor games, a maze and a small livestock petting zoo will also be available.
The mother of three has devoted her life to her children and her community and would love for her family to remember her passion for them, her friends and agriculture.
Ansell loves brussels sprouts and one of her favorite go-to meals is grilled cheese sandwich. “Every time I am visiting the Farm Bureau State Office Cafeteria I always get a grilled cheese sandwich,” she said happily. “It’s my all-time favorite.”