Q: How did you get involved in agriculture?
A: I grew up in a strong agricultural county, but our family wasn’t directly involved in production Ag. I joined the FFA in middle school under one condition from my mom: I wasn’t allowed to bring home any animals and “she wasn’t a pig mom.” For the next few years, I competed in every speaking competition offered and began to grow a passion for the industry I now call home. A few incredible FFA advisors encouraged me to follow that passion which led to me studying agricultural communications at the University of Florida and making agriculture not only my passion, but also my profession. I finally convinced my mom she was in fact a “pig mom,” and I raised a hog for the Highlands County Fair my senior year!
Q: What does serving as the first female president for the YF&R Leadership Group mean to you?
A: I am completely humbled and honored that I am serving in this role as the first female president for the YF&R Leadership Group. Just to have been chosen to be a part of the Leadership Group was an accomplishment. I know this is a huge step for the Florida Farm Bureau and I am excited to see what the future holds for women in the organization!
Q: As a new mom, how do you balance work/home/family?
A: I’m not sure that I will ever have a “perfect” balance or really have it all together, but I learned early on that as long as my priorities are straight, things run a lot smoother. If I focus on my ‘why,’ which is my faith and doing what’s best for my family, our household is happier and work is a joy. Right now, that balance may include spending an extra hour playing with Holland and leaving the dishes in the sink or working on a late night client project once I’ve put her to bed and sleep goes on the back burner. Ultimately, I try to focus on what matters most and strive to be my best self for those counting on it!
Q: What are your goals for the group for the next 2 years?
A: As a leadership group collectively, one of our goals is educating today’s youth as well as the general public about the importance of agriculture, and specifically, the important role the industry plays in the state of Florida.
Our local county YF&R committee has played such a large role in my life over the past few years, so one of my goals for our leadership group over our two-year term is to grow the county YF&R involvement. That will include starting new committees across our state and growing membership in existing groups. The future of Florida agriculture is in the YF&R and younger generations, so I think it is vital to the industry that we start growing leaders as soon as we can get them involved!
Q: What’s your favorite hobby?
A: Without a doubt, fishing with my husband and being out on the boat is my favorite hobby. Living just ten minutes from the waters of Boca Grande is such a blessing and we try to get out there as often as possible!
A close second in favorite hobbies would be hosting or hospitality. I have a love for connecting with people and creating a welcoming environment for others brings me a lot of joy.
Q: What advice would you give to a high school student who is thinking about pursuing the agricultural field?
A: I would give nothing but encouragement to any high school student considering pursuing the agricultural field. We are a part of an incredible industry made up of some of the greatest people I know. People will always need to eat and always wear clothes so there will always be a need for agriculture. There is such a vast array of career options within agriculture today and we always need fresh, new minds to help to continue to mold and transform the industry.
Q: What’s your favorite recipe?
A: When it comes to cooking, I always look for something that is quick and easy since I don’t have a lot of time to spend cooking extravagant meals these days.
My favorite and on our weekly meal rotation is Crockpot Chicken Tacos…they are a no-fail, delicious recipe and it’s only three ingredients!
6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Thawed
1 16oz Jar of salsa
1 1oz Envelope Taco Seasoning
Put chicken, salsa and taco seasoning in crockpot. You don’t need to add any water to the seasoning. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork. I typically shred the chicken then cook for about 15-20 more minutes in the juices so it will soak in all the flavors.
For tacos, serve in soft tortillas and add your favorite toppings. The chicken is very versatile and could also be used for enchiladas, nachos, quesadillas, etc.