Monsanto's search for America's Farmers Mom of the Year is back for 2012, along with a $10,000 grand prize.
Anyone can nominate their favorite farm mom by visiting AmericasFarmers.com by April 23 and submitting a 300-word essay explaining how she contributes to her family, farm, community and agriculture. Five regional winners will be selected by a panel of judges from American Agri-Women and Monsanto.
Profiles of the regional winners will be posted to AmericasFarmers.com, where online voting will determine the national winner to be announced on Mother's Day. All regional winners will receive a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto; the national winner will receive an additional $5,000.
"Monsanto is thrilled to recognize the nearly 1 million female farmers in the U.S. who help provide food and fiber for our growing global population while raising the next generation of American farmers," says Consuelo Madere, America's Farmers Mom of the Year spokesperson and Vice President, Monsanto Vegetable Seeds and Asia Business. "Mother's Day is the ideal time to reflect on all farm moms do to enhance our lives at home, in our schools, on our farms, in our rural communities and beyond. It's an honor to pay tribute to these amazing American women."
Nominations were received from 47 states in 2011. Last year's national winner, Bette Lu Lerwick (with husband, Ron, and in partnership with son, Monte, and his wife, Megan) raises wheat, corn, dry beans, hay, sunflowers and beef cattle on the high plains of Wyoming.
"I don't view the America's Farmers Mom of the Year title as recognition for me in particular, but as an honor for all farm women, past and present, who could win this hands down," Lerwick adds.
A highlight of the experience for her was accepting the cash prize and receiving a standing ovation from an audience that included Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and Sen. John Barrasso.
Last year's regional winners were as diverse as the farms they operate, from a California dairy operation to a Maryland vineyard. These women used the America's Farmers Mom of the Year title to extend their mutual passion for agriculture beyond their respective communities. This included speaking at national industry conferences, launching blogs and participating in webisodes to give consumers a peek into daily life on the farm. They have been featured in national print publications and have been recognized by their state associations—and even on the floor of their state House of Representatives.
"The incredible contributions that America's farm families make to their communities, our economy and to society is easily overlooked these days, when so few of us have the opportunity to spend time on a farm. Who better to bring these stories front and center than farm moms?" Madere adds. "If your life has been touched by a farm mom, I encourage you to nominate her."
Complete eligibility requirements and official rules for America's Farmers Mom of the Year can be obtained online at www.AmericasFarmers.com or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to America's Farmers Mom of the Year, 914 Spruce Street, St. Louis, MO 63102.
America's Farmers Mom of the Year is an element of Monsanto's America's Farmers program, an advocacy effort promoting, recognizing and supporting U.S. farmers through communications, awards and special programs that highlight the importance of agriculture.